Category Archives: positive thinking

Do good, It’s Good For You!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately, thinking and sometimes posting my better thoughts in various places – scrappy notebooks, my phone, my laptop, the monthly Newsletter I edit, and a particularly lovely notebook given to me earlier this year. My better thoughts are usually a little bit mystical perhaps, or maybe I just think that way, but it doesn’t matter. Writing them makes me feel wise, and some other people have enjoyed them too.

Doing things other people enjoy, whether it’s spreading wise words, or something else, doing anything good for other people can bring good things back to you. This article has much to say on the subject, and is well worth reading, to get some ideas on how you may be able to ‘do some good’ in the world.

Those of us with chronic illnesses may be in receipt of the good deeds done by others, and while this is nice to have happen, it can also make a person feel a little weak, or useless. But doing something good for someone else can be as simple as smiling kindly to a stranger, the person who drove you somewhere, perhaps. Every little act of good, or kindness, can help to build the amount of good in the world, and if you pass on the good done to you, and the person you do something good for does the same, what a wonderful world we may all bring about.

The more good things you can do for other people, the better you may feel! I am an example of this, I think. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 2010, after having an ‘event’ which was diagnosed as a relapse as a result of having MS. I hadn’t known I had it, but could see some signs of it in my past, once I knew what to look for. I was one medication that helped, and was doing OK with it, and once I was able to, I went back to my previous life, or at least as close to it as I could.

That previous life was fine, but I decided this new disease was a lesson to myself, to do the things in life I truly loved. So I continued with the writing things I love doing and being involved in, and I put my hand up to new things in my life whenever possible. Challenges became good things, instead of me looking at them as problems. I continued to look for and meet challenges, and my life is still feeling better and better to me.

I smile at strangers, I give useful feedback to writing friends, I post uplifting tips on social media to help others feel good about their lives. I’ve written and published more books than I ever thought I would, self-publishing, and loving it when I find new people to introduce my writing to. My book that has the same name as this blog – Mick, Jane and Me (Living Well With MS), was written and launched within three years. And this was after publishing and launching my first poetry collection within about a year of being diagnosed with this pernicious disease.

I had help from some lovely people to make these two books ‘come to life’, and I am still getting help from lovely people. I get help, I help others, and life continues on being lovely. I live in the country, and am able to find peace and good thoughts, looking at the lovely blue sky, the clouds, the wonderful trees all around where we live – beautiful!

above the fish pond

Living in the country brings me a sense of well-being, and seeing how many in fact most of the people in my community, are always happy to help out whenever needed. I live a good life, and do what I can to help others to live a good life too. Good and doing good, are wonderful things, I hope you will find much good in your life, and share the good with others!

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Multiple Sclerosis and Happiness?

When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), my main emotion was relief. Not distress, or sadness, or worry, but relief. You see, I’d been worried a lot by what on earth had caused my body to suddenly go weak and limp. Was it Cancer, or something worse, and was I going to die from whatever it was? If it was cancer, I was not happy, at all, we all n=know cancer is a terrible and possibly lethal thing to have.

So yes, when my neurologist told me I had Multiple Sclerosis, I was relieved. As far as I knew, MS wasn’t fatal. I actually already knew someone  who’d had MS for a long time and she was still alive … So I had a new chronic illness, did I? And what was this illness going to do to my life? I did some research, and was glad to talk with the MS Society of SA & NT. These wonderful people had a nurse I could talk to, they had resources and a monthly newsletter with all of the up to date information I wanted.

I still wanted more though, and looked for a book that would tell me what I wanted to know about how MS was going to affect me. I couldn’t find that book, so I decided I would write the book I wanted to read … I got to work, once I was able to, and with help from the MS Society SA & NT, I did the necessary research, and applied for funding to get a mentor to assist with writing this information book/memoir all about how MS was for me, and all I knew about MS from how it, affects, medications, treatments, everything I could think of.

