Spiritual Vampires

Be afraid, be very afraid!

No, not really. You do not need garlic (although I highly recommend garlic for general health) nor is a crucifix of much use. Blood is not sucked.

It is much worse.

You know how it is when you walk into a party, and there is someone to whom you feel an instant affinity, someone that you just feel drawn to, and usually you will get decent conversation and interesting thoughts as a reward. Equally there are some people for whom you instantly feel an antipathy, as if you are being repelled. No words are needed in either case, this is all felt at a deep emotional level.

You all will have experienced this. That person for whom you feel affinity leaves you feeling enriched. In some strange chemistry you know your energy levels are up, and the encounter made your world a better place.

But what if you find yourself next to the other unknown person. You, being polite, strike up a conversation. You instantly regret it. How or why, you later cannot remember, but every minute seems an eternity. Drained, exhausted, depleted, once you break away you need more than a rest and a stiff drink. Your day has become grayer, dull and tedious.

You have met a spiritual vampire, and your energy has been relentlessly drained.

This is serious stuff. Remember that episode I mentioned earlier about the young woman who felt awful but had no diagnosable disease? I first met her when she was about 12 years old. She presented to our hospital with acute asthma. As per policy, she was admitted, but I found no sign of asthma whatsoever. Neither did my consultant on the post-take ward round. As luck would have it, her mother came to visit during our ward round, and we were explaining to her that there was nothing to be found.

Bear in mind, this was a loving mother, but in my whole life I have never encountered ] a more skilled spiritual vampire. She began to speak to her daughter, we were listening, and observed in real time as the poor girl went into clinically increasingly severe asthmatic distress requiring emergency medication. From a standing start she went from a clear chest to major asthmatic airway narrowing.

I settled in that area as a GP and treated the family. Vivid memories surface of my utter exhaustion after every encounter in the clinic, and how much more devastating was that exhaustion after every visit to the home.

That might seem laughable but pay attention. Some years later that same girl, now 19 years old, presented with a diagnosable disease. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma stage 1A – eminently treatable. She passed away on the third relapse.

There was another patient of mine at that same time, a man with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma stage 4B and very poor chances of survival. He refused to attend hospital as he was terrified of needles, and I was the only one who would be allowed to draw blood. He insisted that I give him his chemotherapy at his own home, as he adamantly refused to go to hospital. But survive he did. But I also remember that I came away from home visits with him feeling much brighter.

When it comes to regaining wellness, if you find that your moods are low, your thoughts troubled, if mediocre is a good description of your mental well-being, take it very seriously. This is as important for your health as any pill you are taking. We will speak of this again.

One Reply to “Spiritual Vampires”

  1. Hi Brian,

    I’ve not had an experience that directly affected my physical health in the way of that girl or the Hodgkin’s patient, but I’ve certainly experienced both the draining and the positive effect that different people have had on my mood.

    On Monday last week I had a telephone conversation with a potential client that left me with the strong feeling of ‘I don’t want to do this – it’s going to be a nightmare’. I reflected on the call for around an hour and decided to pull out – and I felt better as soon as I had told them.

    I’ve had clients that absolutely drained me before, and the stress they cause is simply not worth the business.

    The very next day I had a conversation with an existing client on a difficult but interesting point, but that conversation still left me feeling good and energised to come up with a solution.

    The beauty of having my own business is that I can work with whom I choose to, and not have to put up with the ‘drainers’..!



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