Tag Archives: ms

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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Positive Attitude equals a Positive Life?

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/how-your-attitudes-affect-your-health

The article in the link above is a great one, that says many of the things I believe, regarding having a positive attitude to life. It says that having a positive attitude to life and to ageing can help you to in fact live a longer life, and who wouldn’t want that? Probably people who are hating the life they’re living might not want it, so I guess they’re bringing what they want, then.

If you have a negative attitude to life, and don’t look forward to the great things that are there for you to see, experience, and if you instead get out of bed dreading the passing of the day, every day, well you may well not have to endure you life for so long. But having that attitude is a dreary way to go, that’s for sure.

My general attitude to life is to find the good things and enjoy them, and to find ways to minimise, improve or otherwise make better, the bad things that are there. I am an optimist and am happy far more times than I am unhappy. I also have things planned in my future to look forward to, good things, things that can lead to even more good things. I have great friends, and my family love me. I know I am a lucky person, a very lucky person.

This luck in life I have seems to affect my health as well. I have a chronic illness, MS (Multiple Sclerosis) that can habe many bad effects on the lives of people with it. I have certainly had some of those bad effects, but I am almost always able to have only minimal ill effects from my MS. I am on a medication that seems to work well for me, when many other affected people have far worse results from the same medication.

I have no proof that my positive attitutude is positively responsible for this result, but I’m sure that it helps in some way or other. Expecting things to work well, and being greatful when they do, these are tools to keep myself living a good and positive life. Do you believe your attitude is responsible for how you are, living with MS? I’d love to hear about it, if you do! Feel free to leave a comment here.

What Disability Can Be Like

When a person has a disability, and receives payment from the government, to assist them in the living of their daily life, there are expectations from their family, friends, and the greater community. Some of these expectations are fair enough, others though are damaging and can cause further harm to someone who is already ‘doing it tough’.

If someone can walk five miles on one day, then other people may think they will be able to walk that distance, ignorantly assuming there was no harm to that person, or at least challenges to get over afterwards, for their feat of the day before. This misapprehension is the cause of unrealistic expectations that can lead to blame being laid, and stress caused to the person with the disability.

It is a scientifically proven thing, that stress can cause damage to a person. When you have an auto-immune disease, the last thing you would want is further damage to your body, which is already stressed.

http://www.ulifeline.org/articles/450-good-stress-bad-stress

Expectations lead to unrealistic results, and when these unrealistic results aren’t met, it leads to more stress coming from others, and from the person themself. Being kind to themselves is a much better way for people with disabilities to treat themselves, and also for the people who know them to treat them.

If you see a person who seems to be ‘slacking off’, do you know that is true? Could they in fact be resting so that they are able to do what they want or need to do? Please don’t judge without knowing the truth of it!

For instance, personally, I am quite active in my community and in the poetry world in my part of South Australia. But to be able to do the things I do, I am fortunate to have my husband, who does almost all of the usual things a woman might do every day, in terms of housework, dog walking and so on. He does the hard work so I am able to do the things that bring good to my life.

Gardening, for instance is something I like to do, as is public speaking. clover burrs

me making point at book launchI do what I can, without over doing it, because I have had far too many days after, when I was only able to get up, and go from one end of the house, if that. I have Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and one of the worst after effects I have from MS can be the fatigue that can come from overwork. complete bone-weariness is terrible, and I want to do all I can to avoid that. It is much more that simply feeling a bit tired.

Never assume you know what life is like for a person with a disability. Unless you have that disability, you probably will never know.

Mild Autumn Days

We are close to the last month of Autumn, in Australia, where I live. In my part of South Australia today we had one of the lovely mild Autumnal days which I love so much. Gentle breezes, a slight bit of rain early on, and then lovely kind sunshine to dry the clothes I’d hung out before lunchtime.

chptr12 pic

(picture by Simon Kneebone)

Hanging out, and later bringing in, a load of washing can tire me out quite a bit sometimes, but today it was a pleasure to be out there, taking care of this task that I now often share with my husband, who is also my carer. I don’t know why it felt so easy for my today, but I know I’m very glad that it was, because who knows if that might last.

