by Dawn Keegan
Waking up in TN pain is very disheartening. I went to bed the other night feeling fine – relaxed, happy, and looking forward to a fun weekend of family events. I woke up to searing pain in my eyes and ears. I know this pain. It visits me from time and time with its fiery knives and vice grip around my head.
Welcome to Trigeminal Neuralgia! I have this condition as a result of my MS, and it is the symptom that affects me the most. But does having MS and TN mean that I’m not healthy? Or that I can’t obtain wellness? I don’t think so!
I knew I wanted to write about health and wellness for this blog post. After this weekend, I think it’s perfect timing to explore what “health” and “wellness” really means and how we can achieve it.
“Freedom from disease or ailment”…hmmm. Well, does that mean if you have Multiple Sclerosis that you can’t have health? I think that’s a dangerous way to think. I consider myself to be a very healthy person, in fact. I just happen to have a condition that requires my attention and needs to be managed.
Vitality. I like this word. It means exuberant physical strength or mental vigor, a capacity for survival or for the continuation of a meaningful or purposeful existence; the power to live or grow.
I am most definitely a person with the capacity for a meaningful AND purposeful existence. Aren’t we all? I believe we all have something to offer – and that makes our lives meaningful.
So what is wellness and how is it different from health? Wellness is defined as “the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort”.
Oh – “deliberate effort”. Wellness doesn’t just arrive at your doorstep in a pretty box. It’s not a suit you can put on and make everything ok. It requires a plan of action and effort to carry out that action. Do you have an action plan? I do – it changes constantly depending on my ability on any given day. But I do make continuing efforts to strengthen my body and my mind. I need them both!
I believe that when we make the right efforts, we can achieve a better level of health and wellness.
We are all in different conditions, both physically and mentally.But if we don’t try to raise the bar, nothing will improve. Or worse, our condition can slide down. We are not our MS. We are individuals on a journey, and our body has Multiple Sclerosis. Learning to separate that in your mind can be a huge assistance.
For those who are wondering, the worst of the TN episode has waned over the past few days. (I needed a few days to finish this post) Fortunately, I can manage the pain with medication. I also find that regular massages keeps me in a better place. I’m trying acupuncture for the first time today. I’m hoping to get relief from the TN, and to be able to reduce the medication. More on that in another post!
Sending you all positive thoughts and best wishes for a pain-free day!