We’re on a roll…

Yesterday was an exciting day, not only did we receive our first 250 copies of the BrainBox manual but my Ebook version of Sticking Plasters for Children’s Souls became available for purchase on Amazon. If you do purchase a copy don’t forget to leave your comments please.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sticking-Plasters-Childrens-Souls-Emotional-ebook/dp/B00IRFE9SY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1393914881&sr=8-1&keywords=Sticking+plasters+for+children%27s+souls

image

We also added a paypal button to our BrainBox website so can start putting your orders in
http://thebrainbox.org.uk
The rest of the bits and pieces to complete the packs arrive on Thursday so we can start packing up and posting out on Friday. This has been a long time coming and many years hard work but knowing the difference it can make it has been worth every moment.
image

Now we have a new website to design, more booklets to finish off and I shall then get on with producing my ‘Get Control of Anger’ four week program.

So much to do but it is all very enjoyable and takes the focus off my current health issues.

Have a good day

Deborah x

Do you have a choice?

Last night I got thinking, always a dangerous thing especially when one has taken an extremely high dose of steroids, so I blame the drugs!

Many people I have spoken to recently, have told me about their lack of choices. How they feel trapped by their lifestyles. They appear to have painted themselves into a corner (imagine literally doing that) and there seems to be no way out.

So there they stand stuck, rooted to the spot with little or nowhere to move. What would you do if that were you? Stuck among a sea of wet sticky gloss paint with only a paintbrush in your hand. Could you work your way out?

image

I challenge you to think of a way. Perhaps you would need to just walk through it and get your feet wet? But think of the consequences to those glossy footprints spread around, others noticing the mess.

You get out but where do you go next? Now you have an un-painted corner, do you go back and finish it off when everything has dried out? Have you ever done this?  Was it as bad as you thought it might have been?

Perhaps, just perhaps it reveals something new. Maybe it exposes your ability to move on and become unstuck.  You might then have the power of knowledge that, it is, possible?

Hmm you see I have been thinking.

I really do appreciate my life and for that I am very grateful. Dare I say, that even includes my unstable health predicament. At this moment in time I really couldn’t be much happier, the only icing on the cake would be a cure for all cancers and I believe we are very close to reaching  that point.

Having cancer has shown me so much. I have learnt how much I am loved and that feels good. I have found true friendships, become even closer to my family and had my eyes open to the wealth of human spirit and generosity around me.

I must admit though a few weeks before Christmas, at a time when I was in remission and physically almost recovered from the last rounds of treatment, I was at my lowest point. I was clinically depressed. I couldn’t talk about it, there didn’t seem much point in that or anything else much. On the outside I bumbled along but inside I was flat, unmotivated. I started to shut the world out, you may have noticed my lack of blogs. Perhaps you thought this was a good sign? That I was getting on with enjoying life at a time I was physically able to do so. Planning a holiday abroad and organising a family Christmas. The worse of all I felt ashamed, I am or was Deborah Bone expert Mental Health Practitioner. I had the answers for good mental well being, but here I was locked in the dark hole and thinking that there really wasn’t a way out. I lost one of the things dearest to me, no longer able to practice as a qualified nurse, my identity had changed. No longer was I Deborah Bone, the Mental Health Nurse, I become Deborah Bone, you know the one with Cancer. Luckily for me I am no longer in that place. So what pulled me out and sent the black dog scarpering? I need a bit more time to think about that one so I will save it for another time. You lucky readers!

Back to choices. Having being diagnosed with what is described by some medics as a terminal illness (I know otherwise.) my choices seemed to be slipping away. My life has changed dramatically, but looking back I can’t say it’s all been so bad and at this moment in time life feels pretty good. I am doing I job I love again, working with my husband in a beautiful home surrounded by family who love me and true friends. I have enough money to buy fresh wholesome food and the time to prepare and cook it. I can stop in the day to visit a spa, have friends round for lunch, sit in my PJ’s and watch TV. I can decide to pick up my paints or make jewellery, I can take the dog out for fresh air, spend whole days with my grandson, infact do pretty much anything my heart desires. I consider that fairly lucky, don’t you?

So what stops you having some of this dream of a lifestyle?

Maybe you don’t have the same dreams for a start.

