Fear – Part Two

Be Happy Keep On Working
Be Happy Keep On Working

I am three weeks late with this essay I will not apologise; there is a life to live and much to do. Running the business, attending weekend events and the occasional social interaction, every day adds up and soon becomes a month. It is of no concern if a day is one of work, problem solving or arduous. Each one has its special moments, every hour is rewarding. If my essay is a little late, forgive me I am a busy man.

We have to experience fear to understand it. It is not a cinema seat, horror film moment. Nor is fear the fairground ride designed to awaken every nerve in our body. The greatest fear is not death; it is the journey to the final sleep.

Some people fear to be broke, without a relationship, the driving test or growing old. Allow me to dissolve the illusion, each one of these examples is solvable, repairable or inevitable. The disease has a different connotation; it set’s many seeds of possibilities within the imagination. Some words contain possible death warrants, cancer or septicaemia are two examples, and believe me, fear sets in when this pair come to play in the garden of health. It is the journey which holds the fear, not the destination.

How do we cope with the word ‘fear’? We do so by accepting it, not fighting it. Don’t say to yourself ‘I’ll put on a brave persona’ acting out the character of being without fear is hard work, and inevitably the performance wanes. When I said to my friend ‘Of course I am frightened’ the words freed him from either embarrassment or commenting ‘I think it will be alright.’ How would anyone know the outcome of the sickness? We should realise the problem with kind words; the sentiments prolong the deception. However when we say ‘Of course there is fear’ we demonstrate a facing of the facts, not an admission of weakness. The master key is, by accepting the reality, our courage overwhelms the fear.

The emotion known as fear cannot prosper when a factual appraisal of a situation is made. As we accept the circumstances; courage begins to overwhelm the fear. The reader could consider the idea as too simplistic. To do so, will mean missing an opportunity to deal with the most negative aspect of serious illness. Acceptance leaves no space for ‘what if’ and ‘maybe.’ The reality is when internal dialogue says ‘What if I die?’ or ‘Maybe the illness will go away’ there is no acceptance of the situation. When self-talk says ‘My disease is life threatening. I will work with the professionals and give myself every opportunity to become well’ this is the reality.

Never be in denial, it is a typical and unhelpful attitude. To deny anything is a self-deception. Consider it is possible serious illness became more grave or even untreatable because of a denial of symptoms. During my illness, there was no escaping the reality of the situation. In fact during the final year my wife Carol could never be confident of me waking from my night’s rest. There had been a few ‘what if’s’ and ‘maybe’s’ during the early days. Later, I realised reality and fact are better companions. I could not deny the symptoms of the disease. The feeling of helplessness very near overwhelmed my existence, this only happened once or twice. A determination live each day in the best possible way became my focal point.

There will be times when doubts enter the mind, although doubt is preferable to fear. When this occurs, refer to considering the facts of your situation. The consultant diagnoses the illness; he will offer suggestions for different treatments. The patient decides which course to take and the journey begins. Now the reader will understand it is the journey, not the destination which causes the feeling of fear.

When deciding to follow the idea that fact overwhelms fiction, and fear is the seed of courage the journey becomes easier and purposeful. At this marker do your best to live life as normally a possible. During my illness, I continued to work in our business and live as normal a life as possible. Even on days when the imps of doubt began to cause mischief, I forced myself to continue. Never give up, always consider today and tomorrow, go no further, as speculation is the of little use.

Now I am fit and well, my days are never dull or wasted. I watch many people spend their lives doing nothing. How strange the truth; when we have encountered the possibility of the final sleep. We realise life is extended by activity. The man who lives a life of sloth may live a for 100 years, and in truth, he lives for a day. The man who exists for 60 years and enjoys each day, lives a lifetime.

Every Day A Winner
Every Day A Winner

Live life – Be happy

Donor Ambassador Campbell Wallace

Cam Donor Ambassador
Here’s… Campbell !!!

If you are a visitor to Manchester, you may have noticed the National Donor Register Campaign posters. It is the strangest of feelings to see yourself on the massive billboard. They say a picture says a thousand words. And the exert from a recent interview explains what the posters are all about.


Make one click on your computer and five minutes of your time answering a few questions and your registered. You can hover and click on the pictures on the page, and it will link you straight to the page. And then you become part of an exclusive community which makes a commitment to help strangers return to a better life; in the event of premature death.

True Fans
True Fans

One way of considering why we would consider entering onto the register. You leave the ultimate gifts. It does not matter how wealthy you are possessions are worthless in the final sleep. And yet, the gift of your organs are worth all the material wealth in the world. If your desire is to leave a testament to your growth as a human being, this one act surpasses any other bequest.