I applied for and received a grant from the Richard Llewellyn Arts & Disability grant program to pay a mentor to help me write this book in verse, an idea I had that felt like a touch that added a different touch to this book. A verse memoir about a chronic illness, not every person was able to do that! Being able to write this book, and to then get it published again with assistance from the MSSSA&NT, this was an empowering thing to be able to do, when my body had let me down in such a disabling way. I was able to get copies printed of this book with the Society’s printer at a very good rate, and sold that first print run. I’ve since printed more copies of this book, and still sell copies every now and then. Being able to do something like this, that many able bodied people would love to do, but haven’t done is empowering too.

So yes, MS has given me things to be proud of – a book that has helped me and other people with MS, greater knowledge about self publishing, greater knowledge about doing bigger things than I thought I could do. I know that if I decide to do a big thing, I will be able to do it, because I know so much more about these things than many. Knowledge is a powerful thing, and being able to use that knowledge in a big way, is super powerful!

My medication has changed since I was first diagnosed, and the med I am now on is much easier than the weekly injection I began with. I began with Avonex, and am now on Gilenya, a tablet I have every morning, simple! I feel more in charge of my body, and I’m glad to feel that way. I started MS with a walking stick and a cane, and now they’re in the back of my car, unneeded. I hope things stay this way, but knowing that things could change. I hope if they do take a turn for the worse, I will again be able to find the help I need.

I am living a great life, with more books being self-published, and with the writing group I’m President of doing good community things, Yes, I’m very happy indeed!

Welcoming Gratitude in, Daily!

Having gratitude to the good things in life can help those good things to grow, the more you are grateful for things, the more things you find to be grateful for. I like the idea of having to find the things I am grateful for, for a variety of other reasons too.

So this challenge I have set for myself, is to write, or at least note things I am grateful for, every day, and note them here, on this blog. The attitude of gratitude helps me to maintain a positive attitude to life, and who wouldn’t want to have that happy and positive attitude, every day?!

This blog is the place I’ve decided makes the most sense to do this, Multiple Sclerosis can bring challenges to life, but meeting the challenges, which I almost always am able to do, is certainly a major thing I am grateful for!

So today, what am I grateful for? I am grateful for my husband who does so much to help keep my life in order. I am grateful for the lovely man who is printing my next book for me. I am grateful I have many lovely friends who care about me. I am grateful to have these crazy pharaoh hound dogs in my life, and for the schnauzer (protective and not crazy!).

I am grateful for the rain we’ve had recently, but am also grateful for the break in the rainy weather for a day or so. I’m grateful for Nature and everything good from Nature that is in my life – sunshine, clouds, creatures, the sky, moon and stars.

That’s enough for now, I will be back tomorrow with an update on what I feel grateful for then! If you have a gratitude journal, or something similar, I’d love you to leave a comment here, and tell us about it, and what it does for you!

Happy World MS Day!

One day, I hope I can be standing up there with a microphone, talking about why I celebrate the idea of a happy World MS Day. Happiness and MS don’t always seem to go together well, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. If you look at things from a different point of view, you can see other ways of considering things.

me making point at book launchThe MS Society in South Australia, for instance, is having a book launch tomorrow, in honour of World MS Day, and in honour of the many people who are members of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of SA & NT, and who took part in the making of a book all about MS.  ‘Multiple Sclerosis: Many Stories, Many Symptoms’ This book was written by people living with this disease, in many different ways.

The diversity of different voices and different stories, show how this disease, whilst it’s the same disease, can have quite different effects on different people. On person may have eye problems, another weak muscles issues, another may suffer from crippling fatigue that makes even getting out of bed exhausting. Or someone may have all of those things, some of them or some other manifestation of Multiple Sclerosis.

I’ve been seeing excited people talking about this event that’s happening tomorrow, with some people lamenting having other things that will prevent them from being there. I’m one of the excited people, even though I don’t have any words in this book. I know how exciting it is though, to see your own words in print, and I definitely want my own copy of this book. The MS Society is to be congratulated for doing this wonderful project, and I will be thrilled to see my newly published cohort – writers with MS!

I have my own book about MS, the one that gives this blog its name – If I didn’t have MS, I would never have had Mick the Stick and Jane the Cane … I do have MS though, and because I’ve had it for more than the seven years that I’ve known about it, I feel I can talk about it. I am comfortable talking in public – I am one of the coordinators of a monthly Poetry Reading event – Gawler Poets at the Pub. This event has nothing to do with MS, but it’s an important part of my life.

