Meet Jackie McMillan
Though these are challenging times for our community and so many others, we continue to share authentic stories of autistic Canadians and their families. We hope these will offer a look into the many diverse perspectives in our community and provide inspiring and uplifting stories when we need it most.
Jackie McMillan, is an autistic bio-hacker and curator of research on chronic inflammatory problems. She writes, lectures, trains and consults on topics related to autism in general and relevant health research in particular. You can find her work at http://ThriveWithAutism.ca
My life routines haven’t changed much since the stay-home advisory, although I’m sad to miss cancelled spring autism events and meetings. I do autism and trauma consulting work mostly online, taking midday breaks to garner some of nature’s benefits, "social distance" walk with my brother, and occasionally walk the neighbour's dog. The infrared light in sunlight (the warmth that sinks through your clothes) can help your mitochondria triple the amount of energy they produce!
The exercise and lymphatic movement from walking help to keep my body a lot more comfortable. If I stop to do a little gardening, I’m adding the benefit of earthing to my day, which is one of the fastest ways to calm inflammation. I’m not noticing the store closures much, because I seldom shop anywhere but health food and hardware stores, fortunately counted among the essential services.
What has changed is the amount of friendliness on my daily walks. Instead of avoiding gazes, most people are smiling and nodding as they pass at caribou-distance — as the Yukon government recommends — and some stop for a brief conversation. Neighbours are playing guitar on their front porches, wearing clown noses, and generally greeting strangers the way Canadians who live in smaller communities usually do.
Friends on social media are making posts such as asking for suggestions on cheering up the lonely seniors in nearby assisted living apartments who lack internet access… and are receiving a heart- warming plethora of enthusiastic and practical suggestions. Apart from the fear-mongering mainstream media, the world feels a lot more compassionate, right now, which I am deeply grateful for on a personal level (I love all the smiles), but also grateful for on a social level (in my opinion, everyone needs more smiles).
Why does this matter? Research is very clear that loving, positive social interactions are up to four times as preventive of getting ill, and up to four times as restorative of health if you do get sick, then all other health interventions put together. Dr. Dean Ornish compiled data on this in his popular book, “Love and Survival”, because when other clinics first tried to duplicate his heart- disease reversal results, they left out the social groups he created to help increase the quality and quantity of positive relationships in his patients’ lives (and didn’t reverse heart disease).
I also incorporate some do-it-yourself, do-no-harm, easy changes to my daily routines when colds and flus are going around. I’m being particularly vigilant around COVID-19 and use the following to keep myself free of infections: Antiviral Herbal Tea, Antiviral Food, Antiviral Essential Oils and Antiviral Supplements. To learn more about these items visit my blog post where I provide more detailed information about how I am using these anti-viral items in my own health care regime.
If you’re only going to make one change while this COVID-19 scare is going on, I encourage you to do things that make you laugh and smile. Make phone or video calls to people you love. Cuddle with your pets. Even if every other option I’ve shared isn’t within your reach, or any change feels overwhelming right now, letting yourself feel more love can make all the difference. Take really good care.
Disclaimer: Information provided is not a recommendation, referral or endorsement of any resource, therapeutic method, or service provider and does not replace the advice of medical, legal or educational professionals. Autism Speaks Canada does not provide medical or legal advice or services. Rather, Autism Speaks Canada provides general information about autism as a service to the community. The information provided on our website is not a recommendation, referral or endorsement of any resource, therapeutic method, or service provider and does not replace the advice of medical, legal or educational professionals. Autism Speaks Canada has not validated and is not responsible for any information, events, or services provided by third parties.