The thing about having MS (Multiple Sclerosis), is that you never really know what you’ll be capable of doing, until you’re doing it. You have good days, as I did today, and then you can have the bad days, when simply getting up and taking the full laundry basket outside is too difficult. After having had MS for eight years, I’ve learned to make the most of the good days, and rest up on the bad days.

Having things to look forward to doing, and enjoying lovely days as today was, these go toward more good days, I think. I have a writing related project that is exciting me, and will enable me to do something to help other people who are struggling in another way. It’s a creative writing project, and anything creative writing related is something that fills me with joy. Helping others, and bringing new creative writing into the world, this is blissful to me, it feels like my life’s work.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This idea of my life’s work is a good one to think about. I know that a full-time job wouldn’t be good for me, it would be too stressful and would interfere with my sleep. I know this from past experience, and I won’t go through those stress levels again, because I hate how my body reacts to that. Weakness and worry don’t go together well, but that’s what I get from stress. This is not something that doing workshops does to me.

With creative writng workshop kind of work, I feel alive, invigorated and thrilled to be doing something I know that I can do, and do well. I’ve done this work in a variety of different places, with people of varying degrees of literacy levels, and it always comes up with some truly special writing from at least some of the attendees. I hope for this, and also healing, for the attendees at my next project!

It’s Autumn time, and my life is going fine!

 

The Price & the Value of Damage

The chronic illness I have, that somewhat limits my life, is Multiple Sclerosis (MS). This illness has an unknown cause, at this point in time, although there is much work going on to find a cause, a cure, and treatments to offer to those of us suffering the effects of it. I currently take a medication that is helping to limit the effects of the damage done to my body and mind, I hope, and hoping further for a possible cure at some stage.

In the meantime though, I am taking my meds, eating a nutritionally sound diet (most of the time), garden produceand doing the things that I love to do, and that bring me the most joy in life. Creative writing, involvement with community, watching my favourite sports, being with friends and family, doing these things helps me to be happy. That first item, creative writing has been a tool I’ve used throughout my last thirty or so years, writing about abuse, and about this pernicious illness.

I have books about both of these things, the first a poetry collection on sexual abuse, cover picand the second a memoir I wrote quite soon after MS came into my life. When I was diagnosed I looked for books that would help me to find ways to live a good life with MS, but couldn’t find what I as after. I then decided to write that book myself, and it certainly helped me, as I know it has helped others.

Now MS is an autoimmune disease, with symptoms being the result of the body attacking itself, particularly the myelin sheaths of the Central Nervous System. This attacking causes lesions, or scarring, which in turn slows the passage of nerve impulses throughout the body. At the moment, I am more or less, in remission from these symptoms, with only milder symptoms compared to how I’ve been when I have been in relapse.

When that had occured, I’ve suffered from readibly discernable muscle weakness, leading to trips and falls, dropping things, and also leading to fatigue that takes much more than a simple rest for a few minutes to get over. So yes, I feel damaged by this disease, as I also feelk damaged by various bad things that happened to me in my early, childhood and teen years. There has been talk about the way traumas such as abuse, certainly including sexual abuse, can have long lasting effects on the body. I read things like this and wonder, did that early abuse I suffered from as a child and then teenager lead to me getting MS?

I will probably never really know the answer to this question, but I wonder. in this wondering, I read things about it, I ponder things, I write things (on this blog and in other places too). On day, I would like to take my wonderings to a broader audience and talk to other people about these things … me making point at book launchTalking to people and sharing stories, these are age old ways community has always had to deal with problems, and I have certainly felt benefits from being involved in such things.