Live life – Stay Happy – Campbell

When Fear Appears – Part One

Campbell Wallace
Campbell Wallace

During an acute illness, we encounter the demon of fear. It is an insipid imp which effects the inner being and can cause far-reaching problems if it is not dealt with efficiently. Do not jump to conclusions; it is easy to believe being in a mental dip is a sign of weakness and is the reason for fear. This is far from accurate. Serious illness is a multifaceted situation. 1) Obviously, the body is in dis-ease. 2) There are uncertainties for the future. 3) The weeks ahead will be a round of tests and treatments. 4) Illness has negative financial implications. These are just four of the many aspects of the story. If you consider the whole situation it is easier to eliminate the areas which cannot be controlled and begin to focus on becoming well.

  1. Accept you are ill, forget the why and how, work for today and leave the future to be what it will be.
  2. The future is unknown. However the future is unknown to all humanity, your illness is where you are at. So this is why we stay with today.
  3. Get into the flow of it all. Speculation is one of the ‘imps’ greatest friends, deprive the imp of his pleasure.
  4. Batten down the hatches. Just for the moment keep your purse strings tight. Let everyone know you feel its circumspect to become careful with finance.

The first issue I will address is researching your sickness. By all means ask your health professionals about the diagnosis and treatment. Read all of the documentation given to you by your consultant or doctor. However be careful with the internet. Tapping those keys can and will cause anxieties worse than the disease. If you are of brave heart, dig in and print out the information learned. Print it, because will not be long before the many conflicting opinions and views you have read, will become a storm of fear. And once locked into the imagination, the imp will wave the fears like a protest banner at every opportunity. When the information is printed the ideas can be compared, and the investigator will see the conflicting information.

Well, meaning friends, love them for their kindness and support. Remember they live in houses, not pathology laboratories. Most work in average to goodness jobs, not in hospital consultant rooms. Few have spent eight years studying the symptoms of the disease. Support and friendship yes, diagnosis of life threatening disease, probably not. And, forget, and I mean forget the harbingers of doom, with stories of wrong leg amputations and blood dripping waiting room trolleys. It amazes me all the hours I’ve spent being looked after by the NHS I have never seen the Victorian blood baths. Everyone carries a camera in their pocket, why don’t we see these pictures? And on the odd occasion something remiss does happen, is it taken out of context.

Become focussed on realities; attention to supposition is like pouring petrol on your barbeque, it’s Russian roulette. Remember the little imp is ready and waiting to take on the job of undermining your well-being. Do not allow well-meaning people or digging into the mine of misinformation keep the wretch awake in the imagination. The imagination is a fertile ground for creativity, it will cultivate anything from light bulb moments of genius to dungeons of despair. Plant the seeds of goodness and watch the sunflowers grow. Seed the mind with brambles and it’s the devils own job to clear the illusion, it is your choice. Think about the idea of seeds, and remind yourself the disease is part of the story (let’s call it a story, a story about the illness sounds interesting). Consider you are central to the story, set the seed in your mind that you’ll only be growing the ‘right’ seeds and the name on the bag is fact and truth. When anxiety enters the imagination, and the imp is playing his games. Ask him about the reality, ask him about the facts, ask him about today, do not waste time asking the way to ‘What ifs’?’

While waiting for appointments, resist the temptation to think others are in a worse situation. You are in your story and you my friend is where the attention must be centred. And for those who read this and think otherwise, allow me to be blunt: No one who is within acute illness desires sympathy, a big smile, laughter, and happiness is our tonic. A sorry looking face across the room only compounds the situation. I am not commenting sympathy is not understood or acknowledged, however, while we are still breathing and in with a chance, a smile is preferred to a ‘You’re looking better’ because the phrase can be misinterpreted. Illness make the mind become distorted, and the little imp will say ‘I wonder if they are just saying that?’ Talk normally to friends and gently change the subject if they dwell too long on the situation.

Consultations can be stressful. Some patients think the surgeon is a little ‘cold’ or ‘distant’. Do not read this incorrectly, they see many patients in a day, and to become emotionally involved with each one would break them down. Remember they are human, so give them a chance, big smiles seem to be rewarded with the extra few minutes of explanation or reassurance. There is no point in getting uptight if you ask ‘What are my chances?’ and the reply is ‘The prognosis is good’ the answer takes many factors into account. I have a distinct feeling; no surgery is performed it there is no chance of survival. Allow the imp to sleep; ask clear questions and write the answers in a notebook, so as the information is not forgotten or distorted. Remember anxiety is the feeling of worry once you get into the habit of immediately addressing the feeling it will not take long before you become in control of it.

How do you deal with anxiety? I would guide you to begin to read novels, listen to music or do something different, for example by like me, take up writing. It is amazing how many of the happy times of your life will be recalled. Beware, it’s an addictive pass-time. In fact, the most important factor to help keep the imp asleep is to break usual habits and do something different in your routine. One last consideration your family loves you, talk with clarity about your feelings. We cannot be mind readers, allow loved one’s to know and understand your feeling. Free them from not knowing what to do or say about your illness.

More next week – Live live well – Keep the Imp asleep -Campbell