Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Human Givens

Read an article written by the Human Givens originators Ivan Tyrell and Joe Griffin on depression - was really interesting - I realised 3 of my human needs are not being met right now with the problems I've been having with my clinic not being watertight (= secure) despite being busy:
  • Security - safe territory in the home (read home AND work here)
  • Volition - a sense of autonomy and control over what is happening (I have no control whatsoever - unless it's over my response)
  • Competence - a sense of achievement (although met in other ways i.e. professionally I feel really incompetent when it comes to looking after the building. I can't solve it and I spend all day and night worrying about it.
So, my sleep is permeated by awful dreams which leave me exhausted. Human Givens have a theory for this too which is that dreaming is a necessary discharge of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) in order to balance what has been denied during the day. Too much REM sleep and not enough slow wave which is responsible to restoring the immune system and cellular health. How interesting.. That explains why I wake exhausted and still 'wired' despite loads of dream sleep.

They have developed an 'expectation theory of dreaming; "dreams, as we shall see, is nature’s way of metaphorically discharging the autonomic nervous system (ANS)  of accumulated expectations we got worked up about during the day and did not deactivate by taking action in the real world. Emotions, we know are both motivators to DO something (from the verb emovare 'to move') and our greatest intuitive connection to our own truth. The problem is when they get stuck, as in depression, and we feel powerless to change them, our innate needs are not being met and the ANS gets set into fight, flight or freeze which sends us into a downward spiral of rumination and fear. This is the essence of depression and anxiety and it explains why it feels so physical; there are very few physiological processes that aren't affected by the ANS: immunity, metabolism and digestion being just some.

In some ways the Human Givens ideas are very much in parallel with my own that I detail in my book: Stress, Trauma and unresolved emotion in Chronic Disease. But my approach is probably more geared towards the body than this purely psychological framework would have it.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Great British Bake off - a multicultural phenomenon

Well we're nearing the final of this incredibly popular TV show.. how to explain it's popularity? Sure, it's a competition and the nerves are jangling as you watch the highs and lows of the various challenges. But, I think, more appealing, is the ability of 'ordinary' people (albeit superb bakers) to raise themselves and their art week after week with humour and emotional honesty. Of course, it's great TV, and edited no doubt to keep us hooked, but I for one think it's done more for tolerance and understanding of what it means to be an immigrant to this country (2 of the 3 remaining have families from other countries) including a British born Muslim woman who wears a headscarf and a 'hearthrob' man of Indian extraction.

Here's the phenomenon - we can identify with people as people regardless of race and see their common humanity - through the medium of cakes! Riveting stuff.