Natural Anti-Depressant

When I was diagnosed with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) my GP offered to put me on a course of anti-depressants that I was told I would need to take for a minimum of 6 months. I really don’t like taking pills, never have and would much rather find a natural alternative. So I asked, is there a natural alternative? I was told, quite simply, no. I declined the pills.

I struggled to sleep again last night, so with plenty of time to spare I fired up my iPad and took a look at YouTube. Up came my “recommended for you” list and top of the chart was Wayne Dyer speaking about the power of intention. It was over an hour but I had the time so clicked play. I was gripped, so much so I watched the next hour long clip straight after.

His message really resonated with me and moved me so much I just wanted to share it. Here it is…

1 Minute Meditation for Stress

When life throws you a curve ball its difficult to not let it get to you. I get frustrated, stressed, anxious and worried when 4 months on, things are still not back to “normal”. I’m doing everything I can to reduce my risk of Lymphoedema but the one thing I truly struggle with is the stress of having had cancer and how it continues to butt in on my life like an obnoxious party guest.

I feel like my life has been turned around. Some of the changes have been good but a lot of them have been out of my control – forced on me to change my life and how I live it, and I don’t like that one little bit.

I can honestly say I don’t remember the last time I had a stress free weekend or had a full week go by when I haven’t broken down about something. I’ve had a gut full to say the least. I just want to get over it and move on but every time I feel like I’m on top of things and have accepted the way its going to be, something comes hurtling out of the blue and knocks me down and stresses me out.

I know that stress really is something that should be avoided at all costs when it comes to lymphoedema risk reduction but to be honest, that’s easier said than done. I know that meditation for example can help enormously with stress but I’m not very disciplined in that respect and unless its an organised session then I’m probably not going to do it.

I’ve just stumbled across this video by Dr John Douillard. I’ve come to be a bit of a fan of his videos on YouTube so when I found this particular one I thought I would give it a go. It’s a one minute meditation technique. Who knows, it might just work.

My EFT Experience

I have been lucky enough to find locally to me, an EFT practitioner who offers a free 20 minute face to face taster session, so a couple of weeks ago I booked myself in and went along to see if it could help me.

Over the years I have seen 3 counsellors for different reasons and at different points in my life, and I would honestly say that none of them have helped me at all, in fact 2 had done more harm than good.

So, although I had done my research on EFT, its principles, techniques and claimed results, and had seen on various YouTube clips and also on The Haven DVD it being put in to practice, I was still pretty skeptical to say the least but decided to give it a go and went along with an open mind, after all, I really had nothing to lose as I had just been diagnosed with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and had decided to decline antidepressants.

Through my initial enquiry I had explained what I had recently been through and the struggles I was having as I needed to know that EFT could help me and also to prepare Jemima (the EFT practitioner) for what needed to be worked on.

On the day she started by asking me what my biggest concern was there and then. I said that it was the pain I was experiencing in my arm and the fear of it being the onset of Lymphoedema. She asked me to rate the worry on a scale from -10 to +10. It was at -5. She then asked me if I was to put a colour and a shape to it what would it look like, to which I replied, it would be red and spikey. She asked me where on my body I felt the worry the most, I said it would be like a hat on top of my head… I had a red spikey hat on that represented my fear of Lymphoedema.

The session then began with me following Jemima as she began tapping (see my previous post on EFT for the demonstration). After a couple of minutes we stopped and she asked me to grade the worry again. It had moved up one place to a -4 but other than that everything else was the same. So she asked me to close my eyes and repeat what she said as she tapped on me, which I did.

As she tapped, she asked me to go back to the first time I felt real fear about Lymphoedema. I said I was in the hospital getting the results of the surgery from the Consultant. I said I felt so angry, upset and so very, very alone. Jemima then asked me the last time I had felt like that – I told her that it was when my Grandmother died over 12 years ago. Jemima asked me to go back to that moment in time and to describe my emotions in terms of colour, shape and position (as she had done before). At this point the tears started to flow and I struggled to say the words… its black, broken and heart-shaped. Jemima then asked me to picture myself in the future – what was my colour then and where was it? I said it was a citrus-y yellow/green colour, it was surrounding my body and glowed like a shield. She then took me back to the “me” in the hospital room and told me to tell myself that everything was going to be ok (to give myself a bit of a pep talk if you like, to give reassurance and peace  of mind that all of the fear and worry I had wouldn’t amount to anything), which I did (the tears were still flowing but I got the words out). She then asked me to go back to when my Grandmother died and to do the same, which I did.

