Dr. Norah Neylon was caring for a 50-year-old woman who was overwhelmed with care-giving responsibilities of her own. The woman’s mother was experiencing early signs of dementia. Five of her relatives had died in the past three years. She frequently had to fly back and forth from California to the Caribbean to take care of members of her extended family. Oh yes—and her blood pressure was dangerously elevated at 210/115.
So Neylon gave her a prescription. I’m not referring to the blood pressure pills she prescribed. Instead, I’m referring to another script, which read:
“Permission to put your needs first. Use at least once a day for thirty minutes, do not exceed the stated dose, this is potent medicine.”
Neylon’s patient laughed when she saw the script, and then began to cry. She hadn’t been putting herself first, and her health was suffering as a result.
Neylon relayed this story in a recent JAMA article “The Prescriptions I Write.” It’s a beautiful essay.
Many health problems are self-inflicted: Some of us bring illness upon ourselves by smoking or drinking too much, or sleeping and exercising too little. Other people become sick because they don’t take time to care for themselves.
(To read the rest of this article, please visit Forbes.)
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