In 1997 at age 22, I was unexpectedly diagnosed with MS (yep I’ve just turned 40!). As I reflect on my journey I recognise that how I respond to MS and life is unrecognisable to years ago.
Today as I sit in our home on the Bellarine Peninsula, I’m no longer filled with negative energy nor overwhelmed by a life filled with uncertainty. Instead I’ve been able to find joy in my everyday life and have a genuine excitement about my future.
Early in my journey I experienced many aggressive relapses. But faced with such poor health, I was hesitant to make changes in my life. I was living the life I had always planned. I’d finished university, commenced a corporate career and engrossed in Melbourne inner city living. In my mind making changes to my life, altering any plans I had for the future, signified defeat. And even if I had wanted to make any life changes, I didn’t know what to change or how. As a consequence my health suffered.
So how and why is my life unrecognisable?
On the surface my life has definitely changed. I left corporate life and retrained as a social worker. I left inner city living and moved to Bendigo. And today I’ve had another career change, moved to the beach and have just finished writing my first book.
But more significantly my life has changed behind the scenes. For example my approach to health and wellbeing has definitely evolved. My health is no longer an added extra, only considered out of necessity, when I have a relapse. Instead I’ve become proactive in my efforts to sustain periods of good health and maximise my functioning.
My focus has also broadened beyond MS. I am motivated to discover new ways to improve my overall physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. The appointments I go to, the activities I do, the meals I cook and the books I read are all about improving my overall wellbeing. The positive is: my experience with MS has improved.
Momentum has been the key
For me the key to moving beyond the darkness and frustration of living with MS has been momentum.
Years ago I felt stagnant, at the mercy of MS, and frustrated at how this disease was ruining my life socially and professionally. I’ve been able to move beyond this negative energy by actively seeking new perspectives that challenge the way I think about, interact with and approach my illness and life.
For me travelling overseas, studying social work, volunteering in Romania, living in a country town, exploring different approaches to wellbeing (I also see my neurologist) opened my world. I began to think about my life differently.
How is this relevant to Clickability?
I recently met Aviva at the WDV Barwon Hub meeting in Geelong, and was introduced to Clickability. What resonated with me, why I think this project will benefit many, is that it will also encourage momentum. By becoming part of the Clickability community people we will be able to gain new perspectives, which can only help in moving forward.
Not only will the reviews provide “insider information” which will assist in navigating through the service provider landscape. But others may contribute feedback on services that you haven’t ever contemplated, but could definitely benefit your journey.
I also think that blogs are a great platform for gaining insights. And often we are surrounded by sameness, which makes thinking differently about our own lives difficult. Whereas having people contributing that have different disabilities or illnesses, will provide new perspectives that will be applicable to our own journeys.
In case you’re wondering, I’m not working for Clickability! But I really do see the value of this new venture. As mentioned the key to me moving beyond the darkness of MS has been momentum – gaining new perspectives that challenge the way I think about, interact with and approach life. And I think learning from others contributing to Clickability will only enhance my journey.
Teisha has recently published a book ‘Life Interrupted’. For more information about Teisha, her book and new project Lives Interrupted visit www.livesinterrupted.com.au. On 25 June 2015, MStranslate organised a Google Hangout for Teisha’s book, Life Interrupted. It was streamed live on YouTube with discussion relevant to MS, but also anyone’s journey with an illness or disability: Teisha Rose: Life Interrupted.
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