by Doug Valentine, Peebles, Scotland
In my 30s and 40s I was highly focussed on building from start-ups a few interconnected businesses, and I put work before family most of the time. I had this belief that I should set an example by being among the first to arrive and one of the last to leave every day, and I put this belief higher than getting home to spend time with the family. I fuelled myself to do this with eight cups of tea or coffee a day, and then a bottle of wine every night to help me unwind. Without realising it, I had bit by bit over many years, given up on myself and developed patterns of numbing myself so I did not have to be aware of this fact. To the exclusion of everything else, I dedicated myself to providing enough material wealth that my family would never be poor. Reflecting back on this period now, I can see that there was an unremitting joylessness in every part of my life.
In my 40s I was becoming more and more burnt out and I was struggling in many ways to cope; particularly my memory had slowly but surely degraded to the point that I found I needed to write everything down on bits of paper and carry them around everywhere with me. Our customers comprised of multi-nationals and government, so I lived in a mild state of terror that I would forget something really vital and cause the loss a major customer. When I was 50, we sold the business to an American organisation that on the one hand stated they wanted me to stay on forever, and then asked me to sack a staff member who had been loyal for 10 years and had never put a foot wrong, because their face didn’t fit. In my heart I knew I couldn’t follow these instructions, so I chose to resign and leave the business I had started eighteen years earlier.
I felt completely burnt-out from 20 plus years of constant stress. In addition to the memory problems, I had high blood pressure and had also undergone, around a year earlier, a period of depression. Because I had a pension that enabled me to start drawing down from age 50, I decided to take a year out and rebuild my health. I thought taking time out would dissolve the stress that I felt under, but it made no difference. I carried on over-riding the messages my body was giving me, and for several years continued to pump caffeine and alcohol into my system every day… and life became more and more of a fog. Conversations kept revealing to me that I had no clarity regarding what was discussed even the day prior. I was well down the road of early stage dementia.
One day, after listening to a Serge Benhayon of Universal Medicine presentation, I felt the truth of the harm I was doing to myself with the alcohol and caffeine I was putting in my body. By this time my blood pressure was sky-high and my memory had deteriorated further, e.g. I frequently struggled to recall what I had done the day before; it would sometimes take quite a bit of memory-mining to dig up what I had been doing in the 24 hours before. That day I said to myself “Never again” to both caffeine and alcohol, and I also slowly started to develop a true caring for myself in lots of other ways. This was very hard at first, as my momentum of not taking care of myself had been going on a very long time.
Six months after giving up alcohol and caffeine I suddenly realised that the fog that had taken over my head had cleared. I also realised I had stopped writing notes for myself, and in my head was a clarity I couldn’t remember feeling since I was a teenager. For the first time for a long time, I could now spot other people’s memory problems.
I have continued with developing and expanding the ways in which I care for myself. Five years later my blood pressure is lower than it has ever been, and the irritable bowel syndrome I lived with for 30 plus years disappeared when I discarded gluten from my diet. So for me, there is no doubt in my mind that dementia – and for that matter every other illness I experience– is a direct result of the choices I make, and how I choose to live my life. I am also sure that if I had not changed the way I was living, I would now be a full-blown dementia patient. Whereas on the other hand, there is now more joy in my life than ever before, and I have not felt healthier than I do now during my 62 years on this planet.
I cannot start to express my gratitude for Universal Medicine, whose teachings have led me to realise that I am the only one who is responsible for my health – and without which I would be in a very different state of health.