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Positive Thinking, The Secret, Huna....

Discussion in 'Spirituality and ME/CFS' started by Joyful Lady, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. PhoenixDown

    PhoenixDown Senior Member

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    Look I appreciate input from people with opposing points of view but now you're just blaming victims of illness for refusing decide to not have an illness as if they could just will part or all of it away. Please spare me the "victim card" rhetoric, it's quite worn out and belongs in a museum along with the biopsychosocial model & every doctor who thinks we're merely enjoying the sick role.

    It's not that I can't get better before they find a cure, it's that I can't get better without treatments and tests that are withheld thanks to people who share your attitude, it's that my family think I'm delusional and that my suffering does not exist and therefore refuse to help me or even make life worse for me, thanks to people who share your attitude. Between now and a cure being found, we need social support, housing modification or relocation, tests that aren't on the doctor's standard list, symptoms to be acknowledge, and a general change in public opinion.

    If you're right about one thing, it's that people's minds have been poisoned, but it's not our minds, it's the people who have been fooled in to believing pseudo-scientific ideas about what our illness is, what makes it worse, and what makes it better.
    Dreambirdie, Wayne, Mr. Cat and 3 others like this.
  2. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Hi Joyful Lady. First, our thoughts aren't waves. A wave analogy is too vague to discuss brain function. It is correct though that that many brain models do show that an activation of one brain state can counter or reinforce another.

    Second, the philosophy you expressed in post 177 is classic CBT. Were you aware of that? Many of us have done this and achieved no or minimal benefit. Some number of us have done something similar, again a positive thinking kind of thing, and have got no better or worse. Some have benefited also. The data for ME does not match the claims made about thought restructuring. Bye, Alex
    Valentijn likes this.
  3. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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    I'm POSITIVE that my thinking skills will NOT influence my recovery to the extent that I will be cured or see a lot of improvement.

    There have been other studies that show that positive thinking will not cure cancer nor other chronic diseases. It may help somewhat as anything that lifts our mood or relaxes the body will make anyone feel better but that's also true whether you are sick or not. If it does have any affect, it's certainly a short term treatment for a long term problem and it's at the bottom of the pile as far as treatments are concerned.

    I once asked an oncologist, if he thought positive thoughts influenced the progression or prolong survival of his patients. He replied that it's probably the other way around. How his patients feel is probably more of a reflection of how sick you are.

    Believe me if only my thoughts could help this condition, I would have been cured a long time ago!!
    Valentijn likes this.
  4. Dainty

    Dainty Senior Member

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    This.

    Joyful Lady, lets say - just for a moment - that genuine positive thinking and feeling results in a healing process effective for many ills.

    By "genuine" I meant that you aren't forcing it on yourself, you aren't blocking yourself off from any other thoughts or feelings, and you can maintain it even while resting/relaxed.

    Do you really expect a severely ill person living with extreme physical discomfort and bereft of emotional and medical support to be able to do that?

    ...or are we only talking about the kind of positive thinking that your force on yourself and "fake it 'till you make it"?
  5. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    One of the huge issues against positive thinking is catastrophic injury. If positive thinking led to healing, then people with missing limbs would regrow them. There is a probably spectrum of issues that cannot be helped, to those that can be helped somewhat. If positive thinking leads to less cortisol/adrenaline that will have some impact, for some conditions. Its not an argument for the universal adoption of positive thinking though. Positive thinking is a philosophy not a science - more akin to religion than rational thinking.

    I do think positive thinking can benefit coping skills provided it remains rational.

    Bye, Alex
  6. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Lots of people can be crazily committed to positive thinking without believing it has that sort of power though. People can just come up with arbitrary limits to what it can do, or take the Santa Clause approach: if I believe, I might get a present, so I'll believe.
    alex3619 likes this.
  7. allyann

    allyann Senior Member

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    I was only thinking of starting a thread on Positive Thinking in the religion/spirituality section of this forum yesterday and today I see it as a 'subtopic' of this thread. I will start the thread as I think the harms (as has happened to me) from this type of thinking need to be explored. I put so much undue pressure on myself to heal myself I actually was doing the opposite.
  8. Whit

    Whit Senior Member

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    Bad things happen to good people. That's just a fact of life. That goes for external factors and internal factors. Bob Marley was one of the most positive people I can think of. He died of health complications. With a positive attitude. There are countless incredible people who have died either from sickness or from "bad luck".

