Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Brain Training

“No one can make you feel less than them without your permission.”
- Eleanor Roosevelt

I feel better today.
I’m training my brain to have a good day.
I’ll let you know how this is done.
I only get sad when I allow myself to.
I need to feel so you all can to. Everyone needs to know the roller coaster of emotion associated with HEALING.
It’s not all fun and games on the upswing.
But today, I’m listening to my playlist, and screaming the words at the tops of my lungs. Only the inspirational ones though. I’m only listening to the songs with the words that tell me how strong I am.
You didn’t really think my musical choices were random?
This is programming step number one on Hillary’s “Fake it until you make it” process.
Yes, that’s what I’ve lived by my whole life.
If you don’t have it, pretend you do and eventually, it will all come. If you believe in yourself others will too. No one can make it on their own. Just read Outliers, there are hundreds of pages of evidence to back this up.
I’ve heard the suggestion more than once that I should see a therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, ANYBODY, but no, I keep doing me. All those would require me to FEEL my feelings. I’d retraumatize myself by allowing those emotions to well up and escape my mouth. I let them escape my fingers.
Dana Farber employs a cancer killing video game for the kids on their Jimmy Fund Floor abiding by just this theory.
Train their brain to KILL THAT CANCER !
It’s like visualization, just maybe, if you think something, you’re body will follow your brain’s directions. It’s a theory, and there are no side effects to it. Fabulous. I’ll try that too.
There is a very fine line between reality and acting.
It’s been rumored for years that celebrities have died as a result of becoming too enmeshed with a character role they are playing.
The most recently catastrophic example is Heath Ledger, who died playing “The Joker” in the most recent Batman, The Dark Knight.
If you’ve read about “microexpressions” and how their founding father Paul Eckmen catalogued the faces of negative emotions for weeks on end. HE reported subjectively feeling terrible while pretending to be unhappy.
Yes, he did program himself to feel badly. I’m programming myself to feel happy.
The researchers made their body behave one way and their mindset followed. This is clearly contrary to the long held belief that external forces lead you to feel how you do, such as a traffic jam, a failing grade, a fight with a spouse.
I’m sure all these contribute too, but maybe, just maybe, how you think, how you move, your facial expressions, what you choose to read, and who you choose to surround yourself with can dictate how you will feel.
It’s far more harmless than the side effects of anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, chemotherapies, radiations, and dare I say, anti-seizures.
I’m trying this.


Anonymous said...

You go girl!! I've always believed we can, at least to some extent, program how we feel. It doesn't work all the time & I've not found it to be perfect, but I think it can be done to take the edge off.

And remember, no one expects you to be "up" all the time. Most of us can only imagine what you are facing & the impact it has ... or the strength it requires to stay on course. But I'm hugely proud of you for doing it.

Just keep on keeping on.


Anonymous said...

Another day, another perspective... so glad you're having a good day! You sound so much more like yourself - faking it or not. I think there is a lot to be said for that "Brain Training"! Keep at it! Dianne

Anonymous said...

Here, here!! A positive attitude speaks volumes and doesn't mean that you don't have bad thoughts and/or feelings. I remember a while back when you allowed yourself to have a brief 'pity party' and then get on with things! That's great advice. I know you want to be as strong as you can for X, but's it's OK for him to see you as a real person who has feelings and emotions (just like he does!). You've got an army of people behind you, Hillary, and I'm hoping that their thoughts and prayers can continue to hold you up.