Tag Archives: support

MS and Mental Health: An Unspoken Bridge

There’s a common misconception that Mental Health effects just the brain, not other parts of the body. Did you know that Multiple Sclerosis can be aggravated by mental health issues?

How does this happen? Stress. 

Stress causes an inflammatory response in MS patients and should always be taken seriously. When someone is having a mental health episode their body immediately is heightened with stress whether they have anxiety, depression, PTSD, or any other diagnosis. This can cause flare-ups and even possibly an MS relapse.

What can we do to help ourselves stay on track? When someone with MS is being treated with medication for a mental health diagnosis it’s important to have open communication between their psychiatrist and neurologist. Steroids and MS meds can throw off someone’s emotional state of mind so it’s good to be monitored by both healthcare providers especially if they are on a new MS medication. This will reassure the patient that their body and their mind are both being taken care of properly.

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A lot of healthcare providers are simply unaware that this is such a struggle for many of us. The way I’ve worded it to my psychiatrist is that when my body is in distress it stresses out my mind, and when my mind is in distress it stresses out my body. It’s an endless cycle that can be definitely frustrating. It makes our bodies ache, and can make it difficult for us to go through our day to day routines.

The battle between the body and the mind is a long and tough battle but knowing what to be aware of is always a way to keep yourself safe. Please be sure to reach out to someone if you are ever struggling.

-Becca Elizabeth (A Punk With MS)

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Forgiving and Letting Go Of The Past?

You’re sitting in a chair relaxing on your front porch watching the sunset when suddenly a feeling of sadness arises. It causes you to feel guilty, useless, and empty. Why are you so sad when you are looking at something so beautiful? The answer? Your mind. Memories.

Why are thoughts so powerful? They can make us laugh, make us cry, and put us in the most positive mental space or negative mental space we’ve ever been in.

There sadly isn’t an easy answer. 

Numerous studies are done on human psychology all over the world, and we aren’t even halfway to learning about the human brain. There is so much information we have yet to find.

My point is, the past can be difficult sometimes. Traumatic events re-wire your brain in a way it wasn’t wired before. 

A lot of damage is done after so many events which can make it difficult to recover after a mental breakdown. 

Letting go is hard. So is forgiving. 

For you I have five words: One day at a time.

-Rebecca Elizabeth (A Punk With MS)

The Old Me, A Memoir

I miss the days where I didn’t have to pay attention to what I ate, or how hard I pushed myself.

I miss the times where I bathed in the sun with not a care in the world. Nowadays when I’m in the heat too long, I overheat and feel ill.

I miss not having so many doctor’s appointments and having a completely open schedule to do as I please during the days I didn’t have to work.

I miss working a lot.

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I miss the days when my body would not attack itself, the days without dealing with one migraine after another, and the days without having to take so many pills.

Today I say goodbye to the old me, and focus on today the best that I can. I will forever miss the old me, but a part of her will always remain. You can say goodbye to the old you too, it doesn’t mean that you have to completely forget her/him. Take care of yourself and try to accept your current situation  (as tough as it may be.) Dwelling on who you used to be all the time can reopen old wounds and cause you even more unnecessary pain. You can do it, I believe in you.

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– Rebecca Elizabeth (A Punk With MS)

To The Ones Who Never Feel Good Enough

This post is dedicated to the ones who always feel like they have to hold the weight of the world on their shoulders.

You are an incredible human being that puts light into the world wherever you go.

You are a shining soul, that helps others when they feel like they have fallen into an infinite darkness.

You have held others together, even when you didn’t feel put together yourself.

You are the selflessness that a lot of the world lacks.

You are truly more wonderful than you’ll ever see or know.

I can say this because I am also one of these people.

I wonder if one day  I’ll ever feel “good enough” even though I know I’m a good person.

There are days when you’ll want to give up or even feel weak, but you need to keep moving.

You need to remain strong, you’ve made it this far. Rest and recharge if you need to. You are only one person. One person can make a difference, but in order to care for others, you need to care for yourself.

The world needs your kindness, don’t let it make you dark.

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– Rebecca Elizabeth A Punk With MS

 

 

 

 

Multiple Sclerosis; Coping With Challenges

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic illness that causes your body to attack its own central nervous system. This leads to myelin damage and misfiring of the nerves. Myelin is the layer that covers and protects the nerves. During relapses (or attacks)  Your body attacks the myelin in the brain, optic nerves, and even the spinal cord. These attacks cause numbness, tingling, weakness, fatigue, nerve pain, and even possibly the loss of mobility later in life. (this is for some MS patients not all.) Permanent damage can cause a lot of obstacles for patients who are trying to live as normal as possible.

The list of Multiple Sclerosis symptoms are long, but being able to cope with the everyday changes, challenges, and obstacles is one of the most important things.

 

1. Find A Support System In The MS Community

The MS community is one that is widespread and always readily available. Before the wonderful world of the internet, patients had to read up information from the small number of books locally available and got any other information on the disease directly from their neurologists. There wasn’t as much research done on MS back then, and it was hard to find others who understood the disease. This lead to more patients feeling alone, isolated, and extremely depressed.

