Jackie’s 5 Top Tips!
- I lowered my expectations of others. Doing this made me instantly happier. Crippling illness literally knocked me off my feet and left me very vulnerable and reliant on others, plus it disconnected me from all my usual social groups. Expecting less enabled me to feel much more in control of my situation.
- I Quit the Junk! My body was screaming at me. Even triple DMARD and steroid therapy didn’t get me into remission. It was very frightening. I embarked on a the same programme as Danny above. It’s been up and down – there are so many contributing factors to the illness, such as stress, but when I’m in the zone, it’s pretty much up. I’m down to just the MTX now and in ‘remission’. I’ve learnt though, that whether I recover completely or not is only half the story. It’s believing I’m doing the right thing that makes me feel I can live well with this illness.
- I have a zero tolerance policy on cruelty. I don’t eat animals and I don’t fight fire with fire. I don’t research negative information, slander or practice scare mongering. I surround myself by amazing people who I love and respect and I consider myself very lucky.
- I’m careful where I put my attention I have learnt that what I focus on grows stronger. It’s true. When I focus on the good in people, it’s what I see, when I focus on all the frightening ‘possibilities’ regarding this illness, I get anxious and depressed. I can, of course, be a world class expert at meltdowns and whining, but then I’ve been very ill so I figure the occasional tantrum is acceptable. Still, I work hard not to stay there, and I do this with my most powerful healing tool which is…
- Getting Creative! Before I got ill I was a musician. Writing wasn’t even an ambition of mine. I literally only did it because the least affected part of me were (unusually), my fingers – so I could just about type. Then I got addicted. I’ve just finished my first novel – a dark and gritty Young Adult fantasy fiction tale filled with secrets and lies and terrible betrayals. It’s been the perfect vessel to distract me from the trauma of the last few years – a whole, expansive inner world that I created because my external one wasn’t so great. It’s found me some new friends too (real people, not fictional ones!), and its title, ‘The Boy Without Wings,’ was the inspiration behind the name for the charity. You can find out more about my writing at jackiemorreygrace.weebly.com If there is one good thing that has come out of being sick, it’s definitely learning to write. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.
Without Wing’s Chairperson, Jackie, talks about how she has learnt to protect her mental health during times of difficulty.
“I was hit very violently with seronegative inflammatory arthritis (I have elements of both PsA and AS) in the Summer of 2013. Finally diagnosed in the December, I entered a long and difficult period of recovery. Even if I wasn’t still recovering from a major anxiety disorder – the result of 3.5 years worth of relentless, hypothyroid induced tinnitus – protecting my mental health during this bleak time would have been a challenge.
Luckily, by the time I got sick, I was already a ‘graduate’ of The Linden Method – a distraction and diversion method of anxiety recovery, so I had good tools. However, with all my distractions (mostly sport, music and social based), suddenly lost to a crippling illness, I knew if I didn’t act fast then I risked a major mental health relapse.
You can find out more about the Linden Method, here: www.thelindenmethod.co.uk”
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