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Chronic Illness Q&A with Dr. B.

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

This question & answer column is for people living with chronic health challenges and their family caregivers, who want to learn to increase the odds of improving their health by learning to live with mastery & wellbeing.

I invite you to post your questions in the comments box below. When I get a certain number of related questions, I pick one that covers them all and I answer that one.

I post to this blog three times per week. Monday posts are relevant published articles. Wednesday posts are interviews—mostly video. Friday posts consist of questions about living better with chronic health challenges, and my answers to them.

Here is this week’s question:

THIS WEEK’S QUESTION:  In your book—In Your Own Hands, you have a chapter called: Do Something Different. How have you applied that in your own life?

ANSWER:   I have applied this concept in many ways in my own life. Whenever anything at all stops producing my desired result, I explore what I can possibly change. Sometimes, it’s quite a challenge!

For example, I used to use coffee to cure my headaches. The caffeine in the coffee used to reduce the vasodilation that caused the headaches. In addition to eliminating the type of headache I get, the caffeine also simultaneously eliminated my fatigue. And I loved being able to have a big mug of delicious coffee whenever I got a headache.

Unfortunately, I eventually started getting bounce-back headaches whenever I treated myself with coffee. Therefore, I was forced to find a new remedy.  Quite often, various treatments that previously proved efficacious stop working due to changes in our physiology.

Here’s another example from my life. Almost twenty years ago I discovered that the then newly introduced elliptical cross-trainer allowed me to get a workout despite my arthritis. However, in the last six months, I have discovered that after all these years, the elliptical cross- trainer is now harming one of my knees. I now face the challenge again of looking for some different way to get a workout.  I had to quit running in 1988 and very reluctantly switched to swimming; then, in the mid-90s, worsened arthritis necessitated switching from swimming to the elliptical.  Now, I need to do something different again.

The point is that self-efficacy includes continually adapting to changes. This is the path to mastery and wellbeing as well as psychological flexibility.

This website is offered as a free public service, supplying information that has been found helpful to certain people living with chronic health challenges. No treatment is offered on this website. The advice is general, and may or may not apply to your individual situation, and is not a substitute for psychotherapy or medical treatment.

What questions do you have about how to live better with chronic health challenges that are related to the relationship between states of mind and health? 

Just scroll down and type your question in the comment box. I will post a reply to your comment, but your question may not appear in this column. 

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