in #self-help5 years ago (edited)

Remembering my father, and a rare glimpse into my personal stuff.

Sometimes everything turns to shit, but feeling bad about it generally isn’t helpful. There are a bunch of emotional self help techniques that I’ve found can help a lot and I’ll get to them at the end of the post.

But first I’ll go into a bit of my personal background. This is something I usually avoid like the plague online, but at this point I’m hoping it will be cathartic.

Yesterday I sat in a hospital room with my mum, watching my dad on what I expect to be his deathbed. It’s been a long time coming, his brain has long departed, and what is left of his body is being propped up with some modern technologies. I know if he was capable of understanding any of this, he would choose to be dead, but prolonging a slow death is profitable business and his escape from this living hell will probably be delayed as long as possible.

Next month would be his 78th birthday, but if I’m honest I don’t expect him to get to that. And if he does, it probably won’t be a good thing.

For most of his life, my dad was defined by his fitness.

He was into squash, tennis, badminton, walking, hiking, cycling and mountain biking. For decades he was consistently one of the top players at his local squash club, and he completed one of the toughest mountain bike races, the Karapoti Classic aged 60.

For a job, he designed many of the hydro-electric generators that produce most of New Zealand’s electric power. Ironically, his twitching, drooling wreck of a body is now being kept alive with power coming from generators that he helped create. Writing this, with tears running down my cheeks, I can see that the tendency for all our achievements to be quickly forgotten, and the fleeting window of our own value as living people, is something that upsets me a lot. (Soon I’ll start using some of the self help techniques on myself)

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So apart from age, what is the reason for his drawn out and ghastly decline?

He is in the advanced stages of a disease called Lewy Body dementia. It’s very common, especially in America, where it’s the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s, and there are said to be more than 1.4 million people with the disease in America alone. I’ve read that Robin Williams was one of them, which was why he decided to check out before he got any further along the path. If so, who could blame him?

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According to the National Institute of Aging:

Lewy Body Dementia. LBD is a disease associated with abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain. These deposits, called Lewy bodies, affect chemicals in the brain whose changes, in turn, can lead to problems with thinking, movement, behaviour, and mood.

This leads to symptoms starting with dementia, memory loss, and hallucinations and gradually degenerating to total mental and physical break down. Most commonly, at the advanced stages, sufferers develop pneumonia and stop breathing. By that point, they have long since ceased to have enough brain function to even begin to grasp any of this themselves. That is the point my dad is at now.

For more information also see the lbda site

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Possible causes

Because it’s what I’m involved with, for reasons I’ll get into next, I always look at diseases as things that can be potentially reversed or managed using “natural” techniques. This rising tide of dementia sufferers certainly has contributing causes (and natural cures) that can be determined. The mainstream medical system likes to say things like “causes are unknown” and “genetic disposition” as they do for most modern degenerative diseases, when there are a bunch of well known contributors.

These include poor foods like all forms of sugar, gluten from modern high yield wheat, refined vegetable oils, and low nutrient, high starch foods such as modern potatoes. My father ate plenty of all of these.

Another contributor is all the modern toxins like fluoridated water, fruit and vegetables covered with pesticides with names like chlorothalonil and mancozeb, and the mercury in amalgam fillings. Again my father fully availed himself of all of these. (There are many others, but I’m just sticking to a few of his favourites.)

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These factors won’t be surprising to anyone who has looked into diet and natural healing. But now I’ll get onto a few more controversial theories that I suspect are very true, but not many people are publicly saying this stuff.

My more controversial theories

Firstly, that large amounts of exercise are not actually all that “healthy”. Fitness to competitive levels often leads to a very unhealthy old age. Over decades it essentially drains every last shred of reserve from your body. Think of athletes like John Walker (NZ runner) and Mohammed Ali.

And secondly, that a bunch of widely popular diet myths are utter bollocks. My father ate a diet low in fat, high in fibre and near to vegetarian. His diet closely resembled one of those government food pyramids, and he really liked to go heavy on the fruit. He avoided saturated fat like the plague, but saturated fat is one of the best fuels for the brain.

I think all of this was a big contributor to his physical and mental deterioration. When he ended up in the dementia ward of a rest care facility, he was fed things like bread with margarine and jam on it, mashed potato, and jellies. In hospital, they also include treats like vegetable soup and ice cream, along with the antibiotics and fluoridated tap water.

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How to reverse Pneumonia

The effective way to rapidly reverse pneumonia is to use intravenous vitamin C, which also works on many other illnesses, but it’s safe to say hospitals don’t touch that sort of thing (effective natural cures) with a 10 foot pole.

Why I got into natural treatments

The main reason I got into researching natural health treatments wasn’t because of my father, it was because of my own health issues. I went pretty hard out on the exercise myself. As a teenager, I was into competitive running, road cycling and motorcross. Already by my 20’s, I was having health issues such as frequent colds, skin problems and back pain. Then I got heavily into the new sport of downhill mountain bike racing and continued smashing the living crap out of myself, including one fairly bad head injury and more than a dozen other less severe blows to the head.

