It's Not All in Your Head: Anxiety Depression Mood Swings and Multiple Sclerosis Paperback – Nov 1 2010
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Yes, you will learn a great deal more about MS, follow some interesting personal stories, and find portions that are just directed toward people with this disease. But you will also learn more about yourself, especially if you have any sort of chronic illness or condition. As a person with chronic illness and chronic pain myself, I found this book to be a blessing!
Dr. Farrell calls anxiety and depression the "ugly twins" and she is absolutely right on target. Almost anyone (chronic condition or not) could benefit from reading this chapter. She also has self-help techniques, coping strategies, how to handle guilt, and an entire chapter devoted to improving memory.
Each chapter ends with further reading options for you to delve deeper if you so desire. Don't miss the "Qaulity of Life" questionnaire in the back, along with the exercise chart. The possible protective and healing qualities of exercise are explored in this book, too. That's another reason that I think it's unfair to just think of this book as only helpful for folks with MS.
People who do have MS will find the larger font size (compared to a typical paperback) and good contrast provides ease of reading if you have visual challenges. The larger book size is also easier to hold and handle.
Although the text cites many scholarly studies, Dr. Farrell breaks them down into bite size nuggets and helps clarify and illuminate them so it's not dry or intimidating. If you are medical professional like I am (I'm an RN), you will feel confident in the sources she draws her material from.
Prepare to not only gain a better understanding, but feel empowered. As Dr. Farrell says in the book, "Okay, we can do this." After reading "It's Not All in Your Head," I believe she is exactly right.
Another important aspects of this book is it really is a reference guide as well, providing practical and easy to use tools to help anyone living with a chronic illness and the anxiety, depression and mood swings that often accompany them. There are several tools to help people evaluate their status and plan strategies to compensate for the effects and loss associated with their condition.
I have found it difficult to explain the cognitive problems I have due to MS...many people think I just forget where I put my keys, and try to be good intentioned by saying they do that too. Even my family and friends sometimes have a hard time understanding my limitations and the resulting frustrations. Dr. Farrell's book is an excellent resource to share with family and friends to help them understand what can be very hard to communicate.
As I slowly hobbled into my first nuerologist's office during my initial MS attack, he asked me "how are you feeling, and I don't mean mentally?" At that moment I knew it would be impossible to find another soul who understood me. I felt alone and almost like a hypochindriac...certainly there were many people with much more advanced MS than me, who were absolutely more worthy of the time and effort of the medical community. It took me a long time to realize that my experience with MS was certainly mine alone, but that did not make me an less entitled to the care and understanding given to other chronically ill patients who just had the rug pulled out from under them. If only I had Dr. Farrell's book back then I might have felt that validation much sooner. The important thing is that we all have this educational, supportive, friendly, conversational and non-judgemental resource now. Thank you Dr. Farrell!
Over the years of my research I adopted many strategies to manage my PPMS and was delighted that Dr. Farrell confirms these strategies. For example:
1. The Resilience-Building Behaviors on page 42 is of paramount importance, in my opinion, whether one has depression or not, because it will enhance one's positive attitude as a management tool and also mentioned on page 197. A positive attitude is must, no question about it.
2. Dr. Farrell hit the nail on the head when it comes to exercise, and obviously whether you MS or not, but it is mandatory for PwMS to exercise on a regular schedule, i.e., no excuses are allowed. I agree with her assessment that exercise can regulate the immune system because it "rewires the brain."
3. Dr. Farrell's sage advice on being your own advocate is right on. Naturally, it requires effort on one's part, but it will enhance your well being, it will put you in charge. You must acquire knowledge regarding MS. as Dr. Farrell states, "knowledge is power."
Although I have never experienced depression, Dr. Farrell explains important findings that are made clear, e.g., a PwMS depression may be related to their immune system and not a psychiatric issue. But most important of all is that strategies are provided to deal with this type of depression.
The bottom line: Adopting the strategies recommended by Dr. Farrell cost zero dollars.
Dr. Farrell's writing is easy to understand because she uses everyday English rather than medical technical language so the reader does not need to struggle when reading. In addition, references are provided as well as suggested readings.
I don't know, MUST BE SOMETHING THAT IS IN MY HEAD. .