Here is one of the articles you will find on my website. From time to time, I like to highlight specific articles by themselves. This is Part Two of our discussion on the importance of being an empowered patient, working with doctors who will truly partner with us on a diagnosis as we journey through the complexities of discovery, treatment, and healing which follows. Please read it with a mind open to envisioning yourself working successfully as a full partner in your health care. ~ Bernie
(Here is the link to Part One of this article.)
I do, however, point out the benefits of love to the individual and those with whom they are in contact. When people are unwilling to do this, I let their families know that they need to take care of themselves, too. Why? Because there is something called Siegel’s sign in physical diagnosis. When a family walks into your office and everyone looks sick except one person you can be sure the one who looks well is the one with the illness and is using it to manipulate everyone else in the family. I always guarantee them a cure on their next visit. They never come back to that office again and always arrange future meetings in the ER or other safe places where a cure is not available.
What do respants do that represents survival behavior? They take action, seek wisdom, perform meditation and imagery, and have spiritual support. Spiritual support may come from a religion, but some religions have regulations that create guilt and lead to feelings that one deserves God’s punishment. Disease is no different than when one loses one’s car keys. You don’t say God wants me to walk home, so you look for your keys. When you are ill, you have lost your health, and respants look for it to be restored.
They live a life with meaning, express their feelings and appropriate anger, ask for help when it is needed, learn to say no to things they do not want to do, make their own decisions about treatment, bring play into their lives, deal with feelings of depression and learn from them. In short, respants do not live a role, but an authentic life.
In essence life becomes a labor pain in which we birth ourselves, and because we are making the choices, the delivery has less pain, complications, and side effects.
About twenty years ago I met Susan Duffy who had developed scleroderma and was not given much time to live. She was an enraged lady over her illness and her difficult life. Her parents and sister were alcoholics who committed suicide and were angry at her for not doing so. When I met her all I could do was listen and it turned out to be what Helen Keller advises—“deafness is darker by far then blindness.” When Susan emptied out her rage in 1987 she wrote me a letter telling me that she had let love into her prison, and it had touched every negative item in it, and transformed them into something meaningful. She is alive today as a member of our support group, and one of my teachers. I will present her list for survivors at the end of this article.
Eight years ago my phone rang and someone asked me for Jack Kevorkian’s home number. I learned why Becky wanted to die, so I told her that she is a child of God. I asked her to send me some drawings. I don’t tell people don’t smoke or commit suicide. I say “I love you and God loves you so why hurt a child of God.” Becky and I have worked on her pain and she is alive today. I am her CD or Chosen Dad. What is my role? To keep loving her no matter what she does. I don’t have to like her behavior while I continue to love her. That is very different then telling her there is something wrong with her versus her actions. Becky has helped me with others who are considering suicide, and it is something the medical students of today need to realize.
When I ask medical students to draw themselves as doctors, the majority of the drawings are totally depersonalizing. Some show no human beings only computers, instruments, diplomas, and books. One drawing I have shows a kneeling young man handing the patient a tissue and that is what Becky said. When someone responds to her needs she is given the will to live and it may simply be a tissue.
I do not criticize people for their choices, but instead, try and help them find what is right for them. In doing so, I help them find new options and paths to healing their lives and hopefully their illnesses as well. Death is not a failure and is inevitable. I remind people to not try and avoid death but to enjoy life. If you try and avoid death, you end up very angry when you find out life has a 100% mortality rate. But when you enjoy life, the bonus is a longer and healthier one.
We each need to find our path and way to healing. The messages are age old and can be found in the literature of great spiritual leaders, the US Marines training manual, the writings of children with cancer, and others. Two things are key elements. One is the inspiration I discussed, and the other is one’s behavior. Learn from those with multiple personality disorder who must disassociate with their other personalities in order to return to their authentic self. To find your path to healing, you must also must disassociate from you old self and begin behaving as if you are the person you want to be. You rehearse and practice and find the coaches to help guide you. I see myself today as a coach for the inspired respant who wants to learn survival behavior. How will you know one when you meet her/him? Ask them these questions: I am taking you to dinner what do you want? How would you introduce yourself to God? What should I hang in the lobby of public buildings with a sign above it that says, come and see how beautiful and meaningful life is?
The correct answers are: The response should be within 5-10 seconds demonstrating they are in touch with their feelings and not thinking about fat content, cost, or what you want. The introduction is that you and God don’t need an introduction. You are a child of God. Last, you hang up not a picture of a baby, rainbow or flower, but a mirror.
Now let me close with a list from Susan for survivors.
THE FOLLOWING ARE FROM SUSAN DUFFY’S SECRETS OF LIVING FOR SURVIVORS
- Trust yourself enough to become your own teacher.
- Cultivate your own sense of being and spirituality.
- Trust in your own instincts, intuitions and leadings.
- Learn to flow with your own ideas concerning searching and seeking answers.
- Choose to have faith in yourself and your place in life.
- Discipline yourself to love the positive more than the negative.
- Let go of everything that you can’t change.
- Change yourself through self-acceptance and love then what happens around you won’t matter.
- Learn to forgive the unforgivable and you will become free.
- Forgive God, others and yourself.
- Allow yourself to feel anger, pain, joy and sadness.
- Express your feelings and don’t feel so alone.
- Everything changes.
- Look to other people for guidance and inspiration but not answers.
- Other people don’t have all the answers they are learning too.
- Nothing so bad ever happened to you that didn’t happen to someone else.
- No one is unique we all suffer the same joys and pains of life.
- Our problems may come in different shapes and sizes but the solutions are the same.
- Embrace life it will hug you back.
- Don’t have a need to control.
- Allow the order of things to take place. God knows what He is doing.
- Enjoy the peace knowing someone bigger and stronger is in charge.
- Don’t make too many schedules you will go crazy.
- You can’t fix everything; you are not the creator.
- Have faith and trust in the things you don’t understand. Life will become easier.
- Nothing ever happens to you that is not for your good in the bigness of things.
- Deal with grief, pain and loss when they happen and you won’t have to relive them.
- Don’t make too many plans for the future life may step in.
- Love is the greatest healer there is.
- The less you need someone the more you can love them.
- Rest when you need to no one else can do it for you.
- Never stop learning you will become bored.
- Behind every cloud of adversity is a silver lining. Have the courage and faith to find it.
- Good and bad events are the pieces of the puzzle that make life complete.
- God heals. Doctors get paid for it.
- Letting go of those we love is the greatest gift of love we can give them.
- Live each day as if it were your last. You will have a lot of great days.
- Don’t live a life of confusion you will get lost.
- Love unconditionally those unable to love back and you will be set free.
- Pray, meditate, sit quietly, take walks.
- Look up to something bigger than you are, life, love, God.
- Allow yourself to make mistakes. Then move on life is too short.
- Live a life of prayer and you can get through anything.
- Learn to laugh at yourself and you will make friends with yourself.
- Know you are a child of God.
- God loves you even when you think no one else does.
- Be your own person in all things.
- When you know yourself other people will know you too.
- Learn to accept criticism, advice and suggestions. They can help you.
- Be humble when you receive praise.
- Don’t get stuck following one religion, group or person move forward.
- Life holds the wisdom, answers and solutions that any person could ever need their life.
- Have the courage to explore.
- Open to life. Feel it, experience it, live it and you will learn to fly (transcend).
In conclusion, I will advise you as I have advised many, many people over the years:
Live in the moment as children and animals do. Or as one of my patients put it, “I want to be dying forever.” If we live with a sense of time, we learn how to spend it, and that it is everything. Ultimately, what is immortal is our love, not our bodies.
Peace & Love to All,