Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.
Today, I was telling someone how I followed a hunch, an educated guess, many years ago and it worked. Truly, what is not good for most of us may do somebody some good in this case.
There was this dear older man who was prematurely mourning the impending death of his wife, who was deteriorating fast with Huntington's chorea. This illness destroys the nerves and the muscles twitch; there's constant movement and weight loss and gradually loss of ability to control the body. That's simplified. The wife was skinny and very depressed. She refused to get off the couch. He didn't want her to lose out on the last year of life by doing nothing and hoped I could offer some therapy. However, I found her despair totally understandable and her state of mind sound considering the situation. She was undergoing profound grief herself.
On a hunch, based on some elementary college physiology in which I had learned that our nerves need to be lined with fat in order to function properly, I suggested a high fat diet. Certainly, the risk of heart disease and cancer over time didn't seem to be of issue. Of course, I'm not a nutritionist or M.D., so I checked with her physician first.
It worked! Eating pie, ice cream, muffins, liverwurst, bologna, etc. calmed down this woman's twitching and movement. She stopped losing weight and started feeling better. Pretty soon, her husband said that he had his wife back. They didn't need me. She lived four more years which weren't wasted.
I'm not saying everyone should eat fat or evey hunch could work out, only that sometimes we could take a creative, out-of-the-box view of life .