Thursday, April 30, 2009

Musings on Tragic Events and the Swine Flu

Why is it when some people undergo a traumatic event in their life, they seem to rise to the occasion and display an almost superhuman resilience to some seriously low blows, while others may experience similar or even lesser tragedies and fall all to pieces?

I have an acquaintance who recently found herself unemployed with a mortgage she was no longer able to cover, and after applying to every job she could possibly find, remained without work as her savings were being depleted week after week. I spoke with her a few days ago, and her spirits were high in spite of her unenviable situation! In her thirties, her home was on the brink of foreclosure and she was forced to move in with her mom, but was undeterred from finding reasons to be grateful.

On the other hand, I remember reading in the news about a man in Southern California who lost his job sometime last year. His reaction was explosive and horrifying. Not only did he take his own life, leaving a suicide note apparently riddled with talk of his being victimized by society, but before doing so he shot his wife and 5 children, all under the age of 8!

I am in no place to judge this man – I don’t know the full story, I have no idea what difficulties he faced in his life that led him to snap so violently. But what I do know is this – there are a lot of people being laid off these days, and the way they react to this misfortune, whether they lose it to some degree or are able to get through it with a positive mindset, largely depends on their character and patterns of thought.

I would like to apply this line of logic to our current swine flu “pandemic” that is sweeping the globe. I am no epidemiologist; I am no doctor. But hear me out, if you will!

In our lives, it is self-evident that all of us face hardships at different times. Similarly, we all live in a non-sterile world and our bodies are very frequently faced with all sorts of pathogens – bacteria and viruses among others! Just as there are behaviors and mindsets that can help a person develop the type of character that more readily survives such tragic events as divorce, death in the family, the loss of a job, or any other kind of trauma, there are some practical things one can do to that greatly increase their chances of fending off death should they happen to be exposed to a bug!

So when I hear people freaking out about any illness going around, whether it be the stomach flu, a bug that gives people a hacking cough, or the swine flu, I get a little frustrated. Mass hysteria over a flu bug, even one as bizarre as the swine flu bug with its apparently mutant nature and propensity to spread, would be comparable to the millions of American workers laid off in recent months, or in danger of possibly some day being unemployed, losing their minds with fear that they might one day soon find themselves putting a gun to theirs and their family’s heads!

Just as a resilient character takes time and effort to develop, so does a healthy immune system – one capable of fending off many pathogens oftentimes without us even getting any symptoms, and even when we do come down with the symptoms of a battle between our immune system and the bug, our chances of survival are much higher – no matter what the bug is!

If you have read earlier posts on my blog, then you know that I was partially-disabled for 6 years in my 20’s with chronic fatigue syndrome. One day, my roommate brought home a flu bug that I happened to catch. Weeks later, I was still sick. Years later, I was still unable to work full-time. For a long time, it was easy to see myself as an unlucky victim of fate. If my roommate had just not gotten me sick . . .!!

But over time, I began to learn what I now believe to be the truth – it wasn’t that nasty flu bug that was to blame. It was the “terrain” of my body, mind, and spirit that made me vulnerable to the bug, and left me susceptible to the unpleasant cascade of events that followed.

For years, I wanted a magic pill to cure me of the illness that robbed me of my ability to function in society, the ability to provide for myself and have a normal social life. But it wasn’t until I began to seriously address the REAL problem – poor lifestyle choices and etc… -- that my health magically returned one fine day in September 2005!

Let’s not make the costly mistake I made for years, and put our hopes in some swine flu vaccine to save us from impending doom! Let’s make choices now to develop a healthy and resilient immune system so that our body is better able to do the job it was designed to do.

I haven’t had the flu in 3 or 4 years, though I have certainly been exposed to it. If you already know of something that works for you, that’s wonderful! I’ll just share what works for me for those who are wondering what they can do to boost their immune system.

Besides the basics of getting adequate rest, eating healthfully (minimizing junk food, fast food, processed foods), drinking ample water, exercising at least modestly, and having a clear conscience and loving attitude (see A Viewpoint on Healing, Part 1), there are other things I have found helpful. I use NingXia Red from Young Living – one ounce is equivalent to 4 pounds of carrots or 8 oranges in terms of antioxidants!! I drink at least one ounce daily, but will drink more if I feel like I might be coming down with something. (One time I felt myself descending into a bout with the flu, and I drank an entire bottle in 2 days. Not only did I not end up getting the flu, but I didn’t have to miss work and lose a few days worth of pay!)

I also use an essential oil blend from Young Living called Thieves. The herbs from which the oils in this blend are derived were purportedly used by thieves in France during the days of the plague – legend has it they were able to steal from plague victims without getting the plague themselves! I’ll just put a drop or two in a glass of water up to 3 times a day if I feel I might be getting sick. There are some other essential oils also scientifically documented to be deadly to bacteria and viruses – oregano and thyme oils, for instance (be careful of essential oils from health food stores, however – I don’t recommend you waste your money on them).

A few years ago, I used a homeopathic flu remedy used widely (and quite successfully) in Europe, called Oscillococcinum. It must be taken at the very initial onset of symptoms. You find this at just about any health food store.

**UPDATE** -- Apparently, this homeopathy is not as effective against Swine Flu. You can get a special Swine Flu homeopathy from Dr. Gene Harkins with Salt Lake Homeopathy -- call 801-293-3456.

In conclusion, whatever you do to protect yourself and your family from the swine flu, or any other impending pandemic, I would advise you to not rely solely on the mainstream media for your information, just as I believe it to be wise to not put all your faith in “mainstream” medicine’s drug and vaccine-centered approach.

Haven’t you noticed that the people who get the flu shot seem to be the ones to always get the flu?

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