When the session came to a close I was astonished at the connection between these two momentous events in my life – why hadn’t I made that connection myself? It seemed so obvious now, but what Jemima had done was to illustrate that what we hold on to from our past can profoundly affect our future and how we perceive ourselves in the future can be used to great benefit in our lives as we live them now. I was blown away by it.

The taster session was only 20 minutes long but it had had a more profound effect on me than any other counselling session I had ever had. I confess I was pretty emotional for the rest of the day but it had made things so much clearer in my mind and I could really see the huge benefit that EFT could have.

If you can find someone near you who will offer you a free taster of EFT I would definitely recommend you give it a go. Go with an open mind, after all, you have absolutely nothing to lose but a huge amount to potentially gain.

EFT Practitioner: Jemima Eames


What Does Reiki Feel Like?

I’ve been singing the praises of Reiki to my friends for weeks now and they always ask, “So what does it feel like?”

Everyone experiences something different so I can only tell you what happens to me, and even then each session I have is completely different to the last. First of all I need to point out that Reiki is performed when I am fully clothed and the technique only requires the lightest of touch if that from the practitioner. I simply lie down on a massage table with a blanket over me and I close my eyes.

When Vanessa (the Reiki practitioner) put her hands around my head for the first time I saw different flashes of coloured lights, depending on where her hands were – near my forehead, my eyes, my ears or the top of my head, they were either pink and purple or yellowy green.

In the following sessions with her hands near my affected arm, I could feel heat, so much so it felt as if my arm was glowing. I’ve also had what can only be described as a super mild electric shock, which caused my arm to spasm slightly. On a separate occasion my whole body has jolted as if I’m on a resuscitation table (there is never any pain with any of this btw).

But there have been two things which stand out even more. Firstly when she worked on my feet. They became so warm it was like they were suddenly in front of a roaring log fire. I thought if I was to dip them in a bowl of water right there and then, a cloud of steam would surely appear. Vanessa later told me that when she was working on my feet she started to sway uncontrollably and that was something that had only happened to her once before in her entire career. She wasn’t sure what it meant but later we discovered that it was because my energy was moving so much it had literally moved her too.

For me though, time and time again the single most amazing feeling I get is when Vanessa works around my head. Putting both hands lightly over my ears I have felt the most incredible sensations. One time it felt as if someone had put a rod through one ear and out the other, was holding on to both ends and wiggling by brain around. It didn’t hurt one bit. Very, very odd but very pleasant. On other occasions, as it did this weekend, I can almost feel my brain twitching as if its receiving tiny electrical pulses. I can’t think of another way to describe it. It’s a fascinating sensation, incredibly calming yet stimulating.

After one particularly intense Reiki session, having walked in feeling like a scrunched up piece of paper, I walked out feeling like I was floating on a rainbow coloured cloud. I do realise how crazy this sounds but to those who saw me in the cancer centre that day, before and after the session, they too could see the transformation that had taken place, it was amazing.

Vanessa is a very talented woman and I am so very, very lucky to have had the opportunity to meet her and receive Reiki healing from her. It has helped me on the road to recovery more than any other treatment, hands down (lol).

If you’ve never tried it, do, and if you feel even half of what I have experienced you will be raving about it too.


Emotional Support

cancer-supportThe medical team that advised me on my course of cancer treatment, and saw me through the surgery, freely admitted that they were there to deal with the physical side of things, they couldn’t help me with the emotional side of it all. For that they recommended I go along to a local cancer support center.

Initially I really didn’t like the thought of walking in to a room full of strangers and talking about how I was feeling. That was the last thing I wanted to do. It wasn’t until after one rather distressing doctor’s appointment that I found myself knocking on their door, walking in, bursting in to tears and saying “I think they’ve broken me, mentally.”

In a nutshell, it’s for that reason that the support centers are there. Run by volunteers who have had experience of cancer or who have cared, or know someone who has had cancer, they can totally relate to how you are feeling. To me, they are the 4th emergency service. Without their support, care and understanding my world would have been a very bleak place indeed.

They are a wealth of information about everything to do with cancer and the effects the treatment has on every aspect of your life, offering advice and complementary therapies to help you through it all. You don’t need to make an appointment either, you simply turn up. To me, it’s quite simply, sanctuary.

If you are coming to terms with your diagnosis I would definitely encourage you to seek out a cancer support center near you. The work they do is absolutely priceless and I for one don’t think I can ever thank them enough for everything they have done for me and still continue to do.

Cancer Support Centers I’ve come across are:
Wessex Cancer Trust
The Haven