Spring has sprung and the sap is starting to rise. The environment is changing with the temperature outside increasing. Water drawn in through tree roots will soon become part of the process that moves an essential energy supply for new shoots and leaves to be ‘born’. Hopefully that means a favourite oak tree will soon be transformed, and shine with radiant green leaves once more, and to be teeming with life.
Now, if that movement or flow of essential energy was to gradually become blocked on its journey to the branches, then I have no doubt I would feel a bit emotional. The beautiful colour that I am used to seeing each year, made even more striking by the contrasting blue sky, simply wouldn’t appear. But not only that, the life that that one tree supports would be altered.
If I may, I would like you to imagine that the crafted network of roots (which typically remain out of sight) and come from the same single acorn/seed, are synonymous with the mind. In this model, the trunk and branches and leaves (i.e., the reshaped Lifestyle Health Foundation tree) are a combination of the spinal cord and brain. When it comes to the movement or flow of energy, this can be likened to what the world of neuroscience calls “flow of consciousness”. Perhaps another, more simple expression is “movement of thoughts”.
Before continuing, and to help communicate the main point and significance of this post/article, I’d like to relay a personal experience. It is one which I believe is particularly pertinent, and one that may even help to raise awareness. Plus, it may trigger ideas for key practical questions to be asked in supporting more timely access to appropriate action.
During 2014 I noticed very subtle tiredness in my legs. I was cycling quite a lot then, and at first, I put it down to that. My wife even, very thoughtfully, bought me a sports massage. It did help at first, and few months went by, but then it gradually returned. I also felt getting in and out the bath was different. At first, I just didn’t think anything of it, or perhaps, that was my mind hoping it would just go away.
It didn’t, and then the occasional headache experienced over the previous few years, seem to become just that bit more frequent. Not only that, on the odd occasion I would be wake up with a headache (or I was probably woken by it). Plus, after driving, and on arrival at my destination, I’d get out the car and sometimes a headache would happen out of nowhere. But then one day I was sitting at my desk preparing a VAT return (I hate doing those at the best of times). But on this occasion, I was sitting there, trying to do a calculation that normally took seconds. I simply couldn’t do it! Not only that; one evening I headed out to band practice (I play trumpet) and on my way (I had probably driven a few hundred yards) I had to turn back. I’d forgotten my trumpet! Even though I had placed in the hallway, I had walked straight past it!
By this point, I’d spoken to a GP friend, a headache specialist. I mentioned to him that I had started experiencing unusual headaches. There was also an overall sense of progression. He suggested that it might be an idea if I went to see my GP. So that’s what I did. But just before I visited him, one night I had got up to go for a pee, and on my way back to the bedroom I found myself missing the open doorway. That scared me and I knew then that something needed investigating.
Role on to the 10th of March 2015 and I’m referred to Kings College Hospital for a series of tests. What my referring neurologist had said to me was, “It may be nothing, but I think we should investigate it”. Suddenly, having had nerve conduction tests completed, followed by an MRI scan, I found myself in a small room surrounded by 3 surgeons. A vital “energy supply”, the cerebrospinal fluid flow, in my brain was blocked due to, what turned out to be a tumour sitting on my pineal gland (which in case you’re wondering, is right in the centre of the brain). I needed urgent life-saving surgery.
Seven years on, to the very day (13th of March 2015), I am overjoyed to be sitting in my office having just written this post/article, which I shall now conclude.
I hope by writing about my experience, I have clearly explained how a physical blockage to a physical stream (the flow of cerebrospinal fluid), is without any doubt, connected with damaging both body (brain changes and altering body function) and mind (thoughts, memory etc and consciousness). I also hope I have left you without any shred of doubt that a mental or mind blockage to a mental or mind stream (ie thoughts and stream of consciousness) will damage both body and mind.
It was that realisation, that lead me down a path towards preventing and healing Acquired Mind Injuries (AM I) through Lifestyle Health and establishing the Lifestyle Health Foundation. I am sure by taking this approach, and working collaboratively, together we will help to find tailored answers to that most challenging of questions, often triggered after such an injury: Who AM I?