Enjoy this guest post from Wahls Health Practitioner, Alene Brennan from lesspharmmoretable.com
What emotions ran through you first when you heard the words, “You have MS?”
Fear… anger… relief… anxiety… defeat… all of the above?
It’s been six years since I heard those words from my neurologist, and I still experience all the emotions.
I feel defeated on my hard days.
I feel anxious on my MRI days.
I feel hopeful on my good days.
Can you relate?
Living with a chronic and incurable neurological disease is hard. Even if it is well managed, it can feel like it’s always on your mind.
When I was first diagnosed, I started building the right diet and lifestyle habits. (Hello 9 cups of veggies, welcome to my kitchen!) And I began feeling better in my body. It was a true gift and relief.
But as the years went by, I realized that I was overlooking a critical part of healing… managing my emotions. Maybe it would be better said as acknowledging my emotions.
The truth is I just wanted to skip over them.
I wanted to pretend as if they weren’t there.
I wanted to pretend like there wasn’t a part of me that was still a little scared about my future health. Because facing that felt too hard.
I’ve always been a silver lining kind of person, but in this case, it was preventing me from being truly honest with myself. And the reality is it was holding me back from my next level of health.
I had a decision to make.
I continue to ignore my emotions – or worse I could continue to pretend like I didn’t have any emotions to address from being diagnosed with MS – or I could look at this as an opportunity to explore another tool to heal my body.
It seemed foolish to ignore something that held the potential to elevate my health and create a better life.
I began by writing a letter to my newly diagnosed self. It enabled me to acknowledge the emotions that I couldn’t fully see in the storm of my diagnosis. Now years later, I could see them clearly, and acknowledging them felt like a giant exhale.
It was so validating. I went through a really hard season, and I tried to do it with a smile on my face, so my family and friends didn’t worry. But the truth was, I was worried.
A weight that I didn’t realize I had been carrying around since my diagnosis began to lift.
I continued with a journaling practice – even on the days that I didn’t know what to write.
Then there were the days that I couldn’t believe the words that were pouring out of me and onto the page. The honest emotions, thoughts, fears, hopes, dreams, all of it!
Where was this coming from?
It’s all been stored inside of me.
Emotions don’t just go away. Our body in a sense can store those emotions (and trauma) in a physical form.
How can I expect my body to fully heal without acknowledging this?
In the weeks and months that followed, I explored different practices – gratitude, meditation, affirmations, and more. I tried each one on for size to see how it felt for me.
While I’m still a work in progress and will always be a student of my body’s unique healing needs, I can honestly say that life feels easier.
The greatest gift in this process is that I’m more intentional with my time and energy. Not only do I feel that I have more of it, but I’m spending it on what matters most to me. I finally got clear on how to make my desired future a reality.
I guess you could say I found the gift in my diagnosis of MS.
Because I know that I’m not alone in this journey, I want to share this with you too. I consolidated the steps that I took in this journey into one place – and it’s free. I’m hosting an online challenge, “Developing a Thriving Mindset for MS” and I would love for you to join. You can check out all of the details at Developing a Thriving Mindset for MS.