Written by Lucy Mayhew.
Bear Grylls and I have virtually nothing in common – the survival expert has a GTI turbo-charged body, whereas seven years ago, mine became my jailor.
Grylls recently name-checked kindness as an overlooked quality “critical to survival,” and in the midst of paralysing physical pain, fear and despair I have learned how true this observation is. But also, because compassion doesn’t cure suffering, it is absurdly easy to neglect precisely when it is most urgently needed.
In 2008 I was in my twenties living in London leading a busy, fulfilling life working as a journalist, surrounded by a large circle of friends. Then an atomic bomb exploded wiping out virtually all physical function and destroying my life.
There is no tidy diagnosis or cure for my complex immune and gastrointestinal condition. It has most in common with the severest cases of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome where, as immunologist and AIDS and CFS specialist Dr Nancy Klimas explains, “patients experience a level of disability equal to that of patients with late-stage AIDs”.
A few weeks ago leading scientists around the world met at a global compassion conference in Shrewsbury where plans were unveiled for a new research institute dedicated to study and application of compassion.
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