Bernice flushed. A pink perfused her face and neck. Her eyes looked away.
Why don’t I feel better?
Bernice was one of those fortunate lasses who flushed and blushed no matter what emotion she experienced. When I first met her and she told me some of her story, she was also a-flame.
I’ll do anything to feel better.
She though she was feeling bad because her husband did not love her.
I knew, however, that this was not why. She did not understand why she was feeling so bad. It was a conundrum to her.
She began intensive psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. In two weeks, she forgot she did not want to live. In four weeks, she remembered why she did want to live. In six weeks, she liked herself again. She was still blushing, but she was alive and well.
We sat separated by a small desk and laptop. I was typing notes and watching the pink bloom. Too sweet.
Why do you think you feel better, Bernice? What is making the difference?
We all know something about the relationship blood has with the lung and heart. We know that all the blood in our body flows through those two organs. They are the hub of our body, the authority of the blood communication. For better or worse, they are also a filter. Pollution can clog them, hence heart attacks, cancer.
So with emotions and behaviors, we know there is a grand central station where they come from. Things that assault the hub such as a a death in the family, similar to a glob of cholesterol toward the heart, stress on us affects brain health.
Red hair distracted me from these thoughts. Bernice had a lot of it. Irish I guessed from who knows how many generations back. I remembered the red-head girl who won the beauty contest my Mom forced me into when I was ten. Awkward. I pushed my focus back.
Irish Bernice had experienced what happens when we approach healing at the central station of behavioral and emotional illness. The brain. She stumbled, trying to explain her story, although, intuitively, she had insight into, “Why?”
I don’t know! I’m trying hard to be mindful and I’m treating my husband differently. (I.e. They are having sex again.)
She paused and her face reddened.
Well, I really like my meds! I think they help a lot too! I am feeling calmer and I don’t cry as much. I’m sleeping through the night…
She peetered off into her averted gaze. I wondered that the conjunctiva of her eye-balls were still white, inside the almost crimson lid and cheek around them.
We with Bernice ask why the medical paradigm including psychotherapy, nutrition, exercise, community, medications, ECT, is the best way to healing a sickness. It is not about the healthy exercise in itself. It is about what all these have in common. They all act upon and draw forth emotions and behaviors from the brain. Their vital exchange with our brain, the grand central station, are much better understood when we start with understanding of what brain health offers.
Self-Care Tip: Use brain health, as the grand central station of Me, to handle the multiplicitous paradigms that make us who we are.
Question: Is it helpful to use brain health as a tool toward who you consider yourself to be, rather than a definition of who you are? Does it influence where you spend your energies? Your blame? How you approach shame? Your hope? Please tell us your story.