When you suffer, and think deeply about things happening to you, you can sometimes find profound answers to the things that trouble you, and sharing those answers with other people who are also suffer can help both yourself, and those others. I responded to a post on Facebook today with the following thought:

“Only those who can admit to their damage can truly heal, both themselves, and others …”

I sometimes surprise myself with my own wisdom, as in this case … I’d love to know some of your own bits of wisdom, please feel free to share them here, with a comment!

Yes, Meditation Can Help With MS

a rose by any other nameIf you have MS, and you’ve looked around to find things that can help you that aren’t medicine, you may have heard about meditation, and wondered if it might help help. There has been some study into this issue, and various studies have shown that various forms of meditation can indeed help those with MS, in different ways. It isn’t a cure of the problems MS can bring, abut it can bring some benefits.

https://www.mindful.org/5-minute-mindful-breathing-practice-restore-attention/

The link above talks of one simple form of meditation, where you simply focus on your breathing, slow and steady, breathe in … breathe out … and on and on for five minutes. You are to simply focus on your breathing, and if thoughts come to your mind, as they probably will, you simply acknowledge the thing that caught your attention and focus back on your breath.

Many people feel they failed at meditation because of these thoughts that come to them when they are ‘tryng to meditate’. But to consider something as natural like these thoughts coming into your mind as ‘failing’ is wrong. If you can simply sit and breathe, slowly and steadily, focussing on each breath then you are meditating.

Meditation and mindfulness can go together and they go together well. I took part in a month of mindfulness classes, one day a week, for a month several years ago, and I feel more serene about my life, and the things that happen to me, the bad things, seem less troublesome to me these days. Life happens, reactions to life occur, results shape themselves, and so life continues happening …

When you have MS, some of the things that happen can be far from nice,  but when looked at from a broad prospective, as meditation can bring to you, options can come to you from the place you can be as you meditate.

Wellness is a State of Both Mind & Body …

I am well, sort of most of the time. I say ‘sort of’ because I have MS (Multiple Sclerosis). which causes some problems for me, in various degrees of trouble. At the moment, I’m feeling more or less OK, able to easily stand up and sit down, and with a reasonable amount of energy available.

sofa dogs

Earlier today, while being able to stand up and sit down, I was feeling extremely tired (fatigued), and I lay down for a while when I got home from visiting my mother. I was able to get up again though, and then go outside with my dogs, who had all been left inside the house, and needed to go out for a toilet break …

a rose by any other name.jpg

I am happy with the various things I do in my life, my various volunteer things, and helping a little around the home, assisting in cooking our meals occasionally. Once upon a time, I did almost all of the housework, feeding and cleaning up after the dogs, and cooking the main evening meal and often lunch on the weekend too. Then MS came into my life, then my husband retired and took on the role of carer for me as well as husband.

Things are working out in good ways, mostly. I have the things I’m interested in that my husband isn’t, he has his things he’s interested in that I not, and there are other things we’re both interesting in, that we do together. After being married for well over thirty years, things are going well, but I know that one shouldn’t take things for granted.

I’m grateful for all of the things my husband does around our home, and I do my best to make sure he knows this. He is older than me and has his own health issues, but fortunately is also well, most of the time, more often than I am. Even though my health is definitely affected by MS, I do my best to have a positive attitude to my life, and my happy attitude, I think, helps to keep things friendly and happy in our home.

I’m interested in the ideas about how your attitude to life, whether positive or negative can have on your life, both mentally and physically. The article explains more about this idea, and it’s certainly one I believe in. My life is a good one, I have family and friends who love me, and I have few people who don’t like me, as far as I know … If there are more people who don’t like me than I realise, that’s sad, but I won’t stress myself about it, because I know how badly stress can affect my body.

Happiness is much better for me than stress is, and not just for me, having a happy or positive attitude is good for us all. Friends, something to look forward to, feeling you’re doing good things for yourself and for others, these all help a person to be happy. Happy mind, happy body. Do you have things in your life that you look forward to? Please share these happy things with us all here 🙂

above the fish pond