But so many times I hear people say that they have no choice. They have painted themselves into that corner and cannot see a way out, at least not without making a big mess of things. If you are one of these people just think for a moment if you did find a way what would it be like for you?

If your dream life were to start tomorrow morning, what would you be doing. Are many of you stuck already. I can almost hear some of you thinking, I would need to win the lottery. Now you are stuck because that bit is out of your control! What would the money bring you that you couldn’t find in another way?

I know the most lovely sensitive, kind charming guy. He represents lots of other people I have spoken to professionally and privately. He feels stuck in his corner. It’s not all bad in there he can temporarily swing from the chandelier now and again, but it always seems to end up with him falling back into that corner. I wonder what it would be like for him if one day he just walked through that wet paint and entered a different room on the other side. No painted floors, a blank canvas just waiting for that first brush stroke? A blank first page on the novel “My New Life” or the “The Day I got My Feet Wet”.image

Perhaps you will discover a new skill, make new connections, more money than ever before or realise you gain that most precious gift of all time. I can feel another book coming on.

In my story, my guy uses his talents and love for cooking to set up his own company catering for the rich and famous. Whist swinging from the chandelier he took a holiday to Italy and learnt from the great master chefs. He learnt how to source the finest ingredients and from a Sommelier about the perfect wines to accompany each corse. He became well known in his circle of old colleagues and new and old friends, and was in high demand. He learnt so much and taught so much to so many. He took control and it wasn’t nearly as messy as he feared it would be. He is the hero in my book which is going to become a best seller. All the proceeds are going to go back to my main character who inspired the book in the first place, but somehow I don’t think he will be needing it.

Call me a dreamer, I can take such a title and wear it with pride. If you don’t have a dream, how you going to have a dream come true. Oh dear, I feel a Miranda moment coming on and that will wake Colin up! I had better move on before I just can’t help myself.

image

Today I am off for a trim at the Cancer hair place and then out for lunch with a good friend. I can do that sort of thing now, I may even get my nails painted again. I will then get home and carry on with my most enjoyable work project.

If you find yourself stuck in any corners just dare to spend a few of your precious moments today thinking about taking another swing on that chandelier and imaging a house full of other blank walls just waiting for you.

Have a good day if your not too exhausted from reading all of the above.

Deborah xxx

This time a year ago…

..I would never imagined that today I would be attending my own retirement do. It really doesn’t seem that long ago that I strolled nervously, up to the front doors of Fairfield Hospital, to enquire about voluntary work within the old Victorian asylum. Never once have I regretted choosing this path.
image
Watching the recent programs coming from Bethlem Royal Hospital (Bedlam) , England’s first psychiatric hospital, brought back early memories of my training, work on the wards and visiting people’s homes as a community psychiatric nurse. Working for the NHS and particularly in the field of mental health, whether it be with children, adults or the elderly, has always been so rewarding and I have received so much more than I could have ever given.

Along the way I have experienced and learnt so much, but with mental health being such a large field, I have only really just scraped the surface. I am however very passionate about a few values and beliefs that I have collected over the last twenty plus years. These aren’t rocket science, and dear reader you may indeed disagree with some or all of them (which you have every right to do). Please excuse my boldness for sharing my top ten with you, if I haven’t already done so!

So here goes…

Deborah’s Top 10 pointers towards good mental health.

1) To improve someone else’s mental health, it is important, to first make sure you take good care of your own. That way you can act as a good role model.

2) It is important to talk about mental health. Mental health, is something we all strive for. Mental health is not mental illness. Nobody is mentally healthy all of the time. Its OK to talk about mental health and mental illness, it is part of life.

3) Time is the most precious of resources and the most valuable gift we can give to another human being.

4) The mind and body are part of the same system. It’s important to take good care of your brain. How many of you know what the brain needs in order to remain as heathy as possible? It has both physical and mental requirements. Think LAMBSS (see earlier posts)

5) How you think or feel on the inside or the way you act on the outside will have a direct effect on the other two. So changing how you think will in turn change the way you feel and behave. You can effect how this happens for someone else by being conscious about how you respond to them. Take for example, a simple smile, besides increasing your own serotonin levels, it can do the same for the receiver.

