Life Lesson number 9: have a Craniosacral treatment.
A translated extract from an article featured in a prominent Dutch newspaper with Hollands leading neurologist.
Lesson 1: You can’t keep burying your emotions
“I was working as an intern in a hospital when I noticed that for months I had become angrier, more anxious and depressed. I had actually deeply buried those emotions since the death of my father when I was 12. It had become my survival strategy but now the panic, sadness and anger kept resurfacing. My rock bottom came when I recognized the face of my father in one of my Senior Doctors, I wanted to kiss him. I was so happy to see him. At that moment I realised that I could not continue anymore”.
Lesson 2: When a child loses a parent, it determines the rest of your life.
“The death of my father shattered the unity in our household. Everything collapsed. The only way I could deal with this immense sadness was by studying. Knowledge became my safety net. I had wanted to become a Vet but just before the death of my father he had said – “would it not be great if you become a neurologist as well". Had life been different I may have taken a different road but in his absence, I fulfilled his last wish”.
Lesson 3: Remember your dreams
At 15, my mother wanted to send me to a psychiatrist, presumably because she saw how I struggled with my feelings and emotions. I did not want to go, I was FINE. Finally at the age of 28, I did go into therapy, twice a week for 4 years. My psychiatrist made me relive the trauma of my father’s death, she taught me how to cry, she taught me how to laugh and – very importantly – she taught me to remember my dreams. Dreams are the window into your subconscious and they help you to recognise and name your emotions so you can get to know yourself a bit better.
Lesson 4: Mind and body are one
Bizarrely and ironically, half the countries population does some form of Mindfulness. Yet at the same time most people do not want to deal with the fact that physical symptoms have a mental and emotional component. Many patients and Doctors still think that chronic pain or for example fatigue is a just mechanical problem. To me, this is really a redundant approach. We are not just our body or just our mind: it is One. It is my mission as a Doctor to make this clear, in particular to people that have complaints that don’t fit into our current medical way of thinking. Their symptoms are real but they are just misunderstood. I see how unhappy they are, whilst their body could be working fine. These cases fascinate me as a Doctor, as they are unsolved puzzles and I won’t rest until somebody is satisfied.
Lesson 5: A misunderstood symptom is also a real symptom
Just because you can’t find a plausible cause for a symptom doesn’t make the complaint less real. With 20% of new patients a GP will not find a clear cause for a physical complaint. The majority recovers within a couple of week by themselves. But with some patients, even after extensive medical tests, research and treatment, the problems keep persisting. In the medical field this is known as “Idiopathic Somatic Complaints”.
Like for instance a 55 year old smoking working women – recently divorced and has been suffering for a few months from fatigue and headaches. One day she wakes up and finds that she can’t lift her right arm at all. Doctors can’t find a medical reason. You don’t have to be an Einstein to understand that her personal situation probably plays an important role. However that does not make the complaint less real. She really can no longer lift her arm. The connection between body and mind allows to your experience your symptom. Sometimes there is a medical reason and sometimes there is not. Many people find that hard to accept. Only when you approach body, mind, emotions and individual life circumstances as One, then you can really do something about unexplained medical symptoms.
Lesson 6: Name and claim happiness, before its too late
I had been having headaches for 6 months and I noticed that I started to talk more nasally. If a patient had come to me with those complaints, I would have sent him or her straight for an MRI, but I ignored it. I knew like no one else how awful the outcome could be and buried my head in the sand. When I finally did have it checked out I was diagnosed with cancer, a tumor above the hard palate in my mouth. I was 39 with a wife and young children. The tears kept coming. I did not work for a year and the treatment did leave me with quite a few residual effects and symptoms. I did not become a different person but it taught me how important it is to treasure the happy times and moments.
Lesson 7: Go under Hypnoses
Once a week a hypnotherapist comes to the hospital for our patients who have medically unexplained physical symptoms. Around 500.000 Dutch people suffer from irritable bowel syndrome: tummy aches, bloated, constipated or diarrhea without a clear medical cause. The brain and intestines are in constant communication with one another, without you being aware of it. One can’t instantly regulate the inner works of the intestines, nor the heart or blood pressure for that matter but under hypnoses you can. Whilst you are completely relaxed, imagine your tummy is soft and healthy. You can positively influence the intestines this way. I am convinced that many people with medically unexplained symptoms but also with understood symptoms could benefit from it immensely.
Lesson 8: Exercise!
There is nothing better for body and mind than to exercise. If I don’t exercise every day I get aches and pain, I don’t sleep as well and become grumpy. So I cycle to work every day and on my days off I run. Top athletes know, like no other people, how mind and body are one.
Online:https://www.trouw.nl/samenleving/de-levenslessen-van-neuroloog-emile-keuter-een-onbegrepen-klacht-is-ook-echt - 11 June 2017