I’m a huge sceptic. I don’t believe in aromatherapy, reflexology or homeopathy. I find myself bewildered by the stupidity of people who make major life decisions based on their horoscopes, when I don’t even know my children’s star signs. I take all dietary advice with a pinch of salt, and I switch off Most Haunted because I don’t have the patience to watch gullible people working themselves into a state of panic in a dark room.
So, naturally, I was more than a little dubious when I researched LawCare’s information pack on stress and discovered the list of illnesses which can allegedly be caused by stress. Headaches I’ll accept, maybe even high blood pressure and heart disease, but paralysis and cancer – give me a break. And surely colds and flu are caused by viruses, not a hard day at work? And muscle strain is caused by, well, straining muscles.
But I have changed my mind about stress related illnesses, and my left elbow is the reason.
Fifteen years ago my sister experienced some stiffness and pain in her left elbow. Various medical investigations showed it to be a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer. She had a major operation and treatment, and is one of the lucky 5% to have survived that particular cancer. Eighteen months ago I started to experience similar pain and stiffness in my left elbow. Naturally I was concerned that my sister’s cancer had a genetic link, but my doctor seemed to think little of it and prescribed a gel to rub on, which made little difference.
For several weeks I worried about my increasingly painful elbow. Well, I did when I had time. I have a pretty busy life, and in between working, raising my young family, trying to keep on top of the housework, cooking and laundry, running a youth group and staying up late at night writing novels there wasn’t much time to feel sorry for myself. Then we flew to Florida for a much-needed family holiday, and only a week into the trip I realised that my elbow no longer hurt.
Discovering that my elbow pain was stress related has led me to accept that there could indeed be some strange and mysterious relationship between a whole variety of symptoms and our own feelings of being under pressure. And that’s partly why it’s so important that we address stress, manage and control it, and learn to deal with it before it does lead to something more unpleasant and permanent. And that’s why LawCare is here for lawyers.
But I’m still unconvinced about homeopathy et al.
LawCare’s free and confidential helpline is available 9-7.30 Monday-Friday, 10-4 weekends, on:
0800 279 6888 (Solicitors, Law Students and Legal Executives in England and Wales)
0800 279 6869 (Solicitors, Advocates and Law Students in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man)
0800 018 4299 (Barristers, Clerks and Judges in England and Wales)
1800 991801 (Solicitors in the Republic of Ireland)
18o0 303145 (Barriters in the Republic of Ireland)