Monday, November 10, 2008

Multiple Sclerosis And Emotions

My wife has always been emotional. She has cried at the oddest things over the years and has grown angry over things that I wouldn't think really mattered. Mood swings have been a fairly common thing in our marriage, and last week we learned a lot about how the body is affected by those moods. We attended a training for our job to help troubled children with their emotions. The thought process behind the class had to do with a child acting out because they have no other way of processing their feelings. Little did I know that I was doing a horrible job of processing my own feelings.

My wife and I entered the class with some apprehension. There were mattresses in the corner and a group of about 30 other house parents in the room. We knew the class was supposed to help us with children that were suffering from attachement disorders and other disorders that they faced. We spent some time studying how the human brain handles stress and fear and how our bodies are affected by these feelings. I have always known that my wife's emotions and feelings really affected her physically, but I had never seen a presentation like this. We realized in the morning session that our bodies can give off all sorts of indicators that we are stressed, and that we affect the emotions and feelings of everyone around us through our physical actions and movements. Almost as if we give off a subconcious vibe to everyone around us that their subconcious reacts to. Sounds a little weird right?

That afternoon we soon found out exactly what the teacher was trying to get us to understand. Each one of us was placed in a group with a mattress. We then went through a breathing exercise designed to open up our lungs and allow us to feel what was going on in our body. After the breathing exercises we each took turns on the mattress telling a story from our childhood. I found myself lying on the mat telling my story and then I felt a lot of heat radiating from my face. One of the instructions we had been given was to find how our body reacted to the story, so I told the instructor and he also felt the heat. Over the next few hours we were shocked as each person shared about their lives and we could literally feel the heat or other reactions that their bodies were going through.

This was an eye opening experience for my wife and I. I had always known that her Multiple Sclerosis was affected by stress but what I didn't realize was how affected my body was by stress. I had physical hot spots and pain when dealing with some of those feelings. We spent the next day and a half getting in touch with gut level feelings and experiencing how our bodies, minds and others around us felt after these times on the mat. I honestly understand now why stress is causing my wife so many issues. Dr. Swank always told us that one of the first things you had to do if you had MS was to control the stresses in your life. I think I more fully understand that now. My wife's emotions usually come flooding out in crying or anger, and her body is usually punished for it. Sometimes she will lose some feeling or become very fatigued after a stressful situation and then she has to rest for a few days to get it under control. The first day we were in class my wife cried and cried and cried. She explains it as if her body is leaking the tears out because she can't stop them. This was only day one, so we had no idea how she would be affected later.


Anonymous said...

Hello Cory! I just discovered your site and found you and your wife's stories and experiences quite helpful. Like your wife, I too have had emotional issues over many years long before the MS was diagnosed. In fact, the MS dx answered many questions that my husband and I had when I was "never quite right" and the doctors didn't really have answers.

Please keep sharing and I have bookmarked your blog. I hope that my husband will take time to read it too.

I too am a Christian and struggle where God is during some of my difficult times, but keep trying to keep the faith and hope even in dark days. You and your wife are a light to the world for those of us with MS.



Cory said...

Hi Paige, thanks for the comment. We have definitely had our struggles and continue to have good and bad days. Please let us know if there is anything we can answer for you. We are trying to be an open book for others so that our experiences may be able to help them. Have a great day!