By Stacie Prada
Multiple sclerosis affects brains and spinal cords, and damage affects sensations, movement and cognition. Each person experiences MS uniquely, and what helps one person might not help the next. The right treatments, medications, diet, coping skills, life changes, fitness regimens and lifestyles are different for each person. They also change throughout a person’s life. What works well for one person at diagnosis might not work for the same person years later.
The same is true for every person with or without a chronic illness. One size doesn’t fit all. Yet, I feel strongly that everyone can benefit from approaching ourselves, each other and the world with curiosity.
Always be curious.
Try it as a mantra when anticipating hard things. When I’m curious, I’m more likely to listen and learn and less likely to judge and react. Considering there may be more to know helps me have a mindset of compassion for myself and others. Noticing changes in my body with curiosity helps me notice what helps, what hinders and how I may be able to adapt. Awareness breeds a compulsion to act.
It’s natural to feel sad, afraid and alone when living with an illness. People try to understand, but they aren’t living in our bodies and can’t ever really know our experience. When feeling judged, dismissed, pitied, or faced with unreasonable expectations, it’s tempting and reasonable to defend ourselves. When I’m able to stay in a place of curiosity, interactions and my feelings always fare better. Whether someone else is out of line or not affects how I behave less and reveals more about them than about me.
Feeling joy and fulfillment are another opportunity to approach with curiosity. What about it felt good, and how can life choices breed more joy? Noticing and knowing the source can help shape a satisfying life.
Always Be Curious.
Stacie Prada was diagnosed with RRMS in 2008 just shy of 38 years old. Her blog, “Keep Doing What You’re Doing” is a compilation of inspiration, exploration, and practical tips for living with Multiple Sclerosis while living a full, productive, and healthy life with a positive perspective. It includes musings on things that help her adapt, cope and rejoice in this adventure on earth. Please visit her at http://stacieprada.blogspot.com/