Tag Archives: Stress Management

MS and Anger: “Falling the Fuck Apart”!

So you wanna know about “anger issues” when dealing with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis? This question caused me to go back into my blog post’s and find this post. I knew I MUST have written about it SOMEwhere. I did…and it’s a joke. “To Not Unravel”, clearly, it was early on in my blogging and I hadn’t come to terms yet with how “politically correct” to be. Well, I’m over THAT! How bout ” Falling the Fuck Apart”.

First Christmas as a new Mom, Ho, Ho, Ho.

First Christmas as a new Mom, Ho, Ho, Ho.

When first diagnosed I was cool, but about four years into it, I became a beast. As my husband would say, “A PitViper”. I was unbearable…even to myself. I had no idea it was my MS. I thought I was just exhausted (I now know, THAT WAS MY MS) I had two small children though, and I thought it was just life, not MS. That was until one day I noticed my brain was boiling. I sat down on a footstool in the kitchen and called my sister-in-law, the nurse. (What the hell was I thinking; I should’ve had my Neurologist on speed-dial) She told me to eat some bread and take some ibuprofen. I did that and went into a quiet room to meditate. The boiling feeling stopped.

Now that I’m twenty years into it, I realize “Hindsight truly is 20/20”! That wasn’t the first time I had noticed the “boiling” sensation and I NEVER mentioned it to my Neurologist but, I did recognize that this problem was:

  1. Physiological
  2. In my brain (where I now understand much more about the presence of lesions)
  3. Something that I could stop, with the right tools, knowledge, and sometimes drugs.

The doctor that I DID go to about this was my Psychologist. Yes, it was MS related. Although I didn’t know that at the time, what I did know was that I had to have someone to talk to about it. That someone had to have enough skill (and sense) to know that, I wasn’t crazy. She listened (once a week) and then threw me headfirst into “Mindfulness Meditation”. That is what saved me.

Is this the face of a beast?

Is this the face of a PitViper?

I started with the book “Full Catastrophe Living” by John Kabat Zinn.

JUST DO IT, and remember these things:

  1. Regardless of what anyone else thinks, you are not a bitch (or bastard)
  2. You are still be a good mom, dad, daughter , sister, or brother.
  3. The MOST important thing in MS is that you’ve GOT to take care of yourself…”By Any Means Necessary”.

 COMMENTS:

Have you experienced anger issues with MS or any other Illness?

Have you come to manage it, and if so…how?

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Filed under Mental Well-Being, Stress Management, Uncategorized

LOOK Ma…No Relapse!

An extremely stressful few weeks WITHOUT an exacerbation .WooHoo!I am here to report that I made it through and I feel like it was without a doubt, due to my regular Mindfulness Meditation practice.

Black-woman-meditating1

This is how I’ve found meditation to work: Consistent practice builds up my resistance to stress which is sometimes present in daily life, like, getting kids off to school or going to work. Stress however, is not something that we can always predict, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, the holidays, or a divorce. I have found that I am most resilient against these sometimes sudden and large stressors, as a result of my Mindfulness Meditation. Does it always work? No. I believe that my last relapse was triggered by one of these large life stressors. One that I never would have even suspected of being able to reek such havoc but, in hindsight I realize that I had let my meditation lapse.

I feel the need to clarify here that “Meditation has Nothing to do with Religion” ( As explained here in a video interview with Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra) As a young person, that thought would have made it impossible for me to take advantage of its stress and overall health benefits. Although many different religions incorporate meditation in their practice in different ways, it is not a religious act.

Note to self: Let’s keep a disciplined practice…disciplined.

Comments:What have you found to be helpful in your stress management?

References used below:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com

http://www.mayoclinic.org

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Filed under Stress Management

“How to Meditate in a Moment”

Black-woman-meditating1

Learn to meditate in a moment with this hugely popular animated video, based on Martin Boroson‘s book, One-Moment Meditation. Reduce stress, improve focus and find peace … right now. More info and online training at http://www.onemomentmeditation.com.

