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  • Sona Parmar

The Elephant

As the heavy lemons kept falling out of the tree and thumping me on my head, I realized I needed a solution - and fast. I didn’t like the taste of lemonade anymore.


That’s when I finally started reading a book that’s been lying on my shelf for five years, maybe more: The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk.


In it, amongst other things, he talks about treatments for PTSD he has used on patients of his.


As I tell my own patients, it is irrelevant why they have the symptoms they do, much like it is irrelevant that it is raining. What they need is an umbrella. The more torrential the storm, the more gear they need. The storm will pass - it always does - and they will be stronger for weathering it. But doing so in a bikini isn’t proving anything to anyone.


It was time to take my own advice. I knew my symptoms and I had to get out of my emotions for long enough to see the big picture. This is where being the doctor and the patient can often be troublesome - as human beings, we believe our thoughts are real. They are not. That is the only fact that I need to remind myself of when I am treating myself (or indeed my immediate family). Thoughts cloud the rational mind, the wisdom, fhe discrimination.


So, as I put the emotions to the side, I knew what to do and I knew how to do it. I would eat this elephant one bite at a time.


And so, last night, when I woke up as I do most nights, I was filled with the feeling that it would all be OK. I would be OK.


Yes, just another feeling, but not one I’ve had for a long, long time.


I was going to be OK - and I guess I was a little OK now. I couldn’t see the path ahead, but the evenness-of-mind knew that I could handle the unfolding mountain path as it came.


I don’t much like elephant, but I knew this was the only way - and maybe a great person had done it before me.


One bite at a time.


It was all going to be OK.


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