2015 hasn’t really kicked off the best way, with me catching a cold that put everything I have to do this month on hold, and then stressing and freaking out because time is running out. But since I don’t want my blog to turn into a wailing wall, I thought I’d share some videos that have inspired me lately. Continue reading
~ Pain is useful to the extent that it motivates us to modify our behaviors in order to reduce whatever insult is causing the pain, because invariably that insult is damaging our tissues. Pain is useless and debilitating, however, when it is telling us that there is something dreadfully wrong that we can do nothing about. ~
Robert M. Sapolsky, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers
I had to sleep 11 hours today out of exhaustion, and I know most people wouldn’t understand. Even if I told them I work full time and I’m currently going through changes at work, that I have classes at night and spend most of my weekends researching and writing my final paper for college, that I have to manage my apartment building affairs to which I was appointed this year, that I struggle with two chronic illnesses plus some mental issues, while trying to keep exercise and social life at an acceptable minimum, they would still go, “Oh, yes, my life is pretty rough too but I get by with seven hours of sleep.”
So this is a TEDx Talk I found that sums up in 15 minutes some of the things we chronic illness sufferers feel and go through. It’s about Lyme disease, but it could be about multiple sclerosis, endometriosis, mental illness and many other conditions. It’s worth taking a look.
As someone who comes from a family with a history of mental illnesses and who has suffered from depression as well, I have read a lot of books, articles, and testimonies, not only in the first person but also from doctors and therapists. However, none had me nodding from beginning to end as this TED Talk by Andrew Solomon. The first ten minutes are particularly so accurate in giving us a panoramic view of all the different aspects of depression. I resonated with what he said about finding “there were people who seemed on the surface to have what sounded like relatively mild depression who were nonetheless utterly disabled by it.” And he echoed as well many interrogations I’ve been struggling with: “if I have to take medication, is that medication making me more fully myself, or is it making me someone else? And how do I feel about it if it’s making me someone else?”
I didn’t know who Andrew Solomon was before watching this TED Talk by chance, but I did a little research and found out that the book he wrote on depression, called The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, won several awards, including the Books for a Better Life Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I haven’t read it yet but I already have it here with me. I hope it’s as poetic and insightful as this talk.
I’ve never been very excited about stem cells therapy for two reasons: one is that it is still going to take decades before treatments based on stem cells are available, the second is because if you don’t find the causes to brain damaging diseases you can spend the rest of your life trying to repair your brain with stem cells that your body is still going to attack whatever it is it’s attacking, whether it’s myelin or other substance.
That being said, I still found this TED Talk interesting. Doctor Siddharthan Chandran explains that, contrary to what was believed some time ago, the brain does have the ability to repair itself, it just doesn’t do it well enough, or fast enough. So what can be done to help the body regenerate and what kind of therapies can we expect in the future?