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Client – after three sessions

read this beatiful post

Becoming Aware of my Overthinking Mind
and Making Friends with my Inner Four-Year-Old

HOPE shortcut
The method where people with chronic diseases such as Parkinson’s can reduce their stress-related symptoms and, with persistent work, break free of their diagnosis

One week after third session with Lilian and the Hope Shortcut

My Overthinking Mind
During my third session, Lilian and I talk about the inner dialogue, thoughts, the voice or voices in my head.

My mind has several voices running constantly. It is like having a TV on in the background that is constantly narrating, planning, ruminating, rehearsing, arguing, suggesting, doubting. It changes the channel frequently. It practices future conversations, or rehashes past ones. It plans for things that never happen. An overthinking mind can be dangerous – triggering the fight flight or freeze response continually.

One of its most interesting habits of my over-thinking mind is that it intricately plans escape routes. How would I get my infant son and the dog out of the window if the house caught on fire? Where would I hide if a gunman came to the house? It goes over the sequence of events in detail. I don’t sit down and plan these things. My mind just does it on its own.

Lilian tells me that not everyone’s mind is like that. Upon Lilian’s suggestion, I ask my friend what her mind is like. I assume, her mind is like mine constantly ruminating, worrying and planning. She has kids. I am sure she has a lot on her mind. She laughs and says her mind is usually pretty blank; it might have a dancing clown in it like Homer Simpsons’. That sounds peaceful.

“My mind has several voices running constantly.

It is like having a TV on in the background that is constantly narrating, planning, ruminating, rehearsing, arguing, suggesting, doubting”

We think we have a similar way of thinking - but we have not

We ask each other, “what do you think?” and get a story.


Next time ask in detail about HOW your friends are thinking.


Are they thinking in pictures, written text, a speaking voice, or with feelings?
How many voices do they use to think? 0, 1, 2, or more? Everything is ok, but having only 0 or 1 voice makes life easier and healthier.


Around 1/3 of the population are hardly thinking and doing well. The rest are thinking about yesterday’s regrets and the worries for tomorrow, or thoughts that drag your attention away from your body and the constant feedback you get from here.

My inner Four-Year Old
I notice that my freeze ups are often precipitated by internal pressure. There is the internal pressure I put on myself to do the things that I “should” do. I know I don’t want to do it, but I push myself anyways. Or I put pressure on myself to do something at 1000% effort. Somewhere inside, there is an inner protest or maybe an inner wisdom.

Lilian coaches me to have compassion for myself if I freeze up. To say to my body:
Its ok. This is what is right now, you are safe.

I have a profound experience when I have the opportunity to practice this. I sit through a freeze up and just let it be ok the way it is. This experience is profoundly different for me and I feel a shift.

There is the internal pressure I put on myself to do the things that I “should” do.

 

I know I don’t want to do it, but I push myself anyways..

Somewhere inside, there is an inner protest or maybe an inner wisdom.

I realize that I have been practicing relaxation and calming techniques for years. But I didn’t listen. I was just trying to get my body and mind to shut up and do what I wanted it to do.

This is one of the great things that my four-year old son has taught me. He is what people describe as “spirited”. I cannot just shush him. He demands to be heard and understood. Even if his concerns seem inconsequential to me, I have to listen, I have to acknowledge and empathize and then he will calm down. I can’t just tell him: “That’s silly. Don’t be upset about that.”

But I have not been listening to my body, to myself. My inner spirited four-year-old has concerns and is refusing to budge I have just been telling her: “That’s silly, don’t be upset about that” calm down, and do as you are told.

The good thing about spirited children, is that they bust up old patterns. They refuse to just comply with expectations and the “shoulds” that we try to force upon them. Therefore, they force us to evolve, to grow, to learn, to examine the shoulds that we have applied to ourselves and to rethink them.

Lilian is a bit like a spirited four-year-old. She is here to bust up old patterns and assumptions and evolve our way of thinking about stress and chronic illness.

