In 2007, a 27-year old man known as ‘Mr A’ collapsed on the floor of a hospital emergency department after taking a drug overdose. His blood pressure was crashing, he was hyperventilating and shaking, and nurses sprang into action to insert an intravenous line into his arm to try and flush his system and save his life.
The man had been taking part in an antidepressant drug trail. Although he said his mood had improved significantly in the first month, in the second month he had an argument with his ex-girlfriend and became suicidal. He took his remaining 29 pills all at once, but immediately regretted his actions and was rushed to the hospital by his neighbour.
The case was written up in the medical journal General Hospital Psychiatry because four hours after the man had collapsed, it was revealed that he had been in the placebo arm of the clinical trial. He had taken an overdose of sugar pills. When Mr A discovered the news, he was surprised and tearful with relief. Within 15 minutes, he had recovered.
I used this story at the beginning of my talk at the 2016 Happiness and Its Causes Conference as a demonstration of the profound influence that the thoughts in our mind can have on our body. My talk was about what I’ve learned from interviewing scientists at the cutting-edge of mind-body medicine, and how I use their wisdom in my efforts to be healthy after being diagnosed with a chronic disease.
It was a such a thrill to speak to a crowd of 1000 people and you’ll probably notice the wobble in my voice at the start. I confess that my heart was pounding and the butterflies in my stomach were more like tap dancing elephants, but I soon warmed up.
A special thank you to Beth Phelan, who is the conference director and who gave me permission to share the talk with you as a video and podcast.
Watch the video –
Hear the podcast –
If my story resonated with you, feel free to leave a comment. It’s really lovely to know that you’re out there reading, watching and listening.
Also, I’m excited to have been invited to MC this year’s Happiness and Its Causes event in June. There are some amazing speakers lined up, and I know that while the event was initially sold out, a bigger auditorium has been secured, so there may still be a few tickets left to grab. Hope to see you there.