*Disclosure: I only review books that I have selected for my own enjoyment, and the views expressed are, therefore, even if a little batty, completely genuine. You need to be aware, though, that this review has an affiliate link, meaning that if you click through to Amazon and choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to yourself.
Before reading this inflammatory book, ‘The Inflamed Mind’ by Edward Bullmore, it had never occurred to me that the pain in my arthritic big toe, might be linked to my down phases. As a blogger and creative writer, I had great faith in my super-goddess powers as the central link to all things weird and wacky. Now I know the truth: I am still at the centre of everything – it’s just that the everything keeps growing!
Today, I know that if my toe starts to scream, it’s just giving me advance warning of a serious mood change – an avalanche of depression, that might keep me under for days, weeks, if not months.
Luckily, I have developed a few of my own strategies for keeping that avalanche iced up on top of my window – where it belongs!
- Crack an egg (boosts your serotonin levels) into a desert bowl, burst the yolk with a fork, and heat for 1 minute in a 750W microwave oven.
- Plop the now-rubbery egg between two slices of unhealthy white bread and make it edible with a generous sprinkling of dried chilli flakes.
- Dunk it into the mug of instant tomato soup, you’ve just prepared (read the instructions on the packet for that bit!).
- Eat it!
- At this point, if you are middle-aged, you may start to steam, but … do not be alarmed! It is not so hot out there in the real world that the ice will melt and the avalanche will fall down anyway – you are just having a hot flush! The moment will pass (eventually). Step out of the front door to speed up the cooling process.
- Smile and get busy writing your blog and the avalanche (even if it does still melt), will divert itself elsewhere.
- Take heed of this cautionary note: DO NOT REMOVE YOUR BACKSIDE FROM YOUR SPECIAL WRITER’S SWIVEL CHAIR, THINKING THAT YOU OUGHT TO COLLECT THE LAUNDRY FROM YOUR DAUGHTER’S (OR YOUR SON’S) ROOM. CONSIDER WHERE THE DIVERTED AVALANCHE MAY NOW HAVE LANDED – AND STAY PUT RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE!
- Ignore the fact that your toe still hurts – just write a poem about it and become an Ecstabeing!
Follow my wise advice and you will be at one with the macrophages. Macrophages, for those of you who have not yet had the good sense to read Bullmore’s book, are immune cells that guard the peripheries of our bodies.
Our macrophages inherit ‘the wisdom of their ancestors’, each being ‘innately prepared to recognise at first sight an enemy it has never seen before’ (p.36). The problem being that, sometimes, our macrophages use ‘carpet-bombing tactics’ (p.40) and, once they have prevented an infection in one’s toe spreading, being akin to lazy little sprogs, they hang around for too long. And, just like sprogs, they get ants in their pants, becoming hyper – so hyper, in fact, that they start to destroy the healthy bits of us.
Rheumatoid arthritis, it seems, is a disease caused by by a pile-in of macrophages when our immune system starts ‘fighting with itself’. The inflammation in my big toe is causing my whole body to be inflamed. And my ‘whole body includes’ my ‘brain’ (p.58) (and yes, I know that, in my case, the brain bit is debatable!).
According to Bullmore, then there are some horrid things called cytokines swimming around in my blood. These little gossip-mongers, released by the mean-spirited macrophages that hang around in my painful toe, proceed to travel up my body and bully their way through my blood-brain barrier. Once safely ensconced in my brain, the cytokines are unable to resist blurting out stories about their birthland.
Hence, my crazy cytokines can be held solely responsible for all of the dark times in my life. And, it really does feel good to have something, rather than someone, to blame!
For this reason, I would definitely recommend ‘The Inflamed Mind’ to anyone out there with an ache, or a pain, even if the pain has, at times, made the mistake of presenting itself in the flesh!
Copyright of the review owned by Jay Cool, March 2019
‘Icicle’ image courtesy of Pixabay.com
*See disclosure at top of page, before clicking on the image-link below.