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Olwen Anderson's Blog

Stories of Hope And Guidance

Saturday, July 14, 2018
If only it were a dream. Suddenly, you’re in this strange new landscape, feeling lost. You really just want to get home, to your usual life. If only a guide who has been here before would take your hand and lead you home. 

When you’ve had an accident, or a sudden troubling diagnosis, life might feel something like this. What used to be the familiar comforting landscape of your life has suddenly shifted to a place you don’t recognise. Maybe you’ve just woken up in hospital surrounded by beeping machines and people with clipboards using complicated words. Or you’ve just left the medical centre clutching the paper detailing your life-changing diagnosis. Either way, it’s like you’re in a bad dream. So, where’s the guide? How can you lose this sense of overwhelm and regain a sense of control?

Mercifully, no matter what your ailment, it’s likely someone else has experienced a very similar situation to what you’re facing. And they’ve taken the time to write down their journey. A librarian might call this kind of book a health biography. They can easily help you find those stories amongst the shelves because there are so many of them.

Some of these people might never have written a book before. But they’ve sat in many waiting rooms, fielded both useful and unhelpful advice, experienced the frustration of blind alleys when treatment didn’t work, and eventually worked out the treatment right for them.  Not only can they alert you to potential pitfalls in treatment, they can reassure you that there is a way through this.

As you read, you’ll likely learn about many other treatments that you might not have known existed. After all, there are a multitude of different ways to address any particular health problem. But each practitioner you’ve met in your journey so far might only be aware of a handful of other methods.

Before you head over to the library, though, keep one point in mind: Books are not ‘peer reviewed’ texts, and as occasional publishing scandals demonstrate (think Belle Gibson) it’s possible to put anything into print – factual or otherwise. So when you come across a potential solution that your biographer has suggested, do your research and check the facts. The library can help here, too.

You might find that through reading the stories of those who have travelled this landscape before you, you can find your way home.

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Olwen Anderson @olwenanderson


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