Nicole St. Arnaud
23. march 2021, Alberta Canada

This is the third of a series of blog posts on the progress in Lilian Sjoeberg’s Hope Shortcut program for chronic illness.

You can learn more about her program here

The inner child

The inner child is a metaphor for you having a practical side.
You are maybe still hurt if someone is making comments as the bullies made in your school.


When you get an extraordinary feeling that is somewhat out of proportion with what happened, the “inner child” can still remember the past episode.


It is never too late to get a happy ending to this episode. Never too late to get a “happy” childhood. We cannot change what happened, but we can release the feelings connected to the devastating events

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Client – after two sessions

read this beatiful post

Beating a dead horse
or taiming a petrified mare

HOPE shortcut
The method where people with chronic diseases such as Parkinson’s can reduce their stress-related symptoms and, with persistent work, break free of their diagnosis

Read her 1. article her – due to her son she had to stop therapy – but now she is ready!

One week after second session with Lilian and the Hope Shortcut

“Haven’t I tried everything?”

The computer screen before me contains two rectangular boxes, side by side. One containing the smiling face of Lilian Sjoberg against a dramatic mountain background and the other containing my image, just a blank white wall behind me. There is something about this new virtual environment where I get to observe myself from this vantage point. I get to look into my own eyes and see the expressions on my face. It is very revealing. I am slightly slumped in my chair. My eyes are squinted into slits with my smile. The thought “Here we go again” crosses my mind. I feel a fool. Haven’t I tried this already? Haven’t I tried everything? I have tried so many things, so many therapies, programs, practitioners, doctors. Honestly, I have had enough. I feel like I am kicking a dead horse. But, I know that Lilian is onto something. She has observed the patterns and made the connections. Lilian is sure, determined, generous and for some reason she is steadfast in encouraging me. Some part of me must have hope, because here I am.

Lilian is appalled at my use of the phrase “beating a dead horse” which I try to explain is just an English turn of phrase.  It is actually quite a gruesome image. She suggests a more hopeful way of looking at things. Yes, the horse has been abused, but we can rehabilitate it. Like Black Beauty, it can trust and be free again. Belief, hope and a positive image is so important for healing. I can’t make much progress if I see my efforts to heal as beating a dead horse.

The dead horse is actually me: my poor abused body that I have been dragging around for years, decades actually, pushing it and forcing it against its will, ignoring it, applying all sorts of remedies, treatments and therapies trying to fix it, and medicating it. The horse understandably, doesn’t want to get up.

Traumatic events are stored in the body

The surviver is the person that react with fear and run away or use the freeze instinct often.

The relaxed person get eaten very fast by the saber tooth tiger.

In modern world the brain is operating in the dark and still collecting information on when to react to survive the next attack from a predator.

If you want to get better accept this biological fact and learn how to get out of your instinct stress

I have felt shifts and changes since I last worked with Lilian over a year ago. My physical condition has deteriorated but I have become so much more aware of the emotional connections to my physical symptoms. My medication is not working as well and my “off” periods have worsened significantly. An “off” is when the medication wears off, or fails and the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease break through. With my symptoms more prominent, I can actually feel what is going on in my body. The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, when in full force so clearly feel like a full-body panic attack.  Well actually for me, it is mostly the left side of my body that feels the attack. My body is in fear for its life. It tries to stop me by freezing my muscles, stiff so I can’t move forward. My stomach tightens into knots, my throat closes, my eye gets wide dart from side to side. My jaw clenches, my body heats up, and my limbs begin to tremble. It is so clearly a deep terror, panic, all-encompassing fear, like the climax of a horror film when the victim lets out the blood-curdling scream. 

It has also become so 100% clear to me that often my physical symptoms are worsened, or are preceded by a fearful thought or an emotional response, even something seemingly benign, like my son making a mess in the kitchen, my inner critic judging me, or a perceived slight from my husband.  I have also talked to other people living with PD and some of them have confirmed their own experience that emotional upset can trigger an “off”. This not to say that I can control my symptoms, they still come and go on their own schedule holding me hostage for longer periods of time and leaving me with smaller and smaller windows of respite.

