How we can become unfamiliar even to ourselves!

Did you know that various forms of trauma can affect the area of the brain involved with our emotional health? The brain changes its structure and function and when the limbic system is not functioning properly, it can make us think and feel in ways that may be shocking to us. Something we hear over and over again from clients battling chronic illnesses like chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivities and fibromyalgia is that they no longer feel like themselves. 

On top of dealing with chronic illness they are also depressed and often feel out of control emotionally – even though they know they were not like this before they suffered from limbic system impairment. When the brain is stuck in a fight or flight response it is easy to understand how we can get stuck in negative thinking and feeling patterns. Even people who once considered themselves positive and easy-going can morph into someone that they no longer recognize as themselves. We may find our thoughts become fixated on past hurtful events, or that negative emotions like shame, resentment, sadness and anger slowly creep in and take over. 

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Sleep is Vital for Good Health

A woman sleeping in bedHumans evolved to be asleep when it is dark and be awake when it is light. Sleep is a form of hibernation when the body shuts down in order to repair damage done through use, to conserve energy and hide from predators. The normal sleep pattern that evolved in hot climates is to sleep, keep warm and conserve energy during the cold nights and then sleep again in the afternoons when it is too hot to work and hide away from the midday sun. As humans migrated away from the Equator, the sleep pattern had to change with the seasons and as the lengths of the days changed.

Sleep is Essential for Life

After the First World War a strain of Spanish 'flu swept through Europe killing 50 million people worldwide. Some people sustained neurological damage and for some this virus wiped out their sleep centre in the brain. This meant they were unable to sleep at all. All these poor people were dead within 2 weeks and this was the first solid scientific evidence that sleep is more essential for life than food and water. Indeed all living creatures require a regular "sleep" (or period of quiescence) during which time healing and repair takes place. You must put as much work into your sleep as your diet. Without a good night's sleep on a regular basis all other interventions are undermined.

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