6) So once again (I think this one’s worth repeating), never underestimate the effects of what you do, think or feel and the effects it has on the physical body and mind. Just changing how you breathe, stand or think, changes your physiology and can reduce anxiety.

7) The world is not as it is, it is the way YOU perceive it, don’t presume other people perceive the world in the same way.

8) If we want to have mentally healthy children we need to start with mentally healthy adults. Working within children’s mental health means working with the whole family and system.

9) To have mentally health staff who are in the best possible place to care for patients, managers need to act as good role models and provide the same level of care and support as they would expect their staff to provide for their patients.

10) Nobody’s perfect, you won’t always get it right, it is often the mistakes that we make along the way that teaches us the greatest lessons. There is no such thing as failure only feedback.

For the last eight years, I have been working for Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, and I feel very grateful for the support and guidance the trust has given to me. The different managers, I have had along the way, were generous and trusting enough to give me the autonomy I needed to be creative. This allowed me the opportunity to start up the unique Step2, Early Intervention Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. Step2 is a credit to all the hardworking members of the team who together continue to stick by its principles of being, innovative, flexible, creative, accessible and empowering. Starting with practically a blank sheet and a PA with a wooden box for an office, we launched a conference that set the high standards we set out to deliver. When waiting lists grew we adapted and changed the way we worked, if one system didn’t work we tried another. With the foundations of strong theoretical knowledge, a wealth of skills and experience combined with a passion to make a real difference Stép2 does more than deliver a great service in a Hertfordshire. This last year hasn’t been the easiest, but the Step2 team has pulled together and supported each other and I for one couldn’t feel prouder of having had the privilege of working within such an amazing team of dedicated people. I have been fortunate enough to receive high praise and even awards for my own achievements, but Step2 has never been about me, it is about what can be achieved when a group of passionate caring people come together with a common goal and purpose and I have no doubt that their shared vision will continue for a long time yet to come.

So today may mark the end of one particular journey for me, but I don’t think you will have seen the last of me yet. I have a few more creative ideas up my sleeve and there is no way I am going to allow a touch of Myeloma keep me down.

I am looking forward to meeting up with colleagues old and new, at Starfish House today. I shall look on today as being a time to reflect with a sense of joy and pride and be thankful for having had the opportunity to have worked in a job that I loved.

Not everyone is that lucky.

Deborah xxx

Yesterday was..

…just another little reminder to make the best use of the good days and how grateful I am to be cared for by the amazing staff at the University College Hospital in a London. Luckily this time my recall back down to London, was a false alarm. I can definitely cope with false alarms, the alternative is far less appealing. One of Tuesdays blood tests had shown an increase in creatinine levels. This is an indicator as to how the kidneys are functioning and as with any changes in my blood, is taken very seriously in order to prevent organ damage. It was another reminder as to why I must drink a minimum of 4 lires of water a day, something I don’t find that easy. My bladder struggle’s and yesterday Colin had to pull off the motorway as I dashed into the Novotel to relieve myself again. Janet ( my guardian angel at UCLH) as promised, rang later in the afternoon informing me that Thursdays results were back to normal. So perhaps I just hadn’t drunk enough on Tuesday, that”ll teach me! One of the problems with Myeloma is you can never be quite sure what is going to happen next. Now I do like to think I am a pretty flexible kind of person that adapts well and indeed embraces change, but I am quite happy as far as my myeloma is concerned, that the situation stays as it is and that I remain in this state of remission whilst the cure (for I am sure it is out there) is waiting to be published.

Talking about being published I am very excited to be able to report that I have an article out in the latest edition of The Family Health Journal. This informative bi-monthly magazine is published by Pavilion Publishing and is free to all members of the School and Public Health Nurse Association (SAPHNA). It’s a peer reviewed journal for all community health professionals concerned with infants, children and young people – health visitors and their teams, midwives, school nurses, practice nurses, dietitians, practice teachers, tutors and students, as well as community paediatric nurses.

Take a look at the SAPHNA website link here: http://www.jfhc.co.uk/saphna/home.aspx
I would strongly recommend anybody working in the field to join SAPHNA, not only for keeping up to date with all the latest research and news but just look what else it has to offer.

