on January 1st 1970
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Millions of people around the world suffer from fibromyalgia; the majority of them are women. As yet, there is no cure.
In this memoir, Brigid P. Gallagher shares her experiences on:
The busy life she followed before succumbing to this debilitating disease Stopping and soul searching for answers to her vast array of symptoms Entering a new life of SLOW Drawing on her knowledge and experience as a Natural Medicines therapist, she seeks out therapies to aid her healing and integrates a variety of self help techniques and lifestyle changes. She also unearths a love of solo travel including Egypt, India, Rome, Lourdes, Carcassonne and Bali...
Brigid learns many insights about LIFE on her journey, the most valuable being:
"First learn to love thyself."
In 2006, she began a new career in Organic Horticulture eventually teaching part time in schools. Although she has now retired from teaching, she continues to pursue her lifelong passion for gardening and watching the daisies.
This delightful memoir has a number of threads running through it, all of which the author skilfully weaves together into an appealing whole.
Music is one of the threads. It beings in Brigid’s youth when she danced to Alan Freeman’s Pick of the Pops in the living room, to attending concerts of performers like Thin Lizzy, Paul McCartney, Annie Lennox and Tina Turner, to later trips to see Tom Jones and Clannad. One day in her youth she even spent her lunchtime work break stalking Cliff Richard as he did some shopping!
Unfortunately, another major thread is ill health. From childhood dental abscesses, laryngitis and joint pains, to insomnia, depression and pleurisy later in life, afflictions crop up regularly. Eventually Brigid is diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
The search for healing
Not surprisingly therefore, Brigid develops a keen interest in healing. Over the years she shows a breath-taking enthusiasm and determination to study, practice and even commercialize her skills. She explains herself: “colour healing, crystal and electro-crystal healing, reflexology, aromatherapy, nutritional medicine, counselling skills, spiritual healing, radionics, space clearing and the ancient art of Feng shui. I reckon I had attained the equivalent of a master’s degree in natural medicines!”
She establishes the Scottish School of Holistic Healing. This is followed closely by Healthworks, a healing centre and shop in the middle of the Scottish town of Stirling.
The final thread in the memoir is travel, which for the most time she undertakes solo. In many of these places, such as Malta, Morocco, Bali, India and Lourdes, Brigid seeks out and learns from local healing practices, which she then implements back home.
A practical, heart-warming memoir
Watching the Daisies is well-written, informative, entertaining in parts, harrowing in others. At the end of each chapter Brigid gives a quick summary of insights learned. At the end of Watching the Daisies she gives her top ten tips for self-healing. In other words, the book is extremely practical.
Finally, we find Brigid beginning to cut back on some of her many activities to take life a little slower (hence the title). However, as she was told once by a numerologist that “the best years of your life will come later, probably in your sixties,” I suspect that Brigid won’t be letting the daisies grow too long!
Interview with Brigid Gallagher
Brigid, you write “if you can visualise yourself overcoming life’s obstacles, they will disappear.” Could you elaborate? How could someone put this into practice, for example?
An example could be awaiting an appointment with a new consultant. You are anxious to get the best possible treatment for your condition. Write down the questions you want to ask beforehand, then close your eyes and imagine these questions being answered to your satisfaction, and the perfect treatment plan tailor-made for your highest good. Alternative ways to overcome obstacles are:
- Creating a “Vision Board” with pictures and words on a sheet of paper that depict your ideal outcome
- Lighting a candle and praying for the best possible outcome.
I love Henry Ford’s quote: “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”
Something totally lacking anywhere in your book is self-pity. Was this something you had to work at to overcome or have you always been of a sunny disposition?
I think I have always been a “glass half-full person.” However, I began a gratitude journal in 2003, when I first became ill. It has helped me journey through the best of times and the worst of times. It is one of the first things I do every morning, before I get out of bed.
You showed remarkable acceptance of various health problems. How important is acceptance to the healing process? And where is the line between accepting an illness and fighting it?
Acceptance may not come easily. It has taken me some time to reach a place of acceptance of my own health conditions. I struggled for a long time. Once I had a diagnosis, I was able to find acceptance and a greater sense of peace.
I think everyone goes through a period of trying to fight an illness. It is part of a grieving process. However, you can stay stuck in fighting it, never reach acceptance, and lose out on inner peace.
You have learned so many skills. If you landed on an island where you were allowed to practice only one of them, which would it be, and why?
It’s difficult to choose just one therapy, but I will go for reflexology. It aids the body in healing itself through unblocking CHI or energy, via the lines of energy known as meridians, and the nerve endings in the feet. Reflexology works whether you have a diagnosis or not, and it helped me enormously in the early stages of my illness.