MS, Stress and Meditation: Question of the Week

Cathy Health Guide
  • Dear Diary,


    I feel as if I’m riding on a roller coaster of emotions.  Aside from my usual treadmill of MS issues in my daily life, there are more and more, well, burdens that I’ve had to deal with lately.  Stresses. Worries. Deadlines. Chores. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night in sheer panic – my heart is racing, I am sweating through my pajamas and I feel scared to death.  What is happening? 


    As a child, the world was so easy to be a part of.  My parents took care of everything for me.  All I had to do was get good grades in school, keep up with my friends and go to bed on time.  Of course once I entered adolescence there were added responsibilities – but nothing overwhelming – like getting my driver’s license and going out with boys.  Young adulthood and marriage brought a new chapter to my life of taking care of another person aside from myself. 

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    Motherhood changed everything for good.  A new (and priceless) responsibility to this tiny human being who was totally dependent on me.  To me it was pure Nirvana.   


    My Dear Diary, I really feel I breezed through my thirties and forties.  Of course there were some things I could have done without, but overall it was a good time.  As they say, “Into each life a little rain must fall.” 


    Now here I am in my fifties.  My MS seems to be kicking up a bit more than it had in the last 25 years.  My legs feel weaker and number.  My fatigue level has increased.  I seem to have a heightened sensitivity to sound.  Since my menopause has now kicked in I can’t tell if I’ve been feeling sad and fearful at certain times because of the menopause, MS or life events.  I see people my own age getting sick, as well as the generation before me.  The movie The Lion King explained it best – it’s the Circle of Life.  I understand that.  Knowing it doesn’t make it any less scary.


    Lately, I began doing some basic meditation, and I think it’s helping.  I remember my first meditation lesson a few years ago and I loved it.  Very spiritual and extremely helpful. Now I expand on that by referring to Dr. Andrew Weil’s website for the Basic How-To’s of Meditation.  He tells us to sit in a comfortable position, back erect.  Try to clear your mind of the outside world.  Focus on your breath, and then breathe in as long as you comfortably can.  Let your breath out as long as you comfortably can.  Concentrate on your breath and be comfortable in your breaths.  Do this a few times with your eyes closed.  Take note of how you feel.  Next time you do this, try to inhale and exhale for longer amounts of time, always taking care to be comfortable.  This relaxes my mind.  It’s what I did when I woke up in my panic attack – I took slight breaths, and focused my full attention on my breaths.  It helped calm me down and soothed me back to sleep.


    Someone also gave me the CD Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach.  It provides different meditations and clearly explains what I am supposed to do and think while meditating.  So far I’ve enjoyed it.


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    I want to end by saying that I know life can be difficult and challenging.  MS tests me and my peers time and time again. I am, as I always say, a work in progress.  I am also a positive person by nature, and I believe that this blip in my road will be a brief one.  Life is too short to worry.  If I can channel my worries into meditation, gentle yoga, breath work, or simply enjoying more nature walks every week, I will be doing what I want to by seizing each and every day.


    Thank you for listening, Dear Diary.  Good night for now!


    My Question of the Week: What do you do during times of stress or crises to calm yourself?  As we all know Stress + MS = A Nightmare!  Please share your story with me, and all of us at Health Central.

Published On: June 19, 2012