Four out of Four Stars for Online Book Club
I received a free copy of this book for review purposes.
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As I explain in my Online Book Club review, this book does not fall into the category of mysticism or metaphysics. Although the author occasionally suggests what might be interpreted as prayer, the techniques outlined in Happy Healing are self-hypnosis. Self-hypnosis is not a new treatment, but the approaches offered in the book are novel.
In my review, I offer a story of how the techniques in Happy Healing helped me come to peace with the injury which led to my being unable to continue working at my job delivering groceries and alcoholic beverages.
Two years ago, I worked for a company called GoPuff, which is a subsidiary of GrubHub. I advise that no-one work for any subsidiary of GrubHub because they do not care one iota about the well-being of either their employees or their contractors. They never had enough drivers on the schedule on weekend nights. They would have four managers in the warehouse. Three of the managers would switch over to driving, leaving one manager running around like a chicken with her head cut off. I have nothing bad to say about any of the onsite managers. They worked very hard. GrubHub, however, gets no love from me.
I started feeling tingling in my left hand, which I ignored. I was carrying very heavy loads, sometimes over distances of several blocks because the deliveries were often in the middle of downtown Denver and there was no place to park, sometimes up several flights of stairs in buildings where there were no elevators. One time I almost fell through a porch that had rotting wood. Many times, the stoners who would order from us wouldn't answer the door. After pounding on the door for several minutes, I would call the warehouse and the manager would call the customer. There were times when the manager couldn't reach the customer either. I liked those customers better than the ones who would cuss me out because the delivery was made several hours after they ordered it and GrubHub customer service couldn't be bothered to call and tell them it was going to be late.
There was no interim "this is getting worse" with my arm. It went from numbness and tingling in my hand to unbearable pain from shoulder to fingertips. At that point, I had no insurance. I had to quit working so I could get Medicaid back. I couldn't sit up for more than about 45 minutes before the pain in the arm became unbearable and I had to lie down on it to numb it. I have lived most of my life with chronic widespread low-grade to mid-grade pain due to fibromyalgia. Chronic severe pain is a different animal entirely. There were times when I very seriously considered suicide because the pain was so intense. I forced myself to wait until I had Medicaid so I could get physical therapy.
Although I was already sympathetic, I came to a personal realization of exactly how people in chronic pain become addicted to painkillers. When you are in chronic intense pain, the thing you want most is for the pain to stop, and you will do anything to achieve that. If you have never endured intense pain, imagine that someone was whacking your arm repeatedly with a hammer--hard. That's what chronic intense pain is like. Sufferers of chronic intense pain just want relief. How anyone can fail to understand that very simple idea is beyond me. Sanctimoniousness never helped anyone.
Back to my story. The physical therapy helped greatly. My arm went from being in constant severe pain to constant mid-grade pain with flares of severe pain to constant low-grade pain with flares of mid-grade pain to feeling like a lump of clay with flares of low-grade to mid-grade pain. Unfortunately, Medicaid only pays for twelve sessions of physical therapy per injury, so that was where things leveled out, and I was very grateful. Over time, the arm regained enough sensation that it no longer feels like a lump of clay. It is always slightly numb and I do not have a full range of motion in the shoulder area, but it is a vast improvement over being in constant intense pain which makes me consider suicide.
One of the exercises presented in Happy Healing involves giving the body part in pain a name and "talking" to that part. I named my arm Amelia. As I talked to Amelia, I realized that I was still angry with her for betraying me and making it so that I couldn't work physically demanding jobs such as delivering packages anymore. I also realized that Amelia had been trying to warn me that something was going wrong, and I ignored her to my detriment. I apologized to Amelia for blaming her for what happened and promised to listen to her (and the rest of my body) in the future.
As a result of reading and engaging in the exercises outlined in Happy Healing, I have a truce with my body and am no longer as prone to pushing myself to the point of collapse or injury. I appreciate this book and think that it was useful and helpful. The author's approach may seem a bit "goofy" to the more skeptical sorts, but I recommend trying the exercises. I didn't really think I'd get much from them when I started reading the book, but they turned out to be surprisingly beneficial.
~Cie the Ornery Old Lady~
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