My journey to self managing my MS
I am a self confessed anorak when it comes to my MS. I get notifications from several MS publications and blogs that I read every day. I think I could blag my way into any Neurology Conference as a Consultant and present my latest thinking on stage - an MS version of Leonardo diCaprio in ‘Catch Me If You Can’.
You can lose yourself in science though. And pretend that it is giving you a handle on the MS runaway train that you boarded without your agreement! But being an amateur expert on treatments, supplements and lifestyle doesn’t change the picture. I am still a person living with MS who is facing an uncertain future. Big gulp!
So how do I go about self managing my MS?
I have had to zoom in and zoom out to really understand the journey that I am on. And I have come to accept some big home truths that maybe you will also recognise.
In my life I have experienced trauma that made me feel helpless and unprotected. I have overcompensated by becoming a ‘people pleaser’ for most of my life. I am an expert at anticipating others emotions and trying to solve other people's problems to stop me feeling helpless and unprotected.
When I tried to express myself in the past, I was not respected and listened to by influential people. So I disassociated from my emotions, as my environment was too stressful and upsetting to process and digest. I am still in contact with that stressful environment.
In the past I suppressed my truth and my boundaries. This left me unable to discern when situations, personal and work related, were becoming unhealthy or even abusive. I became comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Today, I am grateful for the realisation that managing my MS is about managing my thoughts, feelings and behaviour. I did not come to this realisation on my own. Close family, friends and professionals guided me on this journey to self management. I am truly grateful to them.
How far am I on my self managing journey?
The start was difficult. I felt resentment, rage and hostility toward past actions and people. I felt a great deal of frustration for not communicating better how I once felt or still feel. But after a while I was able to push through the anger. And more importantly learn the skills to stay away from damaging people and set boundaries around those who are still in my environment.
I know that I need to be mindful of situations that are becoming unhealthy. I have had to relearn how to trust my gut instincts. I tell my children that your brain can deceive you but your belly never lies!
And so my journey of self management continues. And I try to practice self compassion and set a daily intention to be kind to myself.
I don’t know if any of this rings true for you. Either way I will ask you the toughest of questions: “how have you been kind to yourself today?’.
Hi, I’m Treasa Anderson, a Digital Marketing Specialist, originally from Dublin and living in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
My hobbies include trying to motivate myself to walk and do the occasional HIT session but it's really feeding an insatiable appetite for property programmes (please send on your recommendations)
I became an MS anorak shortly after being diagnosed in 2015, and can talk for hours about DMTs, treatment strategies and environmental factors. I even completed the 'Understanding Multiple Sclerosis' course from the University of Tasmania.