Gary Sharpes review of online course

ONLINE COURSE REVIEW: HOPE-SHORTCUT

The author behind the blog http://www.outthinkingparkinsons.com/ shares his thoughts about HOPEshortcut online course
HOPE shortcut
The method where people with chronic diseases such as Parkinson’s can reduce their stress-related symptoms and, with persistent work, break free of their diagnosis

Review of HOPEshortcut online course

 The course provides the evidence that PD and many other diseases are significantly affected by stress and trauma, and instead of focusing on “curing” the disease, helps people to reduce any stress in their life, and explains how taking this biological perspective, one can do a lot to minimize symptoms. It is the pragmatic outcome of five years of collected knowledge about people worldwide improve their health, combined with the knowledge of Lilian’s theory about diseases.
 
In short, I feel that the material presented in the course is not only unique and extraordinary but also highly empowering for people with PD. Lilian has obviously put an awful lot of time and effort into it. Indeed, in total there are hours of video presentation, together with a lot of other media and supporting resources. The videos are presented in a very clear and well paced voice, easy to understand and accessible, illustrated by Lilian’s own life experiences, and anecdotes of the successes she has had already helped people with Diseases.
 
In addition to the videos, are daily encouragements, a vast library of everything Lilian herself studied along the way, a unique stress test to assess which state (calm, flight, fight, freeze) one tends to spend the most time in, and what to it about, and an English translation of a chapter on feelings from her book in Danish.
The first week is mainly about transferring all the knowledge Lilian has gained, and covers topics including Diseases and New Hope, Placebo Effect, Stress, Exercise, Physical and Mental Symptoms, Our Tribal Nature and Body Memory. The main thrust of this is to undo the damage or nocebo effect of diagnoses of degeneration and hopelessness, and to instil new hope that things do not necessarily need to get worse, and can definitely be improved. Suggested links for further investigation are provided through Lilian’s vast library of background information.
 
The second part stresses the importance of observing symptoms, how they can fluctuate and connecting these fluctuations with lived experiences. It provides a special dairy for observing symptoms, and instructions of how to complete it.
 
The third part covers four main strategies that people around the world have used to heal themselves of many chronic conditions.
 
The fourth part provides information on the next steps and how to use the information learned during the course.
 
In summary, I would definitely highly recommend this course for anyone affected by PD, especially those in the earlier years or recently diagnosed. However, I would (and have) also recommend it to spouses and families with people PD, partially as this might give insight into how they can best help, but also for their own sake too, in terms of managing their own stress, and preventing the situation causing them to also become ill.

Messages from Gary to Lilian

Straight forward and common sence

Fresh eyes

Lilian have a handfull of diagnoses herself and can see that diagnoses are not random.Her husband had a type of cancer, that hit mainly well educated men… He is a professor in physics and survived Hodgins lymphoma

Background for this review

ONLINE COURSE REVIEW: HOPE-SHORTCUT
I first encountered Lilian Sjøberg when she began to interact in the comments section of my posts. My interest was piqued because she was one of the only other people who were saying some of the same things as myself. In particular, she had also unearthed the dopamine-adrenaline link, and hence had come to the realization that not only does chronic stress exacerbate the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, but can even be causal of them.
 
Another example was how Lilian talked about the devastating nocebo effect of diagnoses of hopelessness.
In some ways, Lilian was even way ahead of me in spotting the patterns and joining the dots. For example, she pointed out to me videos of people from WW1 with shell shock, who clearly had movements disorders not dissimilar to PD, as well as novel interpretation of the placebo effect, connecting it to the removal of stress.
 
Lilian is also way ahead of me in terms of turning what we have independently learned into a pragmatic therapeutic programme. While I have self-experimented and shared openly what I’ve learned along the way, Lilian developed the ideas into a strategy which she has applied to helping people with PD directly, that she calls the “HOPE-shortcut” method.

Inovative thinking

 
Lilian demonstrated to me how she had already helped a number of people with PD, who, with the support of her coaching, had become better. This includes a Danish man who, after going back to his neurologist subsequent to Lilian’s interventions, removed his PD diagnosis.
 
The starting point for Lilian’s HOPE-shortcut programme is an online course, which arms participants with the knowledge she had gained after years of study, and that also provides key practical strategies of how to get started on a recovery journey. .
 