    Good things also happen to very bad people. You know how many people are incredibly angry, negative, don't know themselves at all, are very uneducated and unaware, and also very healthy? A lot!

    The it's all in your mind thing is honestly a form of Nihilism even if it does have a positive twist. And it just doesn't hold up when you look at the evidence in the world. Your attitude does have an effect. The mind is very powerful. But blaming sick people for having a bad attitude is taking it too far. There are also forces beyond our control.

    Something else worth mentioning is that being able to affect the world or yourself with your mind is incredibly difficult and is not something you do after reading some new age book and after an entire life of unhealthy habits, just start "thinking happy". Sure, that's a great start, but the only people I know who are actually able to control their bodies and the world with their minds are Buddhist monks who have spent their entire lives training their minds, and were also born very gifted. And there are very few that experienced left since China devastated Tibet.

    So paying attention to the direction your mind is leading you is good, and something I practice every day. But it's not fair or accurate to tell sick people it's all their fault.

    edit: one more thing that came to me is that compassion is a powerful force as well. And someone extolling the power of the mind while ignorantly and hurtfully judging sick people ought to take a look at their own attitude and learn to have some compassion.
    Wayne and Marlène like this.
  9. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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    This book is an interesting take on positive thinking by author Barbara Ehrenreich who developed breast cancer.
    Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America
    ETA I didn't realize that so many had replied in the posts above, so I may have repeated what other's have said. Maybe this should be a thread of it's own, as I think the issue of positive thinking while related to this thread it's not directly addressing the issues of the article being critiqued.
    camas and L'engle like this.
  10. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    I've seen people take this approach on another ME forum, and it was sickening to watch:

    A mother taking her 12 or 14 year old son to 2 weeks of inpatient treatment at a hospital clinic where ME is seen as psychological. She documented how badly his condition declined and that she wouldn't help him while visiting, until "god" eventually intervened and the boy was able to go to the bathroom again.

    A woman convincing herself that she wasn't ill, and talking about how she kept relapsing with classic PEM/PENE symptoms but would continue to blame it on anything else. She saw herself as cured and kept pushing herself, yet she still had the flu constantly, or the weather was causing her problems, etc. Anything to avoid reality.

    It's a highly destructive form of mental illness, and it's being created by psychologists and new age "gurus" looking to carve out their own piece of territory and/or make some easy money. It's twisted and perverse, and I think anyone disseminating that sort of harmful message to very ill people has serious issues themselves that they need to address.
  11. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Hi Valentijn, there is a classic case I keep reading about, which I is presume is accurate, of a man cured of ME by the Lightning Process. He had a severe relapse and was hospitalized. The doctors couldn't understand why he insisted he was well and nothing was wrong with him. Eventually that had to get someone in to have him psychologically deprogrammed. It was as though he had been brainwashed by a cult.

    When we want so much to be better, and are willing to try anything that sounds like it has half a chance, its easy to over-commit to something like the LP and do yourself harm. If it becomes akin to religious zealotry, its dangerous.

    Bye, Alex
    Wayne and Valentijn like this.
  12. Sean

    Sean Senior Member

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    In my inexpert, subjective, citation-free opinion, the 'optimism ideology' is a dangerous delusion, and believing in it amounts to little more than the inability to grow up and stop pining for unicorns, magic puddings, and eternal romantic bliss.
    Wayne, penny, L'engle and 1 other person like this.
  13. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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    I don't think we can just blame the psychology/psychiatric movement. There are quacks out there like Phil Parker, Tony Robbins, the author of The Secret, Amygdala Retraining, and yes, even Oprah. etc. etc. who contribute to this type of thinkspeak.

    The self help movement is a 10 billion dollar industry. (I will add citation)

    Barb C.:>)
  14. allyann

    allyann Senior Member

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    Whether you call it Positive Thinking, The Secret, Huna or the many other new age name given to the power of positive thought, I have some fundamental issues with the claims that this philosophy will cure serious illness.

    I have always been a spiritual person and when I got sick I started to look for answers on the spiritual side. I studied many different things from tarot and crystal ball reading, crystals, mediumship, lomi lomi massage and Hawaiian traditional shamanism (which teachings I have since found out are not traditional Hawaiian teachings).

