The wave of negative feelings ALS splashes onto you is tremendous, so you must look into that very seriously. I believe this disease to be fear itself, for many reasons.
Firstly because it’s definitely one of the most dreaded illnesses, its very announcement is associated with a death sentence. Then, if we focus on the symptoms, we see a resemblance with what terror is like : shakings, paralysis, throat so tightened you can’t speak… etc. For example, anyone who’s been involved in a car accident knows what I’m talking about. Fortunately, all those symptoms disappear after a few seconds. But us, we feel it all the time.
As many other diseases, I think emotions play a central part. I won’t go any deeper on the pointless debate around it. But regardless, those feelings are truly there, and make our lives a nightmare. So what do we do?
Anxiety, stress, panic, tears, being on the edge, all those emotions are obviously linked to the “queen” of negative feeling: fear. Directly connected to and privileged by our death.
How do you fight against fear?
I read some books about it and I’ve concluded: you don’t fight it. It’s natural and it’s a part of us, to fight it is to fight yourself. You also can’t ignore it or hide it under the mat because it’s real. You need to accept it, welcome it and analyse it. Face it. But it’s very complicated, especially if you have to deal with daily doses of stress, like losing your mobility or respiratory difficulties, as well.
So, guess it’s time to ask for help.
This is just my opinion as a layman but I’m against chemical treatments when it comes to fixing this kind of problems, at least not in the long run. Western medicine (admirable in numerous domains) constantly wants to battle the symptoms by ignoring what causes them; the latter being too esoteric for a scientific method which only swears by proof.
A qualified therapist like a psychologist can help you see clearer in that fog. Yes, you have to start by understanding; and that can be very confusing. The therapist will help you sort it out. If you’re lucky, a loved one can be the one to help you realize everything. Once you enter or pass that step, you can begin to treat yourself.
What is the goal? FINDING PEACE.
Out of all the trials you’ll encounter, as terrible as they seem, peace is by far your greatest ally. Its quest has to become obsessional, your everyday life. Without peace there’s no happiness. How do you find it?
This is the start of a spiritual discovery that will make you a better person.
You’ll need a bunch of tools, that you’ll use daily.
To me, the first one is, in terms of efficiency, mindfulness meditation. It’s very easy and accessible for everyone. Basically it gives your brain space to breath, to take a break. It really needs it, because it’s being harrassed by negative thoughts that distract it from its job: taking care of us.
There are two things we cannot stop in our body: the heart and the creation of thoughts. Meditation doesn’t stop the continuous flow but it helps us relax, to let go of the impact those thoughts have on us. It’s a breath of fresh air. And you can feel the results immediately.
There’s a multitude of exercises on Youtube, I particularly love Christophe André’s.
A second therapy is important, and far too less taken under consideration in my opinion is also massotherapy. The point is to relax, so I’m not talking about kinesiotherapy (even though it’s helpful for our condition as well) but simple relaxing massages. And if they are given by close friends or family, then it’s a double win. “Nothing is so healing as the human touch” as Bobby Fischer used to say.
If you practice both activities everyday, you’ll see a huge change in only a few weeks.
For the believers among us, praying is a powerful form of meditation, and added to this no less powerful belief which is faith, it’ll be your unfailing pillar in this ordeal.
Finally, to avoid those negative thoughts from being too overwhelming, it’s important to occupy your mind. With games, projects, cultural activities (music, movies, books, listening, reading…). Your loved ones will play a great part here, they need to be full of offers.
And for the more complicated cases, like me, hypnosis can truly work magic.
As for example, after I woke up from a coma in which I had a week long terrible nightmare, I was terrified and couldn’t sleep anymore.
After 5 days without closing my eyes, even with medication from intensive care, the situation was becoming serious and the possibility to put me back into a coma was brought to the table. And then I had an hypnosis session with an emergency nurse. That night, I slept like a baby. For your information, I recall that a vast majority of meds that are supposed to put us to sleep can cause respiratory failures, which is, obviously, extremely not advised for us.
I know there’s a lot of other solutions on that matter, but since I haven’t experimented them, I won’t talk about them. Sophrology, acupuncture, kinesiology, essential oils, etc. all have interesting results too.
But beside methods, I think the most important thing is to find the right person, the right therapist. You need to feel comfortable.
I hope this has been helpful, don’t hesitate to ask questions!