Report from I.W. Councillor John Nicholson

Posted by Admin on 26 October 2018, 9:53 am




Ward Member for Northwood & Cowes South
Chairman of Policy & Scrutiny Committee for Adult Social Care & Health Committee





PO31 8LT
Tel: 07918 757843



See the I.W. Councillor’s section





The Report appearing in the November 2018 edition of Northwood News:


Winter Feelings

Now that the year is on the ebb, we start to bed down to prepare for the winter months, taking care of the garden, outside furniture and tools. The cold nights start to draw in and the daylight, too, cools and fades; traditionally we would light cosy fires and get the stew-pot out for comforting and nourishing warm meals to keep us going. Winter is a time of tradition – Hallowe’en, Bonfire Night, Christmas and New Year in short succession, followed by the winter sales and the rising hope of spring as the days start to draw out again. But, in all that cosy tradition, let us remember the tradition of neighbourliness, of community, of helping one another, the little thoughts that consider others, helping with shopping, getting to appointments, having someone to talk with and share experiences and, most importantly, sharing emotions.
The things that we all remember are emotionally charged, that is how we remember them; the greater the emotional charge, the more founded is that memory. This is great when that emotion is positive, but it is not always so. For example, if someone has had an adverse experience that has instigated a huge negative emotional response, that experience becomes anchored with dynamism. It is then called a trauma, and recollection of the experience and anything around it triggers a replay of the emotional state through the chemical signals it releases, and the body’s physiology changes to adapt to that state. Things shut down, defences go up in different ways. In extreme cases it can cause erratic behaviour, and even physical ailments. This is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, most associated with adverse experiences in the armed forces and emergency services, but can happen to anyone who has had a strong emotional reaction to any adverse experience.
Physiological and psychological conditions don’t only need a strong and sudden emotional reaction of high amplitude though, they can creep up over a long time at repeated low amplitude and set in like a creeping frost or fungi. Low amplitude repetitive adverse experience can be just as tenuous and devastating as high amplitude incidents. Understanding this and the different processes that cause these states is important, because it helps in understanding the presenting symptoms and may help in being able to break the neural connections formed and replace them with more benevolent substitutes. But it takes will to change and either a slow repetitive induction or a high amplitude incident to displace the incumbent unwanted connection. That is why, if you need to change a behaviour, you need to do it by shock or long-term disciplined exercise training.
In anthropology, the importance of social interaction, caring and being cared for are in generating the emotional states that produce the chemical endorphins that are beneficial to our mental and physical balance and wellbeing. Thousands of years ago this feeling was created by communal grooming (as it still is amongst many animals), but in our cultivated society, one of the best environments for generating these endorphins, according to scientific research, is the good old Local, and despite the woes preached by the puritanical anti-lobby, the simple act of sharing the experience and pleasure of a good honest pint with friends!

The Campaign for Integrated Thinking (CAMIT)

As our society becomes more sophisticated, so it seems at times that it becomes more disjointed, less harmonious, even dysfunctional. How else would you explain resurfacing all our roads whilst there are known leaks in the water supply infrastructure beneath that are bound to become bursts through the inevitable heavy disturbance of the resurfacing process? How else can you explain the acceptance to promoting processed foods and drinks that are known to lead to poor states of health, personal misery and a huge burden on our public services and economy? How else can you explain the labelling of one of the safest and most useful rock based substances just because of the name that we give it, and the widespread acceptance of hugely toxic and dangerous substances in everyday use, as highlighted in the totally avoidable Grenfell scandal (white asbestos, unlike its lethal cousins blue and brown, has no known hazard, recognised in other countries, yet there is a whole industry in this Country based on the pretence that it is dangerous – I might get hung for saying this!)?
I don’t think I am a lone voice in this campaign, but the echoes I hear at times are far and faint. It was that way with the recognition of the importance of paying attention to mental wellbeing, and now, just a few years on, everyone is talking of it. Not that it is any of my doing, of course, but some greater trigger has occurred for this to happen. Maybe it is like this Twitter thing, or the like, or the Butterfly Effect, coined by American mathematician Edward Lorenz, to express how the slightest, seemingly insignificant occurrence can build to have huge consequences. That is why I believe in CAMIT.

John Nicholson
Ward Member for Northwood & Cowes South.

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