As you know I am an avid listener to Dr Chatterjee’s podcasts and am always encouraging others to listen/ watch specific episodes. There are so many highlights but a recent one was so powerful I wanted to write specifically about it. He interviewed a previous patient called Nicola from his programme Dr in the House, who has fibromyalgia. The outcome for her was life changing. At the end of 6 weeks lifestyle medicine she was pain free. Her children wrote to Dr Chatterjee to say, ‘thanks for giving us our mum back.’
I haven’t seen the episode of Dr in the house, but as I listened to the podcast, the story was very similar to something I had witnessed myself. There were many factors that contributed to Nicolas improvement, but the starting point was with her diet. I had supported a friend several years ago who has lupus with dietary and wholefood supplement recommendations, and after several months she had vast improvements, came off numerous powerful pain medications, and I clearly remember to this day her husband saying. ‘It’s like having the wife back that I married.’
Her story inspires me to this day. In her podcast, Nicola says she wants to shout from the rooftops that ‘things can get better,’ and share her story, and I remember at the time wanting to tell everyone about my friends improvements and introduce people to the concept of the power of food as medicine.
But I learnt quickly that not everyone wants to hear about it, which is fine, but listening to this podcast has made me realise that perhaps now I don’t share this story enough!! Nutrition is a foundation for good health. We all need to eat, but our food choices have huge impact on our health and wellbeing. I plan to share this message and practical dietary advice more in 2020!
However, there is much more to this story than diet. Clearly these transformations didn’t happen overnight. They were both at the end of their tethers, living with an illness, and desperate to live their life free from it! It took time, patience and consistency….
Mindset was also key to their recovery. Dr Chatterjee has said on many occasions that in his experience, it’s when people start to treat themselves better that real change happens.
Nicola is very open in the podcast about how she was always striving to get better at everything in life because what she was wasn’t good enough, and I suspect many people can relate to that.
Nicola learnt that she didn’t have to be powerless anymore. She has learnt to listen to her body, to nourish herself physically with real food and to nurture herself emotionally by being kinder to herself.
It was a long journey and a journey that no doubt continues, but it is so inspiring. Not everyone is ready to hear her story or ready to make change themselves, but it is certainly a story that needs to be told as it might really inspire someone who wants to take more control over their own health.
I think the other thing that is key in Nicolas story is the support she had from her family, friends and others who reached out to her in similar situations. Dr Chatterjee believes that people knowing they are not alone and that others feel like them is so important. I have seen this time and time again, and this is why I am passionate about getting people together, and why I am thrilled now to be volunteering for Karen Parkinson’s inspirational group ‘mental health together’ which so is aptly named and really does bring people ‘Together’ to improve mental health awareness and promote mental wellbeing.
Nicola is able to fully embrace life and all it has to offer now that she is well. It took a long time, but she just kept on going, and working at it.. she now is a real example of no matter how difficult life can be, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be like that forever. Things can change.
I have worked in mental health services, read a lot about it as I am fascinated by it and have experienced anxiety myself at times. I have heard over and over how important it is to realise that we are not our thoughts and feelings, these are fleeting and come and go. How you feel now emotionally or physically is not necessarily how you will feel forever, and I think that is key to life. Life can be a real struggle for people at times for so many different reasons, but if you can cling on to that concept it won’t be like that forever then there is always hope…
Having also qualified as an Occupational Therapist in my distant past it is very much ingrained in me to help people to help themselves. I have tried to support people with their diet over the years but the people who have the most success are those who are ready to change but also take total control over the process themselves. I can advise and support people, but it is only when people take responsibility themselves that change happens. This is what these two inspirational ladies did, and what this story really demonstrates to me. It you commit yourself wholeheartedly anything is possible.
Please do try and take the time to listen to this transformational podcast and share it with anyone living with a long term chronic condition who might just find some hope and inspiration.
Please also click on the link for Mental Health Together for information about their local events and activities, and share with anyone who might like to get involved with this brilliant local group.
Bookings are now open for the first supper club of 2020 so please click on the link if you would like to join us. Supper Club.
I am also planning a new and exciting project for 2020 for people ready to create simple and easier healthier habits for life! Please do get in touch if you are interested. I’m aiming for February after all those New Years resolutions have been and gone.
Thanks for reading! Wishing you all a very Healthy & Happy 2020!