Who Are You Listening To?

Written by Classmate

I realised that we are bombarded with information and opinions all day long. People have different agendas,  some are to help us, and some are to get our money. It can be quite challenging to know who to listen to.

I realised that I can often listen to whatever message suits me. Or suits the collection of my fears (aka the condition). I can cherry pick the information that deepens my fears. I can gloss over certain things people tell me, and run with the really unhelpful stuff. Sometimes I notice myself actively twisting something in my head so that it agrees with my conditioned beliefs. Sometimes I even skip past the negative consequences of my condition, and torture myself that I was never “sick enough”, that I was a “faker” or “attention seeker”. This is all the epitome of selective thinking.

I was in a health food shop last week when I overheard the shop assistant explain something to a customer. She was literally talking absolute sh€?e. It’s both a blessing and a curse that I am a doctor, as I can know way too much about the body than is actually helpful. In this instance it was a blessing, as I could heard the utter nonsense coming out of this staff member’s mouth, and realised she was wrong. She was literally making up physiology. She was literally making up how the body does stuff!!!! Sometimes I get taken in by this quasi-science, but on this day I didn’t. It reminded me that I can always find SOMETHING to justify my “fear” of a certain food- if I want to. And it’s up to me if I want to live my life in this state of perpetual anxiety and what-if.

The first step to changing anything is to become aware. So I am aware that I abuse the scientific literature. Early in medical school we learn to ‘critically appraise the literature’. That means that we learn to look at a journal article that explains a medical study, and then pick it apart to see if their method was ok, their statistics were sound, and their conclusions drawn were reasonable and not hyped up for the sake of a shiny publication. Often, these studies are a load of nonsense, and aren’t scientifically sound. Guess which studies my condition likes to believe? (Answer: the ones that back up the condition’s fears)

In a world of abundant knowledge, and seemingly never ending research, it’s important to have clarity. It’s important to realise that if you try to find an article to prove your point, you’ll find one. But do I want to spend my life chasing information? Do I want to wreck my head for eternity? Or do I want to just lighten up and go with the flow a bit more?

The ironic thing is that cultivating this much worry about food is really quite “unhealthy”. The body doesn’t want to be on high alert for the “bad stuff” and the “lipidy leprechauns”. The body doesn’t want to have palpitations over foods that have been vaguely linked to cancer or obesity or heart disease or autoimmune disorders or skin conditions blah blah blah. The body wants to be calm and tranquil. Everything doesn’t have to be a battle ground. On the way out the door of a session recently the person reminded me that “this isn’t a power struggle”. I found that really helpful, because sometimes I get lost in an argument to prove that I’m right. Teenage-me who was amazing on the debate team suddenly steps forward. When this was never about who is right or wrong, it’s about learning to become self supportive TO THE CORE.

Years ago I wrote a post about Health. It’s an abused term in this day and age. It’s also a term the condition adores. Sometimes I actually start to believe my own nonsense. What is health? Does it mean to be free of illness? Or does it mean something else? My condition thinks it equates with thinness and purity and doing life “right” and “good”. But the real me knows that health is only understood once it has passed. It’s been pointed out that you can literally cause yourself an illness by worrying. And what about worrying about being unhealthy? Oh the irony.

I watched some of a documentary about happiness the other night. Did you know that in Japan there is a term for people who die of being overworked? They work themselves to death. It even has a support group for families left behind. I saw them all singing in a choir and crying about their loss. Isn’t that so sad?

Do I want to continue to work or worry myself into an early grave? Do I want to continue to allow my worries interfere with my absorption and hormones? Do I want be so dogged in conviction that xyz causes disease that I am willing to sacrifice my joy and my lightness and magnetism?

I don’t want to be a zombie at meal times because I’m stressing in my head about my health and size. I want to be that person that when people see my name they see a yellow colour. They see the name of a person they want to spend time with, who doesn’t harp on about their fears and judgements. Because although I don’t say anything at meal times, I’m sure my judgement of the other person’s food choices are palpable. Kinda like the intake of breath I do when I see someone I care about smoke a cigarette or joke about their drug use. Is that the sort of person I want to be? A Judgy Jane?

But I do have choices. I can listen to scare mongering. I can listen to youtubers who tell me how “bad” I am because I eat xyz. I can listen to pseudo-science sprouted in health food shops. I can listen to a world gone mad with fitness and “health”.

Or I can listen to the suggestions I receive in MTC by people who have done the journey first and learned the lighten up. They’ve learned balance and contentedness. They don’t roll themselves down the road and so far there are no heart attacks or cancers. Touch wood (this is a scientifically proven method of keeping bad things from happening lol).

Maybe I can turn myself away from all the messages out there that do nothing but scare and confuse me.

Maybe I can truly let go of this pursuit of perfection which is just ageing me and causing me to be boring and anxious.

Maybe I could engage my fab ability to selectively hear things, and tune out when my colleagues in the medical profession start scaring each other. Balance is key anyways. I know plenty of elderly people who real-buttered their floury delicious white potatoes into a happy and (mostly…) healthy grave in their 80s. That could be me too.

This drama and stress I create, is NOT how I want to live my life. I made a manifesto a while ago (actually on the 3rd of August to be exact) to try to focus myself on how I was living my life, and to try help myself live more freely. I just added LIGHTEN UP.  Forget antidepressants, what the world needs are chill pills…

Anyways I have rambled on long enough. Onwards in our/my quest for freedom 🙂

Classmate xxx