If you have stumbled upon this post, you may want to read part 1 first. Click here to go to 2016, in Review – Part 1.
… having 8 years of a definitive diagnosis of MS to then be told it is my brain playing tricks on me is something very difficult to come to terms with. As Katherine keeps reminding me, it is amazing news in so many ways, but it has also changed so much of how I have viewed the last 8 years… I feel this time could have been so different had I had not been given that diagnosis and instead given appropriate help with therapy or stress management. To think that so many of the debilitating symptoms I have experienced could have been avoided, and so many of the toxic medications I have taken were potentially completely unnecessary. It makes me quite angry. To think about how much heartache and despair this diagnosis gave me and my family at times is hard to deal with.
I know that I need to put it behind me and move forward with a potentially much easier and exciting future ahead of me. I have to focus on only the positives of this new ‘diagnosis’, or retraction of a mis-diagnosis, and be grateful for this new start.
The Trouble with Getting Help…
To help me with the speech and psychological issues my consultant and GP referred me to speech therapy and a psychologist. I also got to see a Physio (for the first time I might add!) for a few exercises to help control my body and improve my balance, and a lesson in walking with a stick, just in case I ever need it again. The speech therapy went well; giving me steps to follow to help control the vocal tremors, and manage the speech problems. 10 months on, and I am yet to see or speak to a psychologist. Accessing someone or a service to help me deal with the psychological issues I have has been incredibly stressful in itself…
Once I do start therapy I will put a post together. I originally thought I would be given CBT but it was decided that this wouldn’t be the best course of action, and that I needed a specific form of therapy that helped people with health anxiety, and with conditions where stress manifests in physical symptoms. This comes from a Psychiatric Liaison team, and I actually finally have an appointment set in February.
Through the whole process I feel as though I’ve been passed from pillar to post and back again. No-one seemed to know how to put referrals through or who could actually help me. I am so glad there’s now an end to it and I can finally start something to help. It just feels like getting help is the biggest challenge.
Another issue I have found with having an invisible mental health issue, is that people still have such a lack of understanding or acceptance towards it. Even close friends and family. I wrote about my frustrations here: Invisible Illness
Onto More Positive Things…
As the year went on my physical issues continued to improve and this happened at an ideal time; mentally I was really struggling, not dealing very well with stressful situations or managing my emotions, and getting myself into a state, and having anxiety attacks. But, due to the improvements in my body I was able to start running again; something I haven’t done for such a long long time. The release of endorphins during my runs helps my low moods, helps me de-stress and release my worries effectively. I started off slowly and with short runs of just a few kilometres but I’m now up to to 10+ kilometres per run, and really enjoying it!
In August we had our first big fundraising event for Adapting Life – the Clay Coton Country Fayre. It was an awesome day and we were so pleased with how it all turned out. You can read more about that here.
My family life this year has been amazing! I may have been difficult at times, what with treatment, etc… But we’ve had some magical moments together and I must say without Katherine, Jake, Poppy and my parents life would have been a lot more challenging and I do worry where I would have ended up without them.
In one of my previous post I think I’d mentioned my lack of enthusiasm for everyday life – for example moving forward with life plans. Well, as the year has gone on, and my health has steadied I have started to start to move forward again, which is super exciting.
Ringing in the New Year!
I saved the highlight of the year to the last few hours of 2016… Asking Katherine to marry me was by far the most nerve wracking moment of the year but also the most wonderful, joyous and exhilarating moment of my lfe. I have never felt love like this before and I cannot wait for the rest of my life with Katherine. She said yes, by the way!
Having began to steady my ship again towards the end of the year I am now really looking forward to 2017. There will be a difficult decision fairly early on with what do with stage two of Lemtrada, but other than that all I can see are all the positives!
If you want to see more of what we got up to in 2016 – you can also check out our Selfie 366 Project right here. We decided to record our year by taking a selfie every single day so we could always remember it from our own personal point of view. It was a pretty fun project to do, and we have a really unique record of our year together.