Interoception - the forgotten sense

Your skill to interpret what is going on in your body is together with balance and coordination very important skills.

We do not learn about them in school. But the ones that instictivly can feel and use their sence interoception are the ones that fast can do something fast and stop the decline in health.

The ones that understand the language of the body can avoid longterm stress and longlasting  stress symptoms

It is actually hard to really admit this observation. I feel so weak and frail. Is my constitution so fragile that the smallest upset can throw me into a frenzy of whole-body fear? Surely it is not that simple. There are layers of genetic and environmental factors that led to the damage in my brain that causes this intense reaction.  Lilian assures me that it is actually evolutionarily appropriate that survival of the fittest would have favored a heightened fear response. So, in fact, I am an evolutionary survivor. She assures me that this is not my fault.

It is difficult to accept the responsibility that my habitual thoughts, emotions and beliefs may be contributing to my illness that has kept me disabled for so many years. But this is an important starting point- to recognize that physical disease symptoms are linked to thoughts, beliefs and emotions.

This creates a tricky balancing act. There is a fine line that you must walk between seeing the correlation between symptoms and thoughts as an avenue for hope and seeing it as a reason for self-blame. It is not so easy to say, “oh just think differently and your disease will go away”. It is not that simple. There are layers upon layers. It is beneath conscious awareness.

The horse within me perks her ears and opens an eye. She lets out a soft sigh. I am finally seeing her.

I am finally listening.

She is not getting up yet, but there is hope.

Lilian is an observer and a trouble-shooter. She has observed the patterns clearly. She has made the correlations. She has noticed that chronic illnesses are grouping of stress response symptoms, Parkinson’s disease being a particularly obvious one. The growing understanding in the world is that 90% of disease is stress related.

Lilian does not base her approach on foregone assumptions about the mechanics of Parkinson’s Disease. The rest of the PD treatment world relies on the assumption that PD is caused by a lack of dopamine and focuses on that. Lilian has looked beyond that. She looks at each person individually and looks at each symptom as an overactive symptom of stress. She has developed a multi-step program to begin to alleviate the symptoms of chronic disease. The beginning point is the recognition that there is hope.

Her method of healing involves several steps.

  1. Adopting a new belief system that the physical disease symptoms are linked to thoughts, beliefs and emotions. (HOPE)
  2. Catching stressful reactions (Observe symptoms)
  3. Other healing modalities that reduce stress.
    E.g. exercise and getting to the root cause of subconscious or habitual stressful triggers and solving them (Pacify stress)
  4. Adding power to your own journey  (Engage)

 

In my first session with Lilian over a year ago, she explained step 1. In that year (this is not a standard length of time between visits, it is normally one to two weeks), I have seen so clearly and experienced the correlation between thoughts, emotions and beliefs so acutely in my body. And so here I am and I begin again. Ready to look deeper, to see if I can address what is keeping my body in a perpetual danger response.

The horse within me perks her ears and opens an eye. She lets out a soft sigh. I am finally seeing her. I am finally listening. She is not getting up yet, but there is hope.

Change your beliefs

You need to have  supporting beliefs on your journey toward smaller symptoms:

Of course you can get better

Mind and body are connected and interact

If just one person in the world can get better, so can I

Here I am ready to look deeper, to see if I can address what is keeping my body in a perpetual danger response.

.

Nicole St. Arnaud
11. march 2021, Alberta Canada

See my first post here

This is the second of a series of blog posts on the progress in Lilian Sjoeberg’s Hope Shortcut program for chronic illness.

You can learn more about her program here

Can you see it?

Have you seen all the clues on how we can heal Parkinsons disease. Here re some of them.

Parkinson’s disease is very stress-related – that we can all agree. But are we missing something obvious that might help? We need to gather together knowledge that is already out there and then “connect the dots” so I will do my best here to gather together the following already existing findings and add some of my own insights.

