TWvsMS | Charlotte Tourmente
With 21 years of MS to my credit, the blows of the blues are something I know all too well. But I have put in place strategies to better deal with them.
Talk to a loved one
This is one of the more recent I have put in place – thanks to a psychologist – and it is probably the most effective. I took refuge in silence too often when I was not well. I had no desire or the energy to talk about it, and didn’t; want to appear like I was complaining. But to speak about it with someone really alleviates the burden; verbalising things somehow seems to make things sound less worrying. I prefer to call a friend who has good listening skills and who is positive. He generally succeeds in making me laugh or gives me another light on what is problematic. This helps me to step back. Write an email or a letter if it’s too hard to talk about it directly (I’ve been doing this for a long time before being able to talk about it).
Take care of yourself
I make myself a nice bath, I take a beauty break with a relaxing scrub and face mask, and always eat what I like! All activities that don’t require much energy!Another great option that is even more effective: I love the massages that do good to my body and my soul. Just booking one and knowing that for 1 hour, I will be in 7th heaven enchants me!
Do an “activity” that appeals to you
Everyone has those fail-safe activities that help beat the blues – athletes get active, artists get arty and musicians get musical. For me, when I have a blues blow, I have developed a series of activities that correspond to me and that do not require too much energy. I put on my finest pajamas and watch my favourite TV series. Or, if I am feeling fit enough, I go to the cinema. I find it has two advantages. One – it helps me switch off and think of something else and two, it stops me “turning in a loop” dwelling on what is wrong. Singing also makes me feel good, so I put on my favourite tunes and I sing my heart out. Finally, the last activity that calms me, is to go and see a local art exhibition. I find I lose myself in the beauty of the paintings and everything else seems to melt away.
Write down what is wrong
This is the option I adopted as soon as I was diagnosed and has helped me a lot. Writing offers several advantages: just putting pen to paper helps me to put everything into perspective. It’s like the paper itself absorbs some of the melancholy.
After the hypnosis I had discovered to fight against my pains, I started to meditate. There are now many apps to provide auditory support and I highly recommend this activity. It gives perspective, it helps to know myself better, to recognise my emotions and to feel better enough to overcome them. After a session of 20 minutes, it’s like I had a good nap!
Think about the next day
We all have our bad days: but they pass and do not bother us for the rest of life. I know that after a good night’s sleep, I’ll be better. So I take my trouble, and choose among the various activities above to wash it away. And with time, I must admit that I get the blues less and less often, and less and less intense. We get to know each other better so that I can put more into perspective, that is the advantage of time that passes!
PS: Studies show that people living with MS suffer more from depression and anxiety than the general population. They can be different kind of blues, which might be more intense and deep. Which is why it is so important to talk to your neurologist because proper care really improves the situation.
© Genzyme Europe B.V.
Approval date: November 2017