In 1991 I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), which is a degenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. However, it affects everyone differently.
At the time of my diagnosis, I could not predict the journey that lay before me. All I knew was that there was no known cause or cure.
By 1988, I didn’t have the strength to cook a meal without dropping stuff all over the kitchen floor, and I had little function in the right side of my body. Bottom line: I had been floored by an ongoing health crisis. I was forced to sell my consulting business, and I couldn’t even write my name properly because I had lost the use of my right hand. In the past I would routinely walk for miles for fun and fitness. Growing up, I was an exceptional sprinter and basketball player. So I was used to being on the go and being active.
However, now I could no longer walk down the street in a straight line, which made me look like the town drunk. I was devastated because I had always been the one who solved everyone else’s problems. Now I had to solve my problem. And it was a big one!
In a desperate bid to recover my health I was walking in lockstep with conventional thinking. This means…you guessed it…I was taking a cocktail of prescription drugs every day as I dutifully went from one specialist to another.
But the pills didn’t make me better. They made me worse. It took a mammoth effort every day just to coordinate my legs and walk from the bedroom to the bathroom. Did I feel diminished by my chronic illness? Yeah, in a big way, and I wasn’t happy about it. I knew I needed a radical transformation. I believe things happen for a reason, and I believe the universe sends you messages. And when it does, you’d better listen.
My message came to me through a friend who introduced me to writing therapy (also known as therapeutic journaling or expressive writing). At first I saw journaling as a means to an end. And that end was learning to write with my left hand because my right hand was barely working. However, as I began to write — a lot — I noticed that it eased my MS symptoms, especially when I wrote about them from the heart with depth and honest emotion.
As I continued my writing practice, my MS symptoms improved. This made me want to write more. “Aha,” I thought. I was onto something! This got my motor running and my determination grew by the week, and then the day, and the hour. I decided I wouldn’t be stopped.
Through journaling I began to uncover, discover and recover my true self. I even tapped into talents I never knew I had. My personal transformation is nothing short of radical. It no longer pains me to speak my mind. From a physical point of view, I feel very good because I’m in tune with my spirituality, my emotions, and my mentality, as well as my physicality. I’m entering my fifteenth year without using prescription drugs, and as a result my health continues to improve. As for non-prescription pills, I can also proudly say that I am now in my tenth year without any over-the-counter craziness in my life.
I have not carried health insurance for many years because I no longer saw the point of paying $8,000 to $10,000 a year on the off chance that something is going to happen to me. Especially when insurance doesn’t cover anything that is going to help me stay healthy. I’m not saying everyone should drop their health insurance, but it has worked out well for me.
In addition to amazing health benefits, journaling has brought tremendous clarity to my life. I now realize that when I was on medication, it was because I had given into the head games the traditional medical system was pushing on me. We all need to take responsibility for the fact that at times we have allowed conventional doctors and the medical system to play God almighty in our lives without really questioning what we were being sold.
Journaling helped me dig into my thought processes, so I could realize what a bunch of crap I was being sold. I realized that if the medical establishment doesn’t know what causes MS — and they don’t have a cure — what’s a drug really going to do for me other than allow me to be a human vehicle that makes pharmaceutical companies rich, while I deal with mind-numbing effects? Through journaling I discovered my health was better served by making nutritional lifestyle changes. It was all about embracing change.
If you can write a shopping list, you can journal. Just put pen to paper and let your natural voice pour forth as if you’re having a conversation with your best friend. Just start writing about:
- An ailment you are determined to overcome
- Emotional pain you want to cast from your life
- Relationships that you need to release and put behind you
- Goals that you’re going to accomplish no matter what gets in your way
- The new life story you’re going to tell yourself each and every day
- The things you absolutely love about yourself that you take for granted
Write about anything you want. The key is to just start writing. The tone and theme of your journal can always change and evolve over time, so you don’t need to over-prepare. Just commit and start your journaling practice today!
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