I was well into my Mindfulness Meditation practice when my husband shared this video with me. Boy, how I wish I had had it in the beginning! I was introduced to Mindfulness Meditation by my psychologist at the peek of an exacerbation. That was 15 years ago and I have practiced it every since. Sometimes more committed than others but always feeling it’s benefit. I began with the book “Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Kabit-Zinn, and have since recommended it many times. During an extremely  stressful time in my husband’s career I was even able to convince him to take a weekly meditation class with me. After that experience, he recommended it as well. It is safe to say that it has a positive effect on our lives.

Thoughts and Comments:

What has your experience with Mindfulness Meditation been? Do you have suggestions for how you are successful…or thoughts on why you think you are NOT? If you meditate, when and how did you know it was working? How long did you take to feel results?

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Filed under Mental Well-Being, Stress Management

Drunk Guy Update

washer

Some of you have asked, “What happened with the dryer?” Long post short, it survived completely, Mr. Maytag made no money. I think the fabric softener sheets really did help! There must have been half a box of them in there so, they did absorb a bit, but more importantly, they reduced the splash. It was cleaned up immediately. The dryer was not turned on which meant the hot air hose was never contaminated.

The real issue here is stress management which some of my friends could not BELIEVE. My response to this fiasco, like all of my responses (on a good day) came directly from a place of hard earned well being. Sound impossible…well it’s not. I have put a great deal of energy over the years into being well and at the TOP of that list has been stress management. Please understand that it has come at a price: Months of rising at 5am so that I could meditate (mindfulness meditation) for 45 minutes before work. This meant going to bed at 9:00 regardless of what else might happen, two small children and all. This meant doing yoga WITH the children, just to get it in. This meant leaving my husband on his own, with everything, much more than I wanted to. This meant leaving a career that I loved, which meant cutting my family income drastically. This meant setting personal boundaries to keep toxic people that caused me stress, out of my life.

I could probably go on and on, but I won’t.

More on Mindfulness Meditation

Thoughts and Comments: Have you been introduced to Mindfulness Meditation? Is there anyone in your life that you have disconnected because they were a definite trigger for stress? What stress management methods have you found successful?

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Filed under Mental Well-Being, Mind-Body Connection, Stress Management

Today, my MS won

I’m Sorry Kate;Vday5 today, my MS won.

Dress rehearsal for the play I’m performing in, “The Vagina Monologues” was today. I was STOKED! I’ve been practicing my script everywhere! I’ve recited it for my beautician, my doctor, and the lady at the dry cleaners. I’m taking it to the GROCERY STORE next! I am reeeea-dy!

I get to rehearsal and…You Want Me To WHAT? You want me to DANCE! Ugh…yeah. I know I told you I would when you called me on Tuesday, but not THIS! I don’t know WHAT the hell I was thinking.

When I walk into rehearsal there are women shaking their bottoms all around me; from Emma who is 9, to Angela who is 69! They’re learning and teaching the dance to each other, and having a blast.

“Break the Chain” dance video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fL5N8rSy4CU

Now, what Kate asked me to do on Tuesday was this: will you dance just some? You can join in with us on the “cha, cha, cha”, and then do your own thing in place while we do the rest. When I saw all of the activity that would be going on around me, I freaked. Just standing there, I would stick out so much. I might as well be “pole dancing” in the middle of the floor!

I want to say I’m sorry Kate, because I:

  1.  sat around and pouted
  2.  started a coupe with 2 of the other girls to revolt and not dance, and then…
  3.  (this is the big one) answered you with a “hell no” when you simply asked me, “do you think you can get Kevin to help with this part?”

I don’t even think I said it (the hell no) loud, but, the room F-R-O-Z-E! I looked at the 3 little girls in the room with a, gasp; and YES, they had heard me! They were frozen little statues, staring right at me! Then one of them said, “Oh shoot! I’ve heard worst then that! and with that, the dancing and the chatter commenced. All except Kate’s face had gone back to normal. It was stuck on, shock, frustration and disappointment.