Below is a man with Parkinson’s. He has problems walking, which is a typical Parkinson’s symptom. According to the current belief, this is a sign that he has a problem with dopamine in his brain, and this is easy to see in the first half of the video.

In the second half of the video, you can see him biking without any problem, which is a sign that he has no problem with his dopamine production.

What’s going on? The answer to this strange phenomenon is that something gives him a limitation in the dopamine while walking, but not while he is biking. Other people can have problems driving or they might have no problems driving but difficulty with something else. Every person has their unique combination of symptoms and unique scenarios as to when they are having particular symptoms or not having them.

Below is an exciting shoe design that lets Parkinson’s people with freeze symptoms walk with “ease” due to a beam of light on the floor. So here you see that a visual sign that can catch your attention and help you. The person that has problems with freeze episodes will, with these shoes, be able to walk.

Below you see a man with Parkinson’s who needs a walker to make his way across a room but who can easily walk down stairs. This is because he is focussed on the task at hand, rather than his regular distracted thinking routine, because he knows that the stairs need attention if he does not want to fall. It is not the time for distracted thinking when your next step can cause you pain if you do it wrong. It is time for focus and attention.  So our standard flat floor and pavement are not stimulating our brain in a good way. The brain gets “lazy” and gives you time to think about challenges that are NOT in front of you.

If you combine the above strange observations with the videos below, you are close to solving the mystery about Parkinson’s disease.

Below you will hear that dancing helps people with Parkinson’s disease. So after dancing for an hour, these people feel better. On YouTube, you can find numerous videos talking about the benefits of dancing.

Boxing is also good to reduce Parkinson’s symptoms.

You can find a lot of videos about other ways you can improve Parkinson’s symptoms (and these activities will help with a lot of other diseases as well.)

What is happening? The answer is that we are actually going in and out of our survival instincts all the time and this is causing symptoms. We can not help it. It is our body trying to keep us alive.

Here is the theory explained:

We all know how animals behave: run when they are in flight instinct (=exercise), fight when in the fight instinct (=boxing, as an example), and have an intense tremor when coming out of the freeze instinct. The last half of this video shows the freeze instinct which animals use when they cannot run or fight and are close to death.

I help people with Parkinson’s to find their way OUT of instincts because that is the culprit in Parkinson’s disease and many other diseases. I am a biologist, coach, and therapist, so I have a good perspective to see these similarities between humans and animals, and I have worked for several years with Parkinson’s clients. (One client has been rescanned and is now free of his Parkinson’s diagnosis.)

I have made a six-week online course about this theory and how you can get better systematically. See more here

Over several years I have studied Parkinson’s people who got better or healed and also have a handful of my own clients that are slowly improving by the systematic concept that I call HOPE Shortcut.

You can use the ideas you see here to help reduce symptoms, but the most effective way to improve is to STOP yourself from going INTO these survival instincts, and that is how a therapist like me can help you. Join my course and get the knowledge you need to find a more systematic road to better health.

More videos:

Big and loud? This behavior also drags you out of instincts. No one wants to be big and loud when a tiger is close but it also works the other way around which can be used to your advantage. You become relaxed when you make noise and move with self-confidence when no predators are around you.

Here is a search with articles about Tai chi ... it also works on Parkinson’s. You can find similar articles with yoga, Qi Gong, meditation… But the story is the same: EVERYTHING that makes you relax improves Parkinson’s.

And here’s a link to the The American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA):

The relationship between stress, anxiety and Parkinson’s disease

This page suggests some of the many things you can do to reduce symptoms. Just choose an activity, believe in it and be persistent. The hardest part is to step out of medication as dopamine stimulates your mood but can often give you side effects similar to your Parkinson’s symptoms. And dopamine is degraded to adrenaline, a stress hormone that kickstarts the fight, flight and freeze reaction in the body…

Complicated? Yes, that is why you need help from the HOPE Shortcut course.

Subscribe to my email list here and be the first to know when the course is on sale so you can benefit from this information. It will not be expensive, and the course is for everyone.