One of the ways I got so many head injuries

By age 30, I was suffering from chronic fatigue, bouts of depression, an almost constant cold, and debilitating back pain.

That was the first time I really made a serious attempt to sort my health out and did an elimination diet. That revealed some major food issues. For example, I was severely intolerant to gluten, and have never eaten it again. This isn’t a willpower thing, the side effects of eating it (including stomach pain and diarrhoea) were enough to rapidly make me avoid it. These food changes lead to some good improvements in my energy levels and the cold symptoms went away, so I pretty much went back to life as usual, but with a more restrictive diet.

But a few years on, I was having severe headaches, I’d lost the hearing in my left ear, was losing the sight in my left eye, and my balance (previously very good) had gone altogether. After a couple of unhelpful doctor’s visits, eventually, I was referred to a specialist for an MRI scan. She told me I had a benign brain tumour the size of a golf ball that would keep growing and kill me if I didn’t have brain surgery urgently. But there were a few potential side effects of the surgery ranging from permanent facial paralysis to death that she breezed over. I told the doctor to forget it and started researching natural health more determinedly.

An MRI scan of my head in 2002

My partner @kiwideb had been studying various aspects of nutrition since I got chronic fatigue.

She started writing her website after we both did an elimination diet. She got so many inquiries asking for help, that she was studying for a nutrition diploma at this time, and had started seeing clients. She had already learnt Reiki, and later went on to study Emotional Freedom Technique, kinesiology and other natural healing methods.

With her help, I made a lot of changes, had some natural therapies (acupuncture, cranial osteopathy) and rapidly managed to reverse some of the brain tumour symptoms such as headaches and vision loss. I’ve never suffered any further headaches since. A recent scan revealed that, 14 years on, the tumour is still there but is about 2mm smaller and basically just a dead lump in the centre of my brain. But some of the damage it did, like my left ear deafness and poor balance, has never recovered.

Right now, while my own sense of mortality is substantially diminished, I’m having another letting go moment.

Up until now, I’ve always tried to keep a mask online and never reveal anything too intimate to an unknown audience. My father never let his slip, and it’s safe to say he never will now. Yes, I’m crying again writing this, and I promise I’ll get onto the self help techniques now.

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Finally now some self help techniques!

There are many self techniques out there, but these are the ones that I’ve found most helpful.

Hand on forehead

The technical term for this is “holding the ESR (Emotional Stress Release) points”. These are the two slightly sticking out bumps high on the forehead. When you place your hand over them, it brings blood to the forebrain and helps get you out of emotional overwhelm. This is a technique @kiwideb learnt as part of her Touch for Health training.

The first time she did it on me was after we’d taken one of our cats for her final visit to the vet, and it helped tremendously. It’s very easy to do yourself. You can either place the first two fingertips of each hand on the two points, or just place your whole hand over the whole forehead, for a few minutes.

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Known as Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT, this is one of the techniques @kiwideb uses in her practice. It involves focusing on the issue that’s upsetting you and tapping on the ends of the meridians (as used in acupuncture).

It’s a bit more involved than that, and this post has already gone on forever. But @kiwideb is intending to write a Steemit post covering it in more detail at some point. In the meantime, if you want to read more, visit the EFT section of her website.

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This is a Hawaiian healing technique, brought to mainstream attention by the work of Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len and his workshops with Dr Joe Vitale.

It’s based on the premise that we are responsible for everything in our world, including everything we perceive to be outside ourselves. By accepting that responsibility, and using the healing emotions of repentance, forgiveness, gratitude and love, we can heal our perceptions from the inside out.

You simply focus on the thing that is upsetting you and say these four phrases:
• I’m sorry
• Please forgive me
• Thank you
• I love you

When I’ve been in bad states of mind, I’ve found this technique very powerful and comforting.

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@kiwideb will also be writing in more detail about this at some stage, but for now, you could read more here.


There are thousands of audios available, and we have a big collection. But there are two authors that I always find myself coming back to – Eckhart Tolle and Louise Hay. My two favourite audios are the entire book of “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle, which I often leave playing quietly while I sleep, and “What I Believe” by Louise Hay, which is short, wise and soothing. The second part about deep relaxation puts me to sleep like a switch, so I seldom consciously listen to it past the first few minutes.

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I think writing all this down has helped me, and I hope it helps someone else. Maybe writing is self help technique number five.

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SIFT666 aka Ian Gregson from Wellington, New Zealand, is a world famous zen master who now works full time as a professional Steemit blogger.
In between being commissioned to write posts on Steemit and inventing new ways to chill out, he is developing a new website portal to rival Steemit called where he is testing out a new feature called “refrotting” that may revolutionise blogging and overcome any need to produce new content.


Dear Ian, thank you for this deep view into your life. It is very worthful for me, as I'm interested and engaged in edurance sports like running and biking as well as nutrition optimisation.

Many thanks for running a great contest, and for your vote.
There is a huge amount more as far as links between exercise, nutrition, and health. And I didn't even touch on parasites (like candida and many others) which may well be the real key, but I'm only just learning this stuff.

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