For a £65(+VAT) annual joining fee, all members will receive:
• Subscription to The Journal of School and Public Health Nursing, six times per year
• Discounted delegate fee to the SAPHNA annual conference
• A dedicated enquiry and support line
• Free subscription to the Journal of Family Healthcare
• Bi-weekly email alerts
• Free admission to CPD accredited JFHC learning events
• Specially negotiated discounts for SAPHNA members from suppliers, publishers and conference

You won’t be alone, there are over 2.500 members who together play a key role in influencing government decision making and driving policies forward.

For those of you who haven’t already realised I am a big school nurse supporter. Back in 2005 when I joined Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust and was introduced to the service, it was clear to me what a wealth of skills, passion and knowledge this group of professionals had. The only problem I could see they had, was with their own modesty. They quietly went around delivering excellent and much needed services to children and their families often without other services really appreciating the scope of their abilities and the difference they were making on a daily basis. Recently we have seen, quite rightly, a push for more health visitors now it’s time that school nurses were put back on the map. It’s starting to happen with the help of SAPHNA and representatives from the Department of Health and I think we can look forward to further investment in the profession. This is excellent news for young people today who especially need more support than ever to manage the mental health and emotional challenges that today’s society brings with it. So if you are not already a member of SAPHNA I would subscribe now and watch this space!

Deborah x

Back to the BrainBox

I am having one of my early morning thoughts once again, perhaps this is a good sign as it reminds me of the old days pre myeloma.

A few days ago I watched another television programme on Obssessional Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This time the programme came from an internationally renowned treatment centre dealing with severe, complex and resistant OCD, based in London. On there was a young computer programmer with severe symptoms related to contamination. After weeks of intense therapy his improvement was evident but I couldn’t help wishing that I could have had the opportunity to share the BrainBox with him and the other patients on the unit. It seems such a missed opportunity to have this resource and for it not to be more widely available as I know the difference it can make. (See Feb 2nd post)

So I have been awake thinking since 3.30am about what else I can do about it. The conclusion I have come up with so far is to make a YouTube video of me demonstrating the resource. This may be enough to help lots of people out there understand more about how their brains work and to help them with a range of often very disabling symptoms.

Let me just recap what the BrainBox does.

Using recycled computer components it demonstrates how three different parts of the brain work.
1) the basic operating system represented by the motherboard
2) the emotional brain or Limbic system represented by the hard disc drive
3) the clever thinking part of the brain or the neocortex represented by the intel processor.

These three parts of the brain are linked together by neuro pathways represented by wires with crocodile clips on the end that can join the three parts together.

Once joined together information is flowing freely between the different parts of the BrainBox or brain.

Now bear in mind that the main job of the brain is too keep us alive. It is in charge of all other parts of the body. It is in the control seat.

We know from brain scans that information enters the brain through the emotional part (hard disc drive). This is extremely sensitive and designed to detect anything that the brain perceives as danger. If it does detect anything IT (rather than you) perceives is dangerous it can disconnect from the thinking part of the brain and immediately send messages to the basic operating system to get you out of that dangerous situation. At this moment in time we do not need our thinking brain to be in gear we just need to respond. The operating system will send chemical messages to the important parts of the body required for our survival. It will speed up our heart rate, increase our breathing and provide us with the adrenaline to run or fight. This is often referred to as the fight or flight response. Just imagine for a moment a lion came into the room or a tree was falling. This is not the time to be thinking about the sex of the lion or it’s country of origin. We don’t need to know about the type of tree falling, we just need to very quickly get out of the way or stand up and fight. Not that I recommend fighting with a lion or a tree for that matter.

Where things go wrong is when the brain is too sensitive, a bit like a car alarm going off when the wind blows. Severe anxiety or anger, times of heightened emotional arousal, will start this process off, disabling our thinking part of the brain and rendering us temporarily stupid. Luckily we can’t stay in this state for too long, as the brain knows this itself would be detrimental to our health.

I believe those suffering with OCD, among others, have exceptional brains that are just working too hard. At some point (which may be or may not be known ), the brain will have decided that a particular action, stimuli, external or internal thought is of severe danger. Often the sufferer, with the thinking part of the brain attached, will be able to understand how irrational this may be but the brain has been programmed so well into its own perception of danger that it will disconnect from that thinking making the person do whatever he or she needs to de to remain safe.

