Sunday, April 15, 2007

Dystonia: retaining a positive outlook.

Dealing positively with disabling forces of dystonia is possible by the person affected consciously acknowledging their personal set of circumstances. Acknowledging the presence of a chronic but incurable medical condition encourages each person to plan their strategies enabling resolution of the problem situations experienced in day to day living. Taking ownership of the problem situation and planning strategies to cope empowers us all to take action resulting in a positive, satisfactory outcome.

Taking action requires a decision making process. Making positive decisions leads us away from a negative image of reacting to symptoms of a disabling chronic disease. This reframing of our self perception is encouraged from within our very soul. By taking hold of that inner force and putting it into practice we are empowered by positive coping mechanisms of our choice.

Two very simple examples are firstly, a person with spasmodic dysphonia carrying a small card stating name, medical condition (spasmodic dysphonia) and a statement such as, “I know what I want to say, please be patient with me.” Secondly, someone with cervical dystonia may decide to regularly seek physiotherapy or remedial massage in addition to receiving regular medical intervention of botulinum toxin injections given by the treating neurologist.

The above examples indicate recognition and acceptance of a medical condition and developing a “love your disease” attitude to the presenting symptoms. This is one positive way to cope with or ‘deal with’ the symptoms of dystonia.

Every day is a new day! Coping with the symptoms of dystonia means that every day we have a choice about our attitude and our decisions. It does not have to be the same as yesterday or at any past point in time.

Brief suggestions for reframing negative perceptions, to positively engaging coping mechanisms, are as follows.

1. Coping in life with whatever is presented to us by recognising and stopping negative thoughts, embracing each situation positively and, taking action based upon the decisions of our choice.

2. Make a list of positive reminders identifying a choice of actions. Place these in strategic points around the house, office or wherever we will be.

3. Identify a set of goals for a day at a time, checking off each goal as it is achieved, thus reinforcing our newly formed positive attitude.

Tomorrow I will write about Dystonia: grieving symbolic loss. If you would like to leave a comment you are most welcome to do so.

Sue Bayliss. Cairns, Australia.

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