is for Attitude
So, if you are following my challenge month of blogging (I know, it is only the third day, but I have to reaffirm my goal.), you know that I presented my personal MS Alphabet for public scrutiny. What better lesson plan to follow than to use that alphabet as a guide for the next 26 days? (Although retired, once a school teacher, always a school teacher.)
Attitude. Do you have an attitude? Sure, you do. Everyone has attitude. The slang vernacular normally places this in a negative manner, but attitude is actually defined by The American Century dictionary as 1. opinion or way of thinking 2. behavior reflecting this 3. bodily posture; pose 4. position of an aircraft, etc., relative to given points. (I thought this was altitude but who am I to argue with the experts?)
Okay, so other than the reference to aircraft, this pretty well clears up the meaning of the word attitude. So, yes, we all have one.It is up to us how we present said attitude, though. Sometimes attitude gets in the way of the pleasures we could other wise be enjoying. that is NOT good. Having multiple sclerosis is admittedly an over- whelming way of life. There are so many aspects of attitude that must be addressed.
According to Multiple Sclerosis for Dummies, (https://www.amazon.com/Multiple-Sclerosis-Dummies-Rosalind-Kalb/dp/1118175875) we must address our own attitudes before confronting those of others. First up is that sexual elephant in the room staring on page 136. While the authors recognize the fact there is and are problems n this area, they offer some much needed help and suggestions, as well as explanations for both women and men.
This leads to a discussion in Chapter 9 of "Getting Your Head around Problems with Mood and Thinking. (Like how I avoided any further narrative about that sexual thing? You just witnessed me outside my comfort zone.) Until we can come to terms with our own emotions and reactions to the MonSter, we cannot expect other folks to relate or even become interested/involved in this new existence of ours. I mean, really? Some of us became Warriors literally over night. That can be really intimidating to people who do not possess the super powers gifted by the MonSter.
Many of us work at altering our mood swings and coping mechanisms with pharmaceuticals. I have been taking Zoloft since my diagnosis. I didn't choose it and didn't even realize that was one of my prescriptions at first. when I approached my neurologist recently about discontinuing this, he shook his head and said in his cute southern accent "You need it."
My concern is that I have been taking it for fifteen years. Isn't that long time to ingest a drug? I do notice when I slack off, though. I turn in to a weeping, muttering mess.
We deal with far too many issues to add depression to the list, so I will continue for now.
In 2005 the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's National clinical Advisory Board published the "Goldman Consensus Statement on Depression in MS" (Multiple Sclerosis Joiurnal volume 11, pp. 328-337.) MS specialists were concerned about the inadequate attention paid to the seriousness of this condition. "The Goldman Consensus Group, made of experts in the field of MS an psychiatry, has provided recommendations for the recognition, diagnosis, and management of depression. We strongly urge you to tell your physician about this statement and discuss any changes in your mood."
Fortunately, my depression levels have not plummeted, but when I feel down, I adjourn to a quiet place and talk to my cat, God, or my stuffed teddy bear Hendricks. Juvenile? Maybe. Efficient? Totally.
The attitude of others, I have found, is much more challenging than my own. I believe this is where the depression comes in. I just have to keep telling myself that the intimidation factor is the reason for this. Wouldn't it be nice if those people I am supposedly intimidating really understood that the challenge is seven-fold for me?
Disclosing your MS in the workplace is a BIG deal. I really didn't have a choice of who or when my condition was announced. My co-workers were pretty much with me through the entire ordeal. I owe mountains of gratitude to the faculty and staff at Miller Junior High School. Even though the actual school is no longer in service, I still get (sincere) messages from my past co-workers from time to time. When I transferred to the position from which I retired, I was forced to go through the actual first-hand explanation of my condition. It was rough.
I had to explain why I sometimes used a cane since that was the only visible indication of a physical condition. Although I refused to miss work, my productivity level began to decrease with my fading energy level. Although getting things out in the open sounded good, it was difficult. I really didn't want to discuss the ugliness of my MS with people who seriously did not get it, no matter how hard they tried.
I survived quite comfortably for several years, but shortly before I made the retirement decision I realized that this was the most necessary move, not just for me, for my students. I really could not be there for them. They knew it. The administration knew it. The parents knew it. And I knew it. (Okay, I am getting a bit chocked up. This was a difficult decision and two years in I am still fighting my regret.)
I allowed ATTITUDE to guide me, though. In adapting and adopting a positive persona, I treated my mother to a drive to the state's capital where I singed those early retirement papers before we had lunch. Signed, Sealed, and Delivered.
Of course retirement offers all kinds of challenges other than missing my career of thirty-three years. Finances are often challenging (I have a college bound teen at home!); insurance details change (I have a college bound teen at home who refuses to brush his teeth!); and a feeling of uselessness can easily build a nest in your life. With a positive attitude we can prevail.
Since retirement I have:
1. learned how to knit
2. joined a bowling league
3. started a MS Support Group
4. written and published my fifth book (https://www.amazon.com/Bombs-Bursting-Air-Lisa-McCombs/dp/188265871X/ref=sr_1_1? =books&ie=UTF8&qid=1488548969&sr=1-1&keywords=bombs+bursting+in+air)
5. spent A LOT of quality time with my mom
Seeing that little list in print just brought a tiny smile to my face. It is going to be a good day because I have a positive attitude.
It's Friday. Be positive!
Love and Light,
Something to look at when you're finished with me:)