Emotional Hangover from MS - and what to do.

The MS got a hold of me, worse than it’s been in months.   But there were reasons.  Pushed beyond comfort by demands of life, it caught up with me.  And caught up bad.   

Often we talk about the physical pain of MS, the tremors, the spasticity.  The pain the comes from every nerve ending or the fatigue that covers us in a lead blanket.

And then the pain wanes and we feel better for a bit.  But the emotional sludge that remains behind is detrimental to our health and happiness.  

And boy did I feel it this morning when the day got started.  Frustrated, irritated and angry at life, my legs crumbled their way out of bed to get some coffee.  Crumbled for sure as there was no jumping for joy today.  

Why my?  Why this damn MS that suffocates me and keeps me jailed up in my body?  

Sure, I aim for happiness.  Positive thinking and all is great an my focus.  But today, I’m not going to fight it.  My emotions are way over the top upset and there’s no denying that I really I despise my MS right now.  

Unfortunately the angrier I get the more worked up my MS becomes.  This isn’t productive or healthy for anyone.  
Time to force a change! 

Yes, I’m using the word force.  Enter something beautiful in life:  A sit in the garden.  A chat with a friend.  A stroll through the neighborhood.  Find the beauty, grace and appreciation that is the bases of life.  It’s there but when I’m this worked up it’s hard to see beyond the tears. 

But forcing this is easier than it may seem.   Just sitting out in the garden for a few minutes is helping.  

1.  Breathe in deep to the chest.  
2.  Take the breath deeper, into the belly and gut and let it distend out as far as possible
3.  Keep taking in more air, aware of the beauty around you. 
4.  When full of air, sit a second then exhale deep.
5.  Exhale through the mouth, letting out everything dirty, angry and evil. 


Ahhhhh...  Feeling so much better already.  

Now, to remember this trick during the busyness of the day.  

Now that I can see straight and am calming down, time to record my issues.

Even after almost 20 years of this illness, I am still learning about it.  Today was a lesson learned.  After three days of physical hell, the emotional hangover was even worse.   Next time my body faces exacerbations from mismanagement I must remember this tailing wind of emotions that have entwined me. 

Ask Caroline! Join me at Belong.MS - Certified Life Coach and Living with MS since 2001

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MS Diet - Try this food, not that food.

One of the first things everyone asks me these days is if I follow a certain diet, or avoid certain foods.  The answer is a resounding YES.   I'd love to say that eating anything and everything is OK but it's not.  Just recently my diet changed, for the worse, and after six months my MS, along with everything else in my body, went absolutely haywire.

Not every MS patient should follow the same diet.  Everyone is different, just as their illness.  Recommend instead the trial and error method.  Remove a variety of food, one at a time, and see if it affects your MS.

Some of the foods that cause major problems include:

  1. Processed foods (too many additive, hidden wheat and sodium)
  2. Gluten
  3. Carbohydrates in general
  4. Dairy (don't include me in this group.  You do not want to be around me if you remove my cheese.  I get downright nasty).
  5. Red meat
  6. Other meat
  7. Fried food
  8. High sodium

Remove them for a good couple of months to truly feel a difference.  Three - six months is good.

Some folks respond well after going vegan or gluten free.  Some do better with a paleo type plan.  Try different things and feel how your body responds.  Make adjustments and learn from your trials.

Major triggers for me are gluten and carbohydrates.  For example last year, my diet went from about 10% simple carbs to more like 50% simple carbs, letting myself eat anything and everything that looked good.  For the first couple of months my body kept up, and my body stayed slim and fit.  Lean and mean.  THEN, it's as if someone turned off the metabolism.  Ready for winter was this girl with an additional 15 pounds.  Actually 20 pounds but already lost 5.  UGH and geez.  Nothing fits.  Haven't had this problem in 15 years.  The ONLY change made was allowing the gluten and carbs to take over my diet.  The meat consumption was down and grain consumption increased.  Portion sizes increases.  Eating is if readying for a marathon, without the matching calorie burning activity.  Time to make a change!

Reining in the cravings meant changing habits back to where they were last year.  10% simple carbs.  That means no six-packs of beer every weekend.  No bottles of wine with french bread and home made cheese.  Well, OK, we can have all of these as long as it's in moderation.  Key word here - moderation.

Just bringing this awareness to the forefront has allowed me to make many healthy changes.  The weight is coming off and the MS seems to be subsiding a bit.  This extra weight caused the MS to flare up bad, so looking forward to being the lean, mean fighting machine this girl was for the past 15 years.

Every person is different and so are their diet needs.  But I do believe strongly that clean, natural eating is the way to go.  Buying local, at farmers markets and learning to cook are two ways to increase one's appreciation for good quality food.  And we are what we eat.  Eat like crap, look like crap.  Eat like a healthy girl, look like a healthy girl.

Time to do this!