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Saturday, 7 December 2013

My Diabetes - How I Became Interested in the Psychology And Physiology of My Hypos part 1

As a 12 year old, we had an interesting Religious Instruction teacher, who covered not only the biblical teachings, but if we were all attentive and behaved he'd spend some at the end of lessons on what we referred to as weird stuff.  Some Old Testament stories of Ezekiel and his description of the 4 propeller 'Lancaster Bomber' and other weird stories from the popular Astronauts from space guru Enrich Von Daniken. He also told us about dowsing and other old mystic type stuff and we'd bring and bend metal coat hangers and search for hidden copper coins in one of the 32 desks to learn how to dowse.  

He also told us about prophets and indian fakirs and ancient and modern mystics and yogi's. He also had a great old book on meditation and showed us pictures of a yogic masters sitting with his legs crossed balancing on their hands, controlling pain and various bodily functions and explain he warned that these took years to perfect, so don't try them at home.

After I discovered I was very good at finding copper coins in desks, a friend and I went to the library for books on yoga.  After some practise I learned to be able to slow my breathing and heart rate and being a thin child I could easily do the half and full lotus.  I discussed with friends how great it would be if you could learn to control things our bodies body and set about doing it, then some years later I discovered it was a new pseudo science called Bio Feedback.

Years on from this, I found a number of  articles in a number of hobby electronics magazines for Bio-Feedback machines and Galvanic Skin Response meters, so I built a couple.  Using the machine I quickly discovered that I actually could do what I thought I had done as a child, slow my heart and respiration, relax very quickly and deeply and the electronic gismos confirmed I was indeed popping in and out of relaxation at the drop of a hat.

So when I became diabetic whilst studying Behavioural Sciences degree, I knew physiological things were indeed happening to me and the effects on my body and from the psychological perspective also my mind. So I decided to become my very own lab rat. I also discovered there was a branch of Psychology that attempted to gain great insights not by doing experiments but by internal personal observation.  It had fallen into disrepute by being a sort of  'mystic' branch of psychology called Phenomenological Psychology.  

It was shunned about being 'mystic' because is a branch of psychology not based on external experiments (how I remember it) but on monitoring internal processes. i.e. how do I feel about this.  Now I had machine that could review my physiology and feelings, tastes, smells and behaviours I could comment on, so I set about using what tools and observations I could make to understand how my hypos affected me and how to prevent them from overwhelming me and rendering me unconscious.

And what an interesting journey it has been.


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