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Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Illusion of Control

It is hard to escape the trap that we are somehow able to completely control our destiny. Time and again I catch myself slipping into the idea that I can control my disease or that I got ill because of something I did. This is just not how the world works. All we can really control is how we handle the hand we are dealt.
I spent a long time trying to figure out why I got MS. Then I spent some time deciding how I was going to stay well. I have also spent a great deal of time contemplating my future.
When I started this blog I posed several essential questions. One of them was whether diet and exercise can improve ones prognosis. I was quick to adopt the idea that a person can hold MS at bay with diet and exercise. I still believe that both these things are important to ones overall well-being. A healthier body can better deal with trauma and illness but it also has begun to dawn on me that diet and exercise alone are no guarantee of health. I realize that one cannot entirely predict or control the course of the MonSter.
Strangely, I am not disturbed by these realizations. I was unable to control my diagnosis and I am unable to control everything about my future. That’s ok with me now. There are many things I can control.
I can control how much I exercise. I can control what I choose to do and not do. I can control my diet. Most importantly, I can control my mind. I can control how I deal with bumps in the road. I can spend a lot of time worrying about the future or my next possible or probable relapse, or I can embrace my present where I am finding a way to juggle my responsibilities. I think it’s important that I do the things I want and need to do now when and while I can.
I think it is possible that I could be one of the lucky ones, one of those people who suffer little at the hands of their disease but I also realize that the statistics are against me. There are very few people with lesions who truly never have another relapse but they do exist. I always used to believe that nothing like this would ever happen to me but it did.
On the other hand, if I was unlucky enough to be one of the only people I know who got this diagnosis, I also might fit into another unlikely percentage and never really deteriorate as a result of my disease. The good news for my own mental state is that I can accept my fate either way. This does not mean that I am not going to keep doing yoga, eating right and minimizing stress. It means that I realize that even by doing these things I may not be ensuring a symptom-free future. I accept that control is indeed an illusion but that is ok.

7 comments:

LISA EMRICH said...

It's frightening to be out of control and sometimes it's equally frightening to be in control.

Being aware of what IS within your power is vitally important. So is not kicking yourself for things which are not within your power to control.

Question for you Nadja, if you feel comfortable sharing. What exactly is the belief system which your father raised you to believe? What are the principles and practices?

It might help me understand how to understand the way your mind was molded at a young age. If you'd like, please email me privately.

Enjoy time with the hubby. Relax and treat yourself well.

Xenu said...

I never asked myself "why"?

A disease is not a "punishment." It just happens.

Never forget that.

Denver Refashionista said...

Lisa and Xenu, I no longer blame myself but i also recognize that this is something that I cannot control so why not accept it and live. That is actually why my blog is titled "Living!" and not something else. I plan to enjoy the best life I can but also recognize that the future is not mine to control.

Joan said...

Well said. I like that ancient philosophical line that goes something like "Man [sic] plans and god laughs."

Emms said...

I believe that there are some things you can control: attitude, thought, action, belief.

Along the same line as Joan..."accept the things I cannot change".

Great post.

Diane J Standiford said...

Hey you. You can ALWAYS control your reactions. It is that simple. The Diane has spoken.
(think of it as feeling the pose then the release, react to MS like that and you can't go wrong.)

Denver Refashionista said...

Thanks Diane. That is an excellent way to view life.