Lies, damned lies and statistics

With friends at a party

With friends at a party

“Lies, damned lies, and statistics” is a phrase describing the persuasive power of numbers. This phrase is of course used to prove that one may use numbers just to prove one’s point of view. This of course, also shows us that numbers alone can be misleading. Actually, in any area of life, one must remember that statistics remain mere numbers and tools of analysis. Therefore, one should not give them more power than necessary.

When we are diagnosed with an ailment, the first thing most people do is explore statistics and the various types of the ailment. Well, I too have been there, done that, which is why I felt I must share what I have learnt with all of you.

When I was initially diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I read, re-read and tried to understand all the statistics available on this.

What I found was that there are four types of MS

Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS). This is the most common form of multiple sclerosis. About 85% of people with MS are initially diagnosed with RRMS. People with RRMS have temporary periods called relapses, flare-ups or exacerbations, when new symptoms appear2

 Secondary-Progressive MS (SPMS). In SPMS, symptoms worsen more steadily over time, with or without the occurrence of relapses and remissions. Most people who are diagnosed with RRMS will transition to SPMS at some point

 Primary-Progressive MS (PPMS). This type of MS is not very common, occurring in about 10% of people with MS. PPMS is characterized by slowly worsening symptoms from the beginning, with no relapses or remissions

Progressive-Relapsing MS (PRMS)

A rare form of MS (5%), PRMS is characterized by a steadily worsening disease state from the beginning, with acute relapses but no remissions, with or without recovery

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I was diagnosed with RRMS but as statistics show this may progress to SPMS, I did wonder what I should do to be one of those people whose disease did NOT progress to the second stage.

Till today, allopaths do not have a solution. If they did, surely the progression would not happen, would it? As most of us know only about allopathy, the focus becomes fear, despair and then self pity.

This is what made me explore alternatives. The fact that I worked for Life Positive actually made this even more doable.

It was then that I realised this can happen only we shift our focus from our ailment to other things. Belief that we can get better, belief that there would be another method of dealing with our ailment. Belief that we shall be shown a way towards wellness.

Other than alternate therapies, it is one’s attitude towards living that can make a huge difference to one’s life. Here again, working with Life Positive was once again, a great bonus to me.

Today, I have improved radically due to acupuncture and my belief that when there is a problem, there would be a solution too.

It has been rightly pointed out that “statistics are like clay out of which you can make a ‘God’ or a ‘Devil’ as you please.” The fault does not lie with the subject of statistics but with the way it is being used and applied.

We all need to know that the mind is very powerful and hence, we need to give importance only as required to anything. As we have seen, statistics are just numbers. We should not give them the power over one’s life. To understand any situation completely, one needs to understand the entire situation. This requires time and being engaged with reality and not just analysing figures.

Further, we know that our particular situation is unique and hence we need to really dispense with statistics whenever we are dealing with any situation. This could be in the case of a disease or in the case of taking a simple decision of whether to go out or not in a new city.

It is also extremely foolish to think we are a mere number. We certainly have control over our lives and our state of mind. No matter what the numbers game tell us, we have to remember that our own life is sculpted by us.

Let us then become sculptors who create our own lives and not remain just a digit.

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