When I learned that Lilian was facing having to give up on trying to help people full time, and needed to take an office job, because she had not be able to get enough people to listen the message or take up what she was offering, I was aghast. I set out to help get her message out, not least because it is essentially the same message as my own, albeit couched in much simpler and accessible terms.
 
For example, Lilian largely avoids talking about and getting bogged down by the complexity of brain chemistry, because, and I tend to agree with her, this is so complicated that we will probably never figure it all out, and instead focusses on the real world, lived experiences, of people with PD, connecting stressors to symptoms.
As part of this, I agreed to go through the online course part of the HOPE-shortcut program, assess it for the PD audience, make suggestions for improvement, if required, and to then write an honest review, which is below.
 

Observe your symptoms

In the process of learning the HOPE shortcut you learn how to keep a diary that helps you to connect symptoms and stress in your life.

Initially the reason is to give you a new belief about the disease

Later it becomes an important tool to reduce your symptoms one by one

Follow HOPEshortcut here

Tiphanie Gould-Gillespie
Tiphanie Gould-Gillespie

Artwork as way out of stress and symptoms

Tiphanie Gould-Gillespie is one good example of how Parkinson’s is NOT a devastating disease. She used her diagnosis as a transformation to a better life.

Not only are her symptoms reduced to 20%, but she also chose to come off her prescribed medication, and she instinctively knew that she had to change her lifestyle completely.
She drew a line in the sand on her old life entirely. She challenged her own imperfections and learned to live with them through her artwork.
She had never painted before, but during the last year has seen Tiphanie has seen her art develop to a place where she can start to exhibit her works for other people to admire.
What could your challenge be?
She found that painting was a way of reducing her stress and leading to a more mindful life, whilst her Parkinson’s symptoms reduced considerably.

Hobbywork - Painting
- a way to a symptom free life

My past - stress

My world was perfect. I had a fascinating but full-stress job.
I was a high performing speech therapist
I start to have Parkinson’s when I was in the middle of all this, but I covered up my symptoms.
When my Parkinson’s got worse, I have to step out of my job. I had so many significant side effects that I chose to step out of medication, which was very hard.
I now consume zero medication.

"I have made a challenge to see what happes if I painted full time for one year."

tiphanie gillespie
On pause due to Parkinsons

Reeinventing myself

I need to do something to reinvent myself.

I instinctively knew that I must do something radical.

I transformed from being an extroverted business girl to an introverted artist.

I have never painted before as I have many talented artists in my family. I saw the painting when they struggled in life.
Little did I know that making art gives you a break from stress.

Being 100% dedicated to my art has given me confidence as an artist selling my art.

Being a hermit in my house for the last year has been fantastic for my mind and learning new skills.

I only make 2 social arrangements per week.

No one understands this, but my symptoms have been reduced the big time by this calmer lifestyle.
What a difference a year makes

Thiphanie have started to sell her art on posters and t-shirts

When I could not wear high heels, I could paint high heels

I looked at my old wardrobe with lots of buttons and gorgeous-looking decorations that made the clothes difficult when getting dressed.
I left the fashion style and now wear practical clothes, no makeup, and a simple hairstyle. I needed to let go of so many of my previous habits for dressing. I let go of old standards for how I needed to look. I feel a lot calmer, not needing to be the perfect version anymore.

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There is beauty in the broken.

I integrate the tremors in my art. When I have tremors and use the waves as an extra element.

Mental Health and the connection to Parkinsons

Mental Health must be truly understood for what it is.
Mental Health is literally at the core of all things mental, physical, spiritual, and political. Mental health is the core factor of every single choice as we move through the world. Every single interaction is shadowed by the state of our mental health.

Why not integrate your tremor into your hobby, and bend your definition of perfectionism

Nicoles reflections after 1. therapy session

What I Wish Everyone Knew About Stress

The author behind the blog www.aslowerkindoflife.com shares her thoughts about life with Parkinson’s disease and about the
HOPE shortcut
The method where people with chronic diseases such as Parkinson’s can reduce their stress-related symptoms and, with persistent work, break free of their diagnosis

One week after first session with the Hope Shortcut therapy

“Life is bliss, but my brain is trying to convince me otherwise.”

