I have been busy lately. To adjust, I schedule a nap date with myself after each flurry of activity. This has been working well so far. On Monday I had my first MS "Self-Help Group" meeting so I went home right after work to rest and prepare for Tuesday.
The group came right on the heels of my post about perspective. Somehow that line of thinking proved very important for me when I went to the group. Sometimes I get so caught up in being tired and sick or planning to avoid those states that I cannot take my mind off MS. Two of the women in the group mentioned that they now go days at a time without thinking about MS. I realized that I have not done this. In fact, I don't think a day has gone by since my diagnosis where MS has not crossed my mind. Perhaps this is unavoidable as long as I blog here but hearing these women talk, I thought, "I want that kind of peace."
One of the women in the group has been diagnosed for twelve years now and she told me that she has never taken MS meds. She has an excellent quality of life and she does not let MS affect her planning or lifestyle. While it seems her symptoms are minimal and that may account for her attitude, hearing her talk really gave me a state of mind to aspire to. I am not trying to forget or deny the MS but I am working hard to get rid of my fears about the future. I think this group is going to be good for me.
There was also a woman at the group who was just diagnosed in the last two weeks. She did not seem afraid or disturbed at all. I admire that. She has not had a serious exacerbation but learned of her MS because of some numbness in her arm. I wonder if generally feeling ok takes some of the fear out of the disease. As I thought this, I wondered if my state of mind might be better if I had never experienced a trauma as a result of my disease. When I feel bad it is hard for me to avoid conjuring up graphic sensory memories of vomiting blood in the waiting room of the hospital. I remember what it was like to suffer vertigo that questioned the laws of gravity. I remember skull pain, clenched muscles, crawling across my floor because I couldn't stand. I remember and I shudder.
I think that it is time to stop myself from reliving these memories. It is impossible to move on with my life productively if I am fixated on the worst parts of my disease experience. I think it is important to prepare for the worst but it does not need to involve negativity or painful memories and ideas. I do not intend to forget the lessons I have learned about slowing down, drawing boundaries or taking time for myself but I think a new chapter in my life is ready to dawn if I can let go of the trauma and just experience life as it comes.
Today I am grateful that I can learn from my experiences. As we often say in yoga,"Bowing to the teacher in all things because we can learn something from everyone and everything." Namaste.