Positivity through acceptance was fundamental in learning to manage my health condition.
Quite recently, I was diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder; this is, in simple form, a disorder in which the body struggles to cope with stress. When stress levels become un-manageable, the body’s neurological pathways are affected, which results in functional movement problems. When I encountered my first episode I was unable to use my hand and arm, and initially unable to walk. In summary, I presented with what could be misinterpreted as stroke-like-symptoms. I imagine that all of you, like myself, would find this experience extremely frightening and stressful. However, since this happened I have been given the appropriate support and help in accepting my diagnosis.
Although, accepting my diagnosis was half the battle. Functional Neurological Disorder does not show up on any form of test and for the most part, cannot be treated by medications. I think it is fair to say that many people with this diagnosis find accepting this very difficult, with no clear ‘proof’ of the diagnosis, it becomes difficult to understand that stress can cause such horrendous symptoms. Luckily, with my mental health nursing background, I was able to manage and understand – better than most – the complicated intertwining reasons as to how and why our bodies can react to stress in peculiar ways. Not to say that it does not impact my daily life regularly, but with understanding and acceptance I am able to manage my stress levels accordingly, to prevent another episode. By looking at the positives of what happened, I am able to identify that I should take better care of myself and find ways of coping with the differing stress levels life throws at me. When I found acceptance, I also found reassurance and support within myself that I was ok, and that I was strong enough to manage what could have taken hold of me. Positivity can bring positive energy, which, can be therapeutic in itself!