Nowadays at the click of a button, you can find friends who also have MS and even endless topics about the disease. The world is at your fingertips (literally) so go out there, make some friends, and educate yourself as much as you possibly can. Being a part of the community will make your hardships and challenges much easier because you can relate to others who understand.  I use M.S. Connect and MS Pals on Facebook. These are great groups for support.

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2. Know It Isn’t The End

You may be newly diagnosed or may have been dealing with this disease for years. Regardless of the situation, days get tough and yes it can be very frightening. Remind yourself that the medical field is advancing daily. For example; scientists just found out that our blood molecules can possibly define what type of MS we have and what treatments will help us.  This is a huge breakthrough in MS research. We haven’t found a cure yet, but we can’t give up hope.

 

3. Pick Up A Hobby

Hobbies are a great way to pass the time, especially for those who are on disability. If you do happen to work still, a new activity or hobby could help lessen your depression. For me personally, I write, I draw, I even play guitar sometimes. When I don’t have the energy for that, I read or I watch my favorite T.V. show. The distraction helps me get through my harder days, and being productive in writing makes me feel like I am doing something that benefits others since I no longer work. You can find something that will help you too. Check out Creative MS Expressions, a community on Facebook where others with MS share their art and creativity. Mary Pettigrew (The founder of MS Pals) Runs this group and is a huge MS advocate in the community.

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4. Get Involved

If you feel like you want to help make a difference or just need to get out of the house, The Multiple Sclerosis Society has many different events where you can meet others and fundraise for the fight against Multiple Sclerosis. If you want to see when an event is happening near you, be sure to click the link! There are also other opportunities they offer that include advocating and volunteering.

5. Take Care Of Your Body

Having MS means being aware of what you put into your body, and making sure you exercise. This will make you stronger over time and can help combat fatigue. Healthy eating (such as reducing inflammatory foods) and taking vitamins are some simple yet very effective ways that can help you through this MS journey.

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I hope that this article helps you overcome your current MS challenges and obstacles. Remember that you are not alone and that there are many people who are here standing/sitting right beside you throughout this battle.

-Rebecca Elizabeth A Punk With MS

 

 

 

Spirituality and Religion? What is it Truly?

Spirituality can mean many different things. To some people, it means meditating, helping the needy, or even worshipping the earth. In my humble opinion, there isn’t a “wrong way” of being spiritual. Hell, collect different types of rocks and gems if that’s your thing. Worship whoever you want, go to church, or stay home and vibe out. The ball is in your court.  Spirituality is a journey, so is religion. It’s not something that comes naturally to many. Be yourself, and do whatever makes you happy. Your beliefs are just that; your own. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

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-Rebecca Elizabeth A Punk With MS

“I Am The Sky”A New Branch Of Support

Mental health is always a topic that carries stigma. Some people are open about their mental illnesses, and others are not. Thomas Dyer, a caring member of a small Maine community in Orono, is taking a step forward to help those who are in need of someone to talk to for mental health support across the country. He know’s what it’s like to struggle with mental health issues, and wants to give back. He started a confidential 24/7 support line called “I Am The Sky” He has even started a Go Fund Me page in hopes that people will donate to help his non-profit organization grow even further. I spoke with Thomas today, and asked him a few questions about how this idea came about, and asked him about his hope for I Am The Sky’s future.

 

Me: Thomas, I understand that the topic of mental health is something you are very passionate about. How did this organization start?

Thomas: I Am The Sky is something that I’ve wanted to start for so many years. It’s something I’ve had in my brain for far too long. I grew struggling with depression and severe anxiety, and I was surrounded by people who I felt didn’t understand. I felt so alone, and that feeling itself makes the idea of suicide that much easier. After years of this feeling I came to realize that if people like myself could come together and help one another, we could in some way save each other’s lives. And since that day, I’ve been trying to put this project together.

Me: How did you come up with the name “I Am The Sky”? Does it have any significant meaning to you personally?

Thomas: I Am The Sky has so much meaning to me. This phrase alone kept me going. A while back I was told by a wonderful person that anxiety, depression, and fear, are all clouds in the sky, and I was the sky. And no matter how cloudy it got, no matter how bad the weather was, I’d still be there and the clouds would go away, because I Am The Sky.

Me: That is the most beautiful story. I absolutely love the name. What is your mental health story? Only share what you are comfortable sharing.

Thomas: My mental health story is lengthy I won’t lie. I’ve suffered from severe depression, social anxiety, and was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was a kid. It was all so debilitating for me, I felt like I was trapped. I found a wonderful agency that helped me learn to cope with my problems. And after years of being a client I became a worker. I felt so alive helping people, and in return helped myself.

Me: What are your hopes for I Am The Sky’s future?

I hope that someday in the near future we can become a well known source of help for those who need it. I hope that we can, even if by a little, help people feel less alone.

Me: What would you like to tell people who are reading this article right now?

Everyone who knows me knows I say this alot, Be yourself. Love yourself, everything about yourself. Be different, and create. This life has so much to offer. There will always be a struggle, someone putting what you do down, but forget them. Show them why you are here. But always remember, You’re worth it.

 

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Follow I am the sky today to help support others who are fighting mental health issues. One like, donation, or share could possibly save someone’s life. Here are the links:

I Am The Sky On Facebook

I Am The Sky On Instagram

I Am The Sky Go Fund Me

-Rebecca Elizabeth A Punk With MS