    The more I learnt the more I came across this teaching that thoughts create your destiny and you are your thoughts. That negative thoughts and experiences become trapped in your body and cause illness.

    So I went on a crusade to change the way I thought, examine the things that have happened to me in the past, practise forgiveness to all who have wronged me and to find what was causing my illness.

    Several years later, many dollars have been spent investigating therapies to help me uncover these trapped thoughts and experiences and I am no better. In fact I am a lot worse due to the stress that I have put myself through blaming myself for getting sick.

    One of my so called spiritual advisers wrote an article that really opened my eyes to the ego trip some of these self proclaimed experts are on and how dangerous there teachings can be. What was even sadder was that she had known me and treated me for a number of years:

    20 some years ago when I was doing my psychotherapy post-grad, Chonic Fatigue was becoming the diagnosis of choice in the medical profession. The medical name for CFS is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis – M.E. In psychotherapy and metaphysical realms this was ME- Many Excuses. ​

    I’m simply using this by way of example, so don’t shoot the messenger. My question to anyone with this as with any ‘condition’ is to ask yourself WIIFM. -what’s in it for me? Ie what are the benefits of having this condition. Be honest with yourself.​

    Some of you recently had the profound honour of hearing someone speak of their 20 plus year journey of Living with HIV. Is she someone who could have had Many Excuses to be a victim and blame, you bet. Does she, absolutely not. ​

    Does she do ho’oponopono every day? Sure does. Does she choose to get out of bed every morning and fuel her kino and mana’o with positive, healthy food and and thoughts, again sure does. Is she still alive today because of these choices- absolutely.​

    I recently had the honour of having another new client come to me via something that was a very sad and profound event in her life. She is someone who also inspires me with hope for the planet. She hasn’t done any ‘formal’ spiritual training, however each session she has asked me for some techniques she can do herself, to help heal and release the grief and other emotions. She does what I share diligently with her meditation, ho’oponopono and way she views things and the shift in her energy is a joy to witness. She’s doing the hana and making the choices to kala (release) and heal, and not doing M.E.​

    This woman believes that ME is a choice. Why and how would anyone ever choose to have ME. I hate that I cannot get out and walk for the hours I use to or read more that a page of a book at a time. I use to love my job writing software. Now I struggle to work out basic things like email.

    While I do think that you need to stay positive, especially with this horrendous illness, I do not believe I can do anything more that what I am doing to heal myself or that I can choose not to have this illness.

    Allie
  15. Jacque

    Jacque Senior Member

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    Amen to that Phoenix Down!!!
  16. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    I wonder if its possible to live in positive energy if you project negative energy onto others by presuming they are harming themselves based only on suspicion or belief structure?
    madietodd, allyann and justy like this.
  17. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    Please remember that animals get cancer and other severe diseases and die as a result.

    Yet they cannot have "negative" thoughts to make themselves ill with, and in the case of dogs, are more relentlessly "positive" than any human being could be.

    If illness is the result of mental attitudes, why do animals get cancer?
  18. Tito

    Tito Senior Member

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    I read "smile or die: how positive thinking fooled America and the rest of the world". It explains where it comes from and how destructive positive thinking can be. I would recommend it. It's a book you can read in many small fragments if you are too unwell. You will also realise how anglo-saxon it is and the impact it has on medicine compared to the approach followed in continental Europe for example.
    warriorseekspeace and allyann like this.
  19. camas

    camas Senior Member

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    Two more good books are Illness as Metaphor by Susan Sontang and Bright-sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America by Barbara Ehrenreich. Both books came out of their experiences with cancer.

    ETA: It appears that Smile or Die is the U.K. title for Bright-sided. So it gets two recommendations!
    Dreambirdie, L'engle and allyann like this.
  20. Jacque

    Jacque Senior Member

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    Oh WAIT...I think I figured out why human infants are born with Tumors and horrible disease and linger for months/years before dying...or children end up with horrible cancers and endure chemo etc!! They were NEGATIVE thinkers in a PAST LIFE!!! Wow it is all making sense to me now!!!!!!!!:mad:
    IreneF, camas, Tito and 2 others like this.

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