I believe once a greater understanding of this is achieved, and the BrainBox provides an excellent visual and kinaesthetic metaphor for this, then progress can be made very quickly.
Various strategies can be used to quickly reconnect the thinking part of the brain including breathing and visualisation techniques.

Can you think of any times when your thinking brain has disconnected? Perhaps you have become very angry and said things that later (when reconnected) you’ve regretted? Perhaps you have been anxious before an exam or job interview and your mind seems to have gone blank? All this is perfectly normal. Your brain has just detected something which it has perceived as being dangerous and done something about it. This might have included making you feel physically sick or unwell to get you out of the situation.

Sometimes the brain has just been wrongly programmed. It has learnt that something is very dangerous or required for its survival. This happens with phobias or addictions.
The BrainBox can help with understanding these programmes, that often cause severe difficulties both physically and mentally. Take smoking for example. Most addicted smokers know the risks but find it very hard to give up. Imagine the brain being so strongly programmed into thinking it needs nicotine for its survival. Your intentions to give up are great but once the nicotine levels in your body start to drop your brains alarm systems go off, you disconnect from your thinking part of the brain and reach out for the fag packet. Once your nicotine levels have risen you thinking brain reconnects and you are left wondering where your resolve to give up disappeared to.
The same thing can be said for sugar or alcohol cravings.

As soon as Colin wakes up I think I will explore how to put all this into a YouTube video. Remembering the starfish story, if I can make a difference to one person than that’s a worthwhile thing to do.

Have a good day

Deborah x

Using the power of visualisation.

photo
Living in our litte house under the dome I am again reminded how lucky we are to live in the house of our dreams, remembering well the days we spent visualising such a perfect home. Ok we don’t own it and the heating bills can be a bit steep but its our little place in paradise. I have also managed to visualise those annoying cancer rats into impotency as they fail to reproduce and cancer stays at bay. Meanwhile some very clever person or persons are sitting at home right now working out how to permanently castrate them. Could it be Jack, who by the age of 15 has already developed a test to early identify pancreatic cancer saving thousands of lives?
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57606995/boy-wonder-jack-andraka/

I can clearly see myself finishing my book on children’s mental health and the publishers letter of acceptance. What fun the book launch will be. 🙂

Such good times ahead but for now I shall just prepare for a meal out at an old friends house and thank the universe for being alive.

Deborah x

Important news…

…yesterday was the first time in the last six months or so, that I positively felt well. To tell the truth, I had forgotten what feeling well,actually felt like. It was on January 7th of this year that I received the call that turned my life upside down. Somewhat hesitantly, I was crawling towards my 50th birthday in a smouldering sort of fashion. However three days prior to my birthday, everything in my world started burning fierce fully as my latest blood results confirmed a diagnosis of Mutliple Myeloma. Instead of returning to the job I loved after the Christmas break, I was catapulted into a full time regime of hospital appointments. The bone biopsy that recorded the 80-90% cancerous cells in my bone marrow, triggered the gun to my own, personal Race for Life. This time, instead of joining my work colleagues in Regents Park, running and collecting money for cancer charities, I was the beneficiary. So just how did that happen? I was the girl who could make dreams come true, the one who focused her intentions on reaching for the sky and got there. Suddenly all my foundations came crumbling down and I found myself crawling among the rubble, scarcely seeing through the tears as the dust finally settled. Bad things happen to strong people, is the way I chose to reframe the catastrophe in front of me. If anyone could cope with this I could, but I must admit there have been days that I have doubted even my strongest beliefs. But here I am ready to rise from the ashes, ready to adorn my rose coloured spectacles with the Pollyannerish attitudes that have paved my path with gold. Welcome back Deborah, I thought I had nearly lost you for a moment there hidden beneath the piles of consent forms and GP letters. Welcome back to the dreamer whose dreams are a tad brighter than they ever were before. Thank you to the universe for showing me the darkness, so that I could recognise the bright lights and not be blinded by the glare. Get ready world because I am coming your way, stronger for the storm you sent to twist and turn furiously until the sunshine began to stream through the clouds of utter despair. My harvesting will reap the fruits of all of our efforts and my party will become the celebration of life.

Brace yourselves.

Today is going to be a good day a very good day !

Thank you for sticking by my side

Deborah xxxxx