Smorgasbord Health Column – Inspirational Health Stories – Life Lessons on the Importance of Slow by Brigid Gallagher

I have written about health for over twenty years and, like most of you reading this, have had my issues, thankfully behind me. It is one thing to write dispassionately about a condition from a factual perspective, but quite another to write about your own personal experience.

This new series is about inspiring others. Yes the facts of a disease are very important, but most who suffer from chronic illness or life changing or threatening disease or traumas, need to know that there is hope, light at the end of the tunnel. That feeling of being alone with the fear and the effects of a health problem is a stress that does not help recovery.

Can you share your story of a health challenge in such as way as to inspire, motivate and encourage others. Perhaps beating cancer, managing life with a neural or physical disability, recovering from trauma. Can you share your strategies for coping and surviving, how others supported and kept you strong, the symptoms to be aware of for others? Contact me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com

This week Brigid Gallagher shares her story and inspires with her strategies to make positive steps towards recovery.

Life Lessons on the Importance of Slow by Brigid Gallagher

Rob Williams Rev1Front

Busy as a Bee

I come from a long line of busy people; both my parents worked extremely hard to provide for our family. The first forty years of my life embraced their hard work ethic, but after my father’s untimely death in 1995, I took the decision to leave my busy natural medicines practise behind and move to the home of my ancestors in Donegal, Ireland.

I have never regretted this decision.

Slowing Down

The slower pace of life suited me well, and I built up a small but successful healing and teaching business over a period of four years. One of my long held dreams was to travel to India, and it became a reality in early 2003, when I spent six weeks on a spiritual pilgrimage.

Sadly, five months later I developed a series of frightening symptoms in the aftermath of a raging bog fire which had circled my home. Fire is often viewed as a cleanser that paves the way for new growth…

Stopping the World

The first sign of imbalance was an ache in the upper part of my left arm. Several days later this developed into severe shortness of breath, accompanied by pressure on my chest.

Further symptoms were soon added to the list:

  • Swollen lymph glands in my left armpit
  • Inability to lift my left arm above 90 degrees
  • Swelling in the middle fingers of my left arm
  • Multiple joint pains like hot knives
  • Difficulty in keeping warm
  • Aching over my left shoulder
  • Aching eyes and whites that turned bluish grey
  • Insomnia…

All investigations proved negative, bar lung function tests which showed my left lung was not inflating properly, and my lungs were working at 70% capacity.

In 2010, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that affects millions of people around the globe. The majority of them are women. As yet, there is no cure.

I was unable to work for more than a year, and I had to face one of my deepest fears – lack of financial resources. It was incredibly tough having to rely on benefits but I had no choice.

Facing these fears brought a remarkable change on my outlook on LIFE.

Instead of spending my days inspiring others on their self healing journey, I had to focus on my own inner healing.

Thus I finally learned to SLOW DOWN.

One night I had a dream of rebuilding a house with new stronger foundations, and I felt reassured that I was making good progress.

I found that keeping a gratitude diary helped me enormously.

Small steps in my healing progress were included, as well as simple JOYS that filled my day:

  • MEDITATIVE WALKS
  • ENJOYING NATURE – one highlight was watching the birth of a neighbour’s calf
  • LIGHT BULB MOMENTS – recognizing a new INSIGHT on my self healing journey
  • CREATIVITY – joining a local singing class and a creative writing class
  • POTTERING IN MY GARDEN

My natural medicines toolbox helped me enormously as I tweaked my diet, benefited from treatments of both reflexology and massage, practised daily meditation and visualisation…

Life in the Slow Lane

In April 2006, I moved to a new home that had once belonged to a keen gardener. I had always enjoyed gardening and felt the spirit of the previous owner inspiring me to travel in a new direction.

A few weeks later, I inquired about retraining in organic horticulture a short distance way.

Fast forward to June 2006, and I was working and studying part time, earning a wage and forging a new career that eventually led to my teaching in schools and inspiring children to create organic wildlife gardens.

A photograph of part of Brigid’s beautiful garden that I borrowed from her blog.

Here are some of the strategies that Brigid developed to help her live with fibromyalgia:

Reassessing My Values

Illness forced me to reassess my values. Health is now my number one priority, before career, relationships, finances and all else.

I’ve developed a habit of asking myself ” Will this be beneficial to my health and well being?

If not, it is not for me.

Practising Gratitude

I have kept a gratitude journal for many years, and it has helped me appreciate the good times and the not so good.

I am blessed with a warm home, running water, fresh air, food to eat, great family and friends, time in Nature, beautiful sunsets and daily miracles.

Try keeping a diary of the blessings in your life for one month, and notice any changes in your perception of life.

Learning to be proactive

A wealth of information is available online for specific health conditions. Joining a support group will invite new friendships from others who understand the challenges of your medical condition. You can then exchange tips on self help techniques and coping mechanisms.

Cultivate a Good Relationship with your Medical Team

Writing down a list of questions before visits to your doctor or consultant will ensure more positive outcomes.

I have copies of all my medical records, including blood tests, X-rays and other investigations. This keeps me informed of my progress, and allows me to remain proactive in any treatment plan.

Natural Medicines

Reflexology, Massage, Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine have all helped ease my symptoms. As a result, I no longer need pain medication.

