I have recently seen the same GP a number of times for insomnia, which, ironies of ironies, is caused by stress and causes me more stress (go figure). She rarely takeS the time to look me in the eye, and the last time I visited she walked ahead of me into her office without holding the door which nearly knocked me out. Half way through me describing the blackhole of my insomnia, she started moisturing her hands; a clear indication that her thought process was more along the lines of ‘my hands are dry, oh I must moisturise them, now, right now’ rather than which medication and approach may help poor weary-teary Karen.
So 3 days in to the new meds I had a ‘funny turn’. I experienced my first and hopefully last episode of BPPV (fancy name for a type of Vertigo) “common in older people” – wait a minute, I am not old, I am 51 and a big bit! It may or may not have been caused by the meds, it may just be a one off, only time will tell. But its not serious nor ominous.
I am sharing this because the GP I saw today has made a difference. If I was given one wish, it would be to make a positive difference to each and everyone I encounter . She did this in less than a 4 minute appointment. She had taken the time to read my note on why I needed the appointment and was prepared; she didn’t need to ask ‘what seems to be the problem’. She already knew and had read my notes. She looked me in the eye. All of a sudden this GP had given me a value. She has changed the meds to one that will help the vertigo with the added side effect of sleepiness and I have exercises to do to move the crystals in my ears that are in the wrong place.
But here is where she made a difference: referring to my notes and that I had been seen for insomnia and stress related anxiety, she wrote the name of a book and personalised the appointment by telling me she too experienced this unpleasant condition and that hers came on with stress. She related that the mind and body work together to conspire and to fulfil our lives. I have left the surgery determined to get over this nausea and take control of my life with a different approach. I’m going to have a curfew on mobile devices 90 minutes before bedtime. I’m not going to drink coffee after 12 noon (that is actually going to be very hard!). I’m going back to the Mindful Apps that I recommend to my clients, because quite simply, they are brilliant and a lot of them are free.
There are definitely areas that GPs neglect – mental health training is NOT a part of their training in any significant way yet thousands of work hours are lost to ‘stress and anxiety’ sick notes every year in the UK. Our younger people, for whatever reason, have very poor mental health. As a Mum of 3 beautiful and accomplished young adults, they all have experienced serious debilitating anxieties/ depression. I have worked with teenagers and this is a REAL issue. An individual’s perception of what is stressful and causes them anxiety may not seem consequential to another but to them it just IS.
If we all think about the four things that make or break us they are : Diet, Exercise, Mental Health and Sleep.
They are all different and immense subjects on their own but they all work together within our bodies. Look at all four and see if their are any changes you need to make – do you walk and get fresh air and sunshine, do you exercise and challenge your strength & fitness, do you eat a variety of whole foods as much as you can, do you spend hours on devices when you could be walking, talking and engaging in living? And finally do you sleep, really deep fluffy cloud sleep?
These four ingredients are the only ones we need to pay attention to for our Life Recipe.