I’ve just finished reading “Resilience in the face of multiple sclerosis” by Brandon Beaber MD and feel inspired, and with a new sense of hope for the future.
I got my free, advanced copy of the book before its release, as Dr Beaber generously tweeted about this offer to spread the word.
As a psychology graduate, I was interested in the concept of resilience and have often pondered why we all react so differently to a life changing diagnosis such as MS. Why do some of us fight relentlessly and remain positive while others sink into depression and despair? Why do some of us adapt and live happy lives despite our disabilities while others are driven to suicide?
The book answers these questions in great detail, and I was thrilled to learn more about MS as well as the psychology around resilience and suggestions on how to improve and maintain my own.
Dr Beaber describes 5 people he’s worked with over the years who demonstrate resilience despite worsening disability. He explores the traits that make some of us resilient and suggests where this strength and acceptance might come from. He also goes on to examine techniques such as mindfulness and meditation to help us develop our own resilience.
It’s helped me so much as I’ve forgotten over the years how resilient I am! When I was diagnosed it took me several years of denial and mourning the loss of my old self before I developed the strength I have now. I recognised so much of myself in the case studies and descriptions of resilience and it’s inspired me to work on myself more.
I learned whilst reading this book that resilience, strength and contentment need to be worked at over time. We’re not just born with these skills; we have to learn how to nurture and maintain them. This is so hard when dealing with the day to day struggles of having MS and it’s easy to forget how to be resilient along the way.
One of my favourite quotes from the book is as follows;
“If you have MS and you are doing well, you worry about being in a wheelchair someday. If you have MS and are significantly disabled, you wonder why other people with the same disease are doing so well. This is one of the great challenges of having a highly variable and unpredictable disease of unknown cause with no known cure. It is psychological torture”
This sums it up for so many people and is why I recommend this book.
If you are newly diagnosed, it will help you come to terms with what’s happening and will inspire you to develop your own resilience. If you’re an old hand (like me) it will remind you how far you’ve come and how well you’re doing.