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MS and Your Feelings
Handling the Ups and Downs of Multiple Sclerosis
by Allison Shadday LCSW

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Few people are prepared for the emotional impact of multiple sclerosis, the unpredictable, disabling chronic inflammatory condition now affecting one out of every thousand Americans. Patients typically experience fear, anger, sadness, guilt, low self-esteem and sexual dysfunction. Half of all MS patients suffer from depression, while invisible symptoms, such as "brain fog" and severe fatigue, often leave them feeling misunderstood and alone. These emotional effects can be as crippling as the physical challenges, yet little has been written on this topic.

Psychotherapist and MS patient Allison Shadday offers readers effective strategies for coping with the psychological trauma of this disease. Using patient success stories to illustrate her step-by-step coping strategies, she offers readers hope, inspiration and validation. Her insights include:

  • techniques to identify and manage stress triggers that can impact MS symptoms
  • ways to minimize MS-related fatigue and deal with cognitive challenges
  • strategies for coping with fear, guilt, anger, loss, depression and isolation
  • steps to enhance intimacy and build support networks
  • tips for increasing self-esteem and developing emotional security

A chapter for caregivers gives tips on how to enhance the emotional health of someone with MS, while renowned neurologist and MS expert Dr. Stanley Cohan contributes discussions on the latest medical thinking and the promising future of drug research for this challenging condition.

Full of immediate, useful solutions, MS and Your Feelings is an invaluable guide for patients, their loved ones and MS health-care professionals.

REVIEWS AND TESTIMONIALS

Shadday, a medical clinical social worker with multiple sclerosis (MS), here contributes the first book on dealing with the emotional impact of MS, an autoimmune, degenerative disease of the brain and spinal cord that eventually causes major physical disability. Treatments focus on medications that reduce and slow the disease's progression. What Shadday offers is valuable, empowering advice for her fellow sufferers and their families on how to cope, understand, and overcome the adverse emotional and psychological impact of the disease. Included are effective strategies for dealing with fear and negative emotions, maintaining self-esteem, and prevailing over the disabling complications of MS. With its upbeat and practical advice, this book will find an eager audience in consumer health and patient libraries; highly recommended.— Library Journal

The emotions that come with multiple sclerosis can be one of the most challenging aspects of the disease. In her new book, Allison Shadday thoroughly addresses this most difficult of issues with compassion and insight. A psychotherapist, Shadday has MS herself, giving her a special understanding

From coming to terms with the initial diagnosis to learning how to handle depression, fatigue, and cognitive problems as they occur, Shadday offers insight and information...Shadday has strategically placed 13 "Journal Exercises" throughout the book on topics including "Stress Journal," "Talents and Gifts Inventory," and "Gratitude List." These exercises offer a way for readers to gain self-awareness. A useful list of resources is included in an appendix at the back.

MS and Your Feelings is an easy read and a great addition to any MS library. Readers will find this a helpful reference to consult again and again over time. - Sharon Brown, InsideMS

A long overdue book on managing the emotional impact of MS! MS and Your Feelings addresses specific psychological challenges and provides in-depth questionnaires and practical strategies to help you understand and ultimately meet those challenges. … Readers will undoubtedly recognize themselves and their emotional challenges, and consequently, feel validated and less alone. --Christine Ratliff, editor, MSFocus, The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation

Finally a book that takes an honest look at what someone is feeling as they live with a chronic illness. Shadday’s insight and direction for exploring those unspoken feelings is an immediate help by offering tools to recognize and communicate our feelings to others. After reading MS and Your Feelings, I felt better about myself with a deeper understanding of why I feel the way I do. Everyone close to me will be receiving a copy of this helpful book. -- Kathleen Wilson, MFA, MA, Founding president & CEO, MSWorld

In MS and Your Feelings, Allison Shadday gives us tools that can change our perception of MS and of ourselves as MS patients. The simple exercises she recommends can empower us to amend the way we respond to the presence of MS in our lives. Allison’s words might ultimately enable us to view MS as an ally in our journey toward self fulfillment rather than as an enemy to be fought every step of the way. Allison has done a great job and a great service to MSers. -- Judith Lynn Nichols, author of Women Living with MS and Living Beyond MS: A Women’s Guide

In MS And Your Feelings: Handling The Ups And Downs Of Multiple Sclerosis, medical clinical social worker Allison Shadday draws upon her more than fourteen years of experience counseling chronically ill patients and their families and her personal experience with MS (she was first diagnosed with the condition in 1995) to offer hope, inspiration, validation, and basic information for patients with MS, as well as their families and loved ones. Readers will learn about how to come to terms with an MS diagnosis; strategies for coping with fear, guilt, anger, loss, depression and isolation; tips for increasing self-esteem and developing a greater sense of emotional security and stability; how to recognize and overcome negative emotional responses to MS; steps to enhance intimacy and build support networks; how to minimize MS-related fatigue and deal with cognitive challenges; techniques to identify and manage stress triggers that can exacerbate MS symptoms; and the very latest information about new treatment options and promising research. Allison Shadday not only writes with evident authority, she is an able communicator whose total mastery of her subject is conveyed with admirable articulation to the benefit of the non-specialist general reader. Anyone having do deal with an MS diagnosis, should give MS And Your Feelings careful attention -- it will answer all of the basic questions and address the fundamental issues with complete clarity and an invaluable comprehensiveness. -- Diane C. Donovan, Editor, The Midwest Book Review

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Understanding Is Everything
How to Use This Book
Chapter 1: Knowledge Is Power: Getting an Accurate Diagnosis
Chapter 2: Coming to Terms with MS
Chapter 3: Feeling Numb? Awakening Your Inner Life
Chapter 4: Positive Solutions to Negative Emotions
Chapter 5: Treat It and Beat It: Relieving Depression
Chapter 6: Stress and MS: How to Soothe Yourself
Chapter 7: Identity Crisis: Building Self-Esteem
Chapter 8: Good Grief: Recognizing the Grieving Process
Chapter 9: Sick and Tired of Feeling Sick and Tired
Chapter 10: Avoid the Mind-Reading Trap: Sharpening Your Communication Skills
Chapter 11: Staying Connected: Improving Support Networks and Enhancing Intimacy
Chapter 12: Coping with Cognitive Challenges
Chapter 13: Families Speak Out: Letters from Loved Ones
Chapter 14: Ending on a Positive Note
Hope for the Future:
An Afterword by Dr. Stanley Cohan
Treatment Now and in the Future
Suggested Reading
Resources
Index

PUBLICATION DETAILS
PUBLICATION DATE: 2006 December
PAGES: 256
SIZE: 5-1/2 x 8-1/2
INDEXED: Yes
BIBLIOGRAPY: No

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Allison Shadday, LCSW is a medical clinical social worker with 14 years of experience counseling chronically ill patients and their families. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1996. A patient advocate for a pharmaceutical company, she gives presentations to neurologists, patients and family members on the emotional impact of chronic disease. Allison Shadday lives in Friday harbor, Washington.


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