I’ve been involved in poetry readings, and writing in general, for over twenty years and I’ve gone from being scared at the start, to now being comfortable in front of the mic. In fact I’m so comfortable in front of a mic, I’m now a member of a public radio station – PBAFM 89.7, where I and some friends have a fortnightly radio show called “Words Out Loud”. This show runs from 11.30-12.00 am, on the second and third Tuesdays of every month. My world is full of many things, and many of those things have absolutely nothing to do with my disease. Would I have been doing these things if MS hadn’t been there though? Who knows.

Being able to do things, even, or perhaps especially, with MS being in the background, what an empowering thing it always is! If you find your disability empowering too, I’d love to hear about it, please leave a comment here!

So, One Year almost done, the next almost Begun …

I had an overall good year for 2016, my health was relatively good, and I have been happy (more or less) with my exercise regime. (Not really … could do better) Anyway, my writing and poetry lives are going well, I still spend too much time on Social Media, but I’m beginning to get better responses to my Twitter tweets.

Life is made up of many things – health, friendship, family, creativity. And that last one went quite well this year, with one book self-published “Doggone It! Mindfulness from a Dog’s Point of View”, one book edited by me, and with poems in it myself “Winged Pods – Anthology of Hope” Front Cover– this book contains responses to the terrible fires in Pinery South Australia that happened in late November in 2015.  Another book is one published by Ginninderra Press “Tense & Still”  which is a book of poetry about the various creatures I see in my life. It’s a fine book, and I am proud of it.

Next year I will (self)publish another book, a follow-up to the one from this year. This one is planned to be launched in late July 2017, and will be titled “Dog Buddhas Thoughts”. It will be in a similar style to “Doggone It”, with some illustrations and text written from a dog’s point of view again. I almost feel like I should woof, I spend so much time in the head of the dog that lives in my head Buster the Dog, who ‘writes’ these books with me.

These fun writing things keep me relatively busy in a way, and happy and connected with the wide world. Being outside watching my dogs is good for me too and the four of them have many ways to make me laugh! I also have met some wonderful people and have had fun times with them through 2016, and intend seeing them often in 2017 too.

Life is good!

What Does MS Stand For?

A good question, with many answers. The real answer is that it stands for Multiple Sclerosis. That’s a pretty boring name though for a really strange disease. There are lots of far more interesting answers, and I like to play with words, so here are a few of my alternate answers.

My favourite answer that I tell myself is that MS stands for Mighty Special, because I reckon that most of the people I know who are living with MS are mighty special people for sure! More Stupid is another possible answer though, because sometimes the cognitive problems MS can cause can take away your ability to give snappy answers and you’re left with dumb and slow answers because you’re brain and the nerves don’t work as well as they used to.

More Slow can be another answer at times too, because those nerves are slowed down and so your body is slowed down too. Magic Solutions is a more positive answer – having a chronic illness, one that might be with you for the rest of your life, can lead you to thinking up some amazing ways to get through your life in a good way.

Medical Swami – when you have MS, you may well have been through some of the medical ‘solutions’ that don’t cure you, but if you’re lucky, may help you with some of your symptoms of MS. So for some people, their medical people might look like some kind of wonderful people who can cure all that ails them. Time usually takes the shine off though, and the medical people become merely human again …

Another possible answer might be My Stash. Some people with MS find their own tablets, or foods, or something else they use to help, that they are sure their actual doctor/s may not approve of, so they don’t mention it to them. And hey, if that works for them, OK. It’s dangerous though, and it’s always best to check that things don’t clash with each other – bad things can happen that way.

My Supporters is probably the most important answer to this one. I love and cherish those who are helping me through this MS life. From husband, son, sofa dogs

dogs, mother, friends, and all of the people from the MS Society SA & NT who do great work to help those of us in South Australia and Northern Territory, and all of the other wonderful people working to help, I thank you all. Without the support I receive, my life would be a sad and sorry life indeed.

So that’s it from me, do you have any other answers you’d like to share with us?