I thought I knew it all about the impact of stress on the body and mind. I’ve studied this topic many times over the many years I’ve been searching for healing. I thought I had it dialed. I know that stress has real physical impacts on the body, that the stress response called Fight Flight or Freeze, can be triggered by the most subtle thoughts, and that society is totally hooked on stress. I know how to counteract stress through relaxation techniques. I know how to create new patterns in the brain.

This is what I wish everyone knew about stress

  1. Your thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions can be a source of stress.
  2. Stress has a real physiological impact on the body.
  3. Most of us are caught in a habitual state of chronic stress.
  4. Chronic stress can create disease states in the body and mind.
  5. A subconscious trigger can initiate the stress response.
  6. Counterbalancing the stress response in the body is essential to good health.
  7. What we do to “relax” may not actually be relaxing.
  8. Techniques like progressive relaxation, meditation, heart coherence, qigong, yoga, tai chi can create the relaxation response in the body and counteract the effects of stress.
  9. Exercise is beneficial because it burns up the excess cortisol and adrenaline in the body created by stress.

I know that my sensitive little nervous system seems to be highly attuned and highly responsive to even the smallest stressful triggers. I am aware of the common sources of unnecessary stress, and I have designed my life not to waste my precious energy on unnecessary stress triggers. I don’t watch the news. I don’t get involved in drama or gossip. I don’t have a packed schedule. I try not to worry about appearances or what other people might think of me. I no longer have a stressful career. I have a peaceful life, so I thought. I also thought I had already done the work to uncover unconscious stress responses. I thought I had mastered my internal critical dialogue. I had healed that aspect of myself that thought I had to do something extraordinary to earn love and acceptance.

I was wrong…

I recently met a Danish biologist named Lilian Sjoberg, who is helping people with Parkinson’s disease and other chronic illnesses reduce their symptoms by becoming aware of their stressful patterns and addressing the root cause. She has recognized that symptoms of Parkinson’s disease look a lot like an extreme Fight Flight or Freeze response.  I find this hypothesis quite accurate, and I started to recognize it in my own body.

Last summer, I was standing in knee-depth wading pool with my friend and our two-year-old sons.  We were looking up at a bird flying by, and I suddenly heard a splash. Her son had slipped and gone under the water. In a quick moment of mommy instinct, she grabbed him and yanked him back up. He came up sputtering, but he was ok. I held my son more tightly. Moments later, my Parkinson’s symptoms hit me with full force. Tremor, muscles freezing, movement slow, brain foggy. I realized that it felt like a full-body panic attack. After this incident, I became more aware of my symptoms related to fearful thoughts. Sometimes I would note an extremely subtle trigger in my thoughts, and sometimes I couldn’t tell what had made a sudden worsening of my symptoms.

I had offered to help Lilian to reach a wider audience with her important message. She asked me to go through her coaching process and write about it. I still thought I already knew what she had to offer from my previous studies on stress. I was wrong. On the healing journey, there is always more to discover.

The first thing Lilian asked me to do was to record my thoughts, emotions, and physical responses throughout a day. I was surprised how stressed out I still am.

Although I am retired from a stressful career, I am now recreating that stress and pressure in my home life. It’s because my brain got so used to stress and pressure that it is literally stuck. The hard-wired pathway in my brain for stress, pressure, and worry is like a superhighway. The one for peace and ease is like a rabbit trail through a dense forest. I am slowly making it more discernible through inconsistent practice.

Lilian’s exercise allowed me to see the direct physical effects on my body as the stress accumulated in the day.

Observe your symptoms

In the process of learning the HOPE shortcut you learn how to keep a diary that helps you to connect symptoms and stress in your life.

Initially the reason is to give you a new belief about the disease

Later it becomes an important tool to reduce your symptoms one by one

This is an excerpt of what I recorded in only one morning (B is my 3 year old son):

9:00 am: B. asks to watch a show.

My thoughts: “But shows are bad for his brain. I shouldn’t let him watch shows. I should engage him in enriching activities. What a failure I am as a mother…”

My body: My stomach tightens.

10:15 am: B. slouched in the car seat and staring out the window blankly.

“OMG. Is there something wrong with him? Does he have the coronavirus? Is he going to die? I feel so helpless. Should I drive straight to the hospital?”