Several natural medicines are now available through private health insurance, and some are integrated within the healthcare system. Please consult with your doctor or medical consultant about a possible treatment plan.

You can find more at this link: https://watchingthedaisies.com/2017/07/14/10-tips-for-living-with-fibromyalgia-or-another-life-changing-illness/

©Brigid Gallagher 2017.

My thanks to Brigid for sharing her story and her inspiring embracing of change to improve her health.

About the book

Millions of people around the world suffer from fibromyalgia; the majority of them are women. As yet, there is no cure.

In this memoir, Brigid P. Gallagher shares her experiences on:

  • The busy life she followed before succumbing to this debilitating disease
  • Stopping and soul searching for answers to her vast array of symptoms
  • Entering a new life of SLOW

Drawing on her knowledge and experience as a Natural Medicines therapist, she seeks out therapies to aid her healing and integrates a variety of self help techniques and lifestyle changes. She also unearths a love of solo travel including Egypt, India, Rome, Lourdes, Carcassonne and Bali…

Brigid learns many insights about LIFE on her journey, the most valuable being: “First learn to love thyself.”

In 2006, she began a new career in Organic Horticulture eventually teaching part time in schools. Although she has now retired from teaching, she continues to pursue her lifelong passion for gardening and watching the daisies.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Brigid P. Gallagher’s ‘Watching the Daisies’ is not only an armchair traveller’s dream, it is also a mine of information for anybody suffering from symptoms of fibromyalgia; fatigue, aches and pains, and irritable bowel problems in particular. Brigid is also fortunate enough to have a kind of sixth sense and can tell if people are ill or healthy by the colours of auras around them. She is also an expert on natural medicines and horticulture.

I enjoyed reading about Brigid’s solo travelling adventures abroad (she is a very intrepid, brave lady), though did wonder if too many unfamiliar foodstuffs were causing the irritable bowel symptoms! This book shows the reader how to be pro-active in coping with fibromyalgia and also how acceptance of your condition goes some way to finding inner peace.

I’m about the same age as Brigid, and also enjoyed the descriptions of various concerts she attended, especially of Tom Jones and in particular Thin Lizzy, one of my all-time favourite rock bands.

Good health to you Bridgid, and thank you for writing such a delightful memoir, although I would have preferred a few less exclamation marks.

I’m about the same age as Brigid, and also enjoyed the descriptions of various concerts she attended, especially of Tom Jones and in particular Thin Lizzy, one of my all-time favourite rock bands.

Good health to you Bridgid, and thank you for writing such a delightful memoir.

Read the rest of the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Watching-Daisies-Life-Lessons-Importance-ebook/dp/B01N3M9VJ0

and more reviews at Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Brigid-P-Gallagher/e/B01N8UCYYD

Read more reviews and follow Brigid on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16119226.Brigid_P_Gallagher

 

About Brigid P. Gallagher

Brigid P. Gallagher aspired to becoming a doctor but God had other plans!

Instead, she spent thirteen years in the life assurance industry, including Actuarial and Life Underwriting departments, before following her heart and training as a Natural Medicines therapist.

Brigid trained in colour and crystal healing, aromatherapy, reflexology, nutritional medicine, flower essences, electro – crystal healing, radionics and E.F.T. or Emotional Freedom Technique.

She practised and taught Natural Medicines for 20 years, teaching at Stirling University’s Open Studies and Summer Schools from 1993 to 1999, setting up the Scottish School of Holistic Healing plus a therapy centre and shop in Stirling, Scotland.

In 1999, she relocated to Donegal, Ireland the home of her ancestors. Four years later, she succumbed to a mystery illness which was eventually diagnosed as fibromyalgia and possible rheumatoid arthritis.

Stopping the World for 2 years, forced Brigid to reassess her life, and thus she began retraining in Organic Horticulture. She taught this subject in schools part time until early 2016.

Her garden was featured in the Donegal Garden Trail in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Brigid continues her lifelong passion for gardening, singing and writing in her new life of SLOW.

Connect to Brigid

Blog: https://watchingthedaisies.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brigid.gallagher.90
Twitter: https://twitter.com/watchingthedai1

My thanks again to Brigid for sharing this inspiring story and we would both enjoy your feedback. If you have a story to tell about your own health that could inspire others, then please email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com

13 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Health Column – Inspirational Health Stories – Life Lessons on the Importance of Slow by Brigid Gallagher

  1. Pingback: Smorgasbord Health: Inspirational Health Stories – The Militant Negro™

  2. The timing of reading this blog post is terrific. My sweetheart and I both have recently received some challenging health feedback from a new doctor (our beloved family practitioner retired last year…) Thank you for sharing some of what you have learned about health as you have lived your life here on planet earth, Brigid. And thank you for being a portal to share so many people’s writing/thinking, Sally.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A wonderful post from Brigid. I’ve found that slowing down actually slows down time too! It seems like it should work the opposite of that way, but honestly, my slowest days are my longest… in a good way! Wonderful breakdown of the physical, mental and spiritual benefits. Have a wonderfully slow day, Brigid and Sally. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Madonna, Hot Cross Buns, Chicken Poop and Houston 1985 | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

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