This photograph is taken from an online collection and is therefore no-one I know, but the last few months and weeks have brought sad news to myself and my husband and in all three cases the news is concerned with stress and the effects on our brain and body.
Firstly I have a friend, a lively, intelligent lady in her fifties who holds down a job, runs a home and family but who has had a really hard year with memory problems, black outs, limb weakness and feelings of being ‘not quite there’. The medics gave her a diagnosis of early onset dementia in June which as you can imagine horrified her and her family and friends. After months of delays and cancellations she has undergone many sessions of testing and assessment and that diagnosis has now been discounted, but with no clear treatment path to be seen and no actual diagnosis as to what might be wrong, even though all physical ailments have been discounted.
Ten days ago my bright, lively niece who had just celebrated her thirtieth birthday was rushed to hospital having lost all feeling and movement in her one leg. This was followed by blackouts and slurred speech. After a barrage of examinations and tests all the obvious illnesses, stroke, MS, were ruled out and finally after many hours with a neurological psychiatrist she has been given a diagnosis of Functional Neurological Disease or FND. There is no way of knowing how long she will be in hospital, how long it will take for her symptoms to ease or disappear, in some people they are permanent, at least at first and for others they can be transitory. A light bulb moment led me to think that perhaps FND is what my friend is also suffering with so she is heading back to her consultant to enquire.
What these two ladies have in common is a history of rushing at life at 100mph, of overloading themselves, taking on just one thing too many. FND is when the brain and the body don’t communicate efficiently, the analogy given is that of a computer, the hard drive is fine but the software is malfunctioning, therefore the brain needs to be retrained. The disease seems to often strike those who have anxiety or depression, those who suffer with migraine or epilepsy, those hating loud noise and bright lights but equally it can just arrive with anyone. Whatever the reason in both cases these ladies are having to take a break and rest both mind and body.
Thirdly my husband’s cousin, a fit man in his early seventies has just been given a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and has made a sharp decline in the last twelve months with memory and recall. What follows will be a hard and difficult journey for him, his wife and family.
Is it just me who feels that there are so many more people suffering in this fast, high tech world than I remember from the slower days of my childhood? I know that there are many reasons for the onset of illnesses, both physical and mental, but with so many of our school children suffering with stress and anxiety it makes me think that the time has come to put some breaks on the ours we spend glued to mobile phones, computers and screens generally.
All of them, even blogging and reading blogs can soon become addictive and there is a heady rush when we receive a positive comment and there can be a nagging feeling of being ‘out of the loop’ when we are away from our internet connections.
Having said that, in this instance I genuinely would like your feedback as to whether you have had similar thoughts or experiences and any ways that you may have decided to ration your online time.