If you’re looking for a self-help book about multiple sclerosis, Allison Shadday’s MS and Your Feelings was to me the most helpful out of all I’ve read. Allison Shadday worked as medical social worker, and she worked with a lot of ms patients when she was diagnosed with ms herself. Because she found it hard to find counseling after her diagnosis, she decided to specialize in counseling for people with chronic illnesses, in the hope that she could give these people more support.
MS and Your Feelings is very useful and complete. It provides a lot of information about the disease, but mostly a lot of information about dealing with the emotional turmoil that comes with it and finding positive solutions to physical, cognitive and emotional challenges.
I personally found very useful the section about us trying to shield from intense feelings or emotions because we fear those experiences may trigger an attack. However “climbing into a shell and hiding from life won’t insulate you from illness” either, so she suggests ways to manage it all. Her suggestions are realistic, down-to-earth, not patronizing at all, and varied, because what works for someone may not work for someone else. I still use some of the techniques to alleviate stress she mentions and I compiled some of her advice in a file that walks around with me on my smartphone and that I check as a reminder whenever I feel insecure, stressed out or I’m just being mean to myself.
Shadday writes both from a professional and a personal perspective, which gives the book a sense of being close to you and trustworthy. She tells stories about herself, often with a sense of humor, that highlight many aspects being analyzed. If you have thirty minutes, this interview with her also gives a glimpse of many things you will find in the book.
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