My body: My left hamstring cramps and spasms. My stomach is in knots.

10:20 am: B. says he is hungry

“I forgot the snack in the fridge. OMG. Why can’t I get it together? How do other moms seem to be able to do this, and I can’t. I need help.”

My body: My jaw and facial muscles on the left side tighten.

10:30 am, I do not have B.’s indoor shoes for the babysitting room.

“I forgot B.’s indoor shoes. Oh no. Maybe the babysitter won’t notice. They have to let him in. What if they don’t let him in? Why can’t I get it together?’”

My body: My leg is fully dragging now. My tremor has begun. I am having trouble focusing.

I obviously have a body that is extremely sensitive and at its maximum capacity for handling stress already. Would these symptoms still have come on without my constant barrage of worrisome and self-critical thoughts? I don’t know. I did notice that my thoughts have me in a constant state of self-criticism and stress.

In my first coaching session with Lilian, she recognized that the habitual worrisome thoughts and pressure that I put on myself is a subconscious habit that I picked up in childhood. We work through using different techniques.

Since my session with Lilian on Monday morning, I am feeling a new sense of peace

I had a better day with B. today, putting less pressure on myself and becoming more aware of my stressful thoughts before they get out of hand. I am feeling more confident that I can take a little bit of power back from my roller coaster of unpredictable symptoms by recognizing my internal stressors and using relaxation techniques when they arise.

The research is now very strong that certain specific techniques that counteract the stress response and change the internal state of the body can result in significant health improvements.

I wish everyone understood the impacts of stress on the body: that thoughts can create stress, that the brain becomes habituated to stress and will seek out more, and that there are things you can do about it.

Nicole St. Arnaud
2. march 2020, Alberta Canada

Follow HOPEshortcut here

Quilting as a hobby
Quilting as a hobby

Who is Dianne Crowel

Hi all

My name is Dianne Crowel (to the right).
I have had Parkinson´s disease for 5 years.

My symptoms are not too bad, so I can do a lot of the things I am used to.
I use Quilting as a relaxing and comforting hobby when my disease gives me anxiety.

Quilting
- a way to a calm life

Purpose

If you are Hopeless, the best thing is to get a purpose that reaches beyond yourself.

I quilt animals for people that have lost loved ones. I call them memory bears.

This job keeps me busy and makes the people so very happy to have something to hug. 

When I see how I can impact other peoples´ lives It gives me a good feeling as well.

Mindfull

Having a hobby means that you can always comfort yourself and relieve stress.

Your hobby must be so easy that you quickly develop a routine doing it, so you are slowed down in speed. And it is prefferable that it is a bit challenging so your thoughts do not wander anywhere else, to the past or future.
When you get to this sweet spot, it is as good as meditation. It is a form of mindfulness.

When your thoughts stay in the present moment, you will have fewer symptoms.

"I use my hobby to keep down my stress
and anxiety level"

Diane Crowel
Retired with Parkinsons

My work - Quilting

In the video I tell you a very short story about my work, my hug dogs and my quilts.

Feel free to contact me about my memory bears and hug dogs. It feels good to help other people in pain.

Just click on the video to the right and see 2 minutes of introduction to my Quilting world.

I have had Parkinson’s for about five years.

I am very convinced that the disease is stress-related:
I have had two bad marriages. My spouse was drinking and fighting me. It was terrible.

I have six kids, four boys two girls. The third boy has a cleft palate and has had several surgeries. Two have had terrible asthma.

Five of them made it and are all teachers. But one passed away two years ago. I have been having a hard time, but it is getting better.

Also, my symptoms get a little better as the anxiety reduces.

Socialize

I love working with my groups and doing what I can for them. Both online groups and local groups.
I do online cycling and yoga with Jacob. I want to do dance as well.

Sometimes a hobby comes with a social life, where you get the benefits from the joy other people can give you. We are social beings and we therefore thrive in supportive surroundings.

 

Be in the moment

My grandchildren are happy to help me with the quilts and you can see how they like to show the blankets to us.

Being around my grandchildren makes all fear fade away.

Why not slow down in speed

"When I am on vacation I have a lot less symptoms
I’m away from stressful things. Love to go."

Diane Crowel
Retired with Parkinsons

Quilting Questions