You see, Kate is our director; she is nothing but, talented, sweet, and kind. In return, she deserves nothing but the same; and on my good days, that’s all I offer. THIS was a very bad day; I took it out on Kate and, I’m sorry.

This was one of those times when having an “invisible” disease is problematic. When we started rehearsals several weeks ago, I was just coming off of using my cane. Kate saw very little of it; and probably doesn’t notice my extremely careful gait. How could she? I work very hard to look normal; like everyone else. In the beginning, I always did my monologue from a chair… no one else did. Now, I stand to do my monologue TOO. What Kate doesn’t know, is that a strong wind would knock me over, or…make me dizzy. More realistically; a sharp turn, a dark room, an uneven floor, or…lots of women dancing very close and all around me. That would do the trick. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized, what had thrown me into such a foul mood. Not Kate or the dancers. It was me being blindsided once again, by my MS with its very subtle nudge. “Remember me. All the pretending in the universe and you won’t be able to do THIS; or even, play it off! You lost your cool, the whole room saw it, and froze.” Today…my MS won.

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Filed under Mental Well-Being, MS and Domestic Violence, Stress Management

My Zen Colonoscopy and Endoscopy

I had to have a colonoscopy and endoscopy because I have Iron Deficiency Anemia. The concern is that, I might be bleeding inside? I entered into my “Zen place” as if on automatic pilot. I could afford to be upset by NOTHING.

Black-woman-meditating1

The “prep”, which everyone says is so awful, was a piece of cake! I had to drink a Gatorade/ Miralax mixture and a tiny bottle of stuff that tasted like Sprite. All laxatives. Then, just stay near the bathroom, and wait. I don’t know what all the fuss is about.

The actual procedure was even easier. Because my husband and I were running a little late, I entered into my “Zen place”, as if on automatic pilot. I could afford to be upset by NOTHING. At times of potential stress, I am quite good at this. I keep my mind in this moment only. Not 5 minutes behind, nor 5 minutes ahead. I focus on my breathing, taking very slow, deep breaths. I speak very little, and when I do, it’s much slower and even in a slightly different tone of voice. Deeper. At times like this, my “Zen place” is a great buffer against stress. It keeps me calm.

We get to the hospital and the staff is amazing. They begin to prep me immediately.

Nurse 1: Do you have any religious or cultural beliefs that might make this procedure difficult for you?

Me: Well…um, it’s not religious, but, it may make the procedure a little difficult for me. I am depressed and having some separation issues as well, so I need to have my husband with me when I go to sleep, and when I wake up.

Nurse 1: Oh don’t you worry! When you wake up, I’m going to go right out and call him in for you.

Me: No…you don’t understand (sniff, sniff) when I go under and when I wake up, I need him to be (eyes fill now-voice cracks) RIGHT HERE! (Hand on bed-rail indicating…right here!) and tears begin to fall.

Nurse 1 and Nurse 2: Oh weeee understand, and don’t you worry! One of them summons Kevin, who is standing near by, to come to the bed. We’ll have him right here now, and when you wake! The last thing we want is for your blood pressure to go up, so that’s NO problem!

Great…I’m calm and back in my “Zen place”. Nooow, they can start the I.V. to put me to sleep.

I look at Kevin standing by me and say, “Honey, this stuff is not working. I’m not EVEN sleepy!” He says, “That’s because it’s over!

I don’t know what all the fuss is about!

To learn more about relaxation techniques for stress relief, click this link. There are many ways to find your “Zen place”; which is best for you?

Leave comments please. I’d love for you to share how you respond to stress, and what keeps you calm.

 

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Filed under Long Loving Marriages, Mental Well-Being, Mind-Body Connection, MS and Depression, MS and Iron Deficiency Anemia, Stress Management