I was ‘large’ before MS, but comfortably so, I thought.
I’m tall, and carried my weight well.
I could still browse normal stores, pick out a top or two to try on in a changing room without feeling too … fat.
Then came the nerve meds, steroids, comfort eating. MS, basically.
My weight crept up and up and up. And up some more. And then it leapt considerably and it just wasn’t funny any more.
Most of my clothes were bagged and put away in a cupboard. I shunned mirrors and didn’t recognise myself in photos. I had a teeny-tiny head on an enormous body. It wasn’t me. And if it wasn’t me, who was it?
I read all the ‘we can cure MS through diet’ books. I looked through the miracle websites; I should cut out carbs, ban sugar.
That’s all well and good, but perhaps finding the reasons for my food choices could be more important than following a trending diet plan without digging more deeply?
Unpicking those choices with a therapist over the last two years has been invaluable for me.
I’m in the middle of being diagnosed with a fairly serious mental health illness. But the incredible thing is, I’ll be diagnosed officially with it when I’m almost through the worst and heading towards needing little, if no intervention.
I’ve thought long and hard about writing this post, but it is important to me and hopefully to many other people with MS, who are also struggling with their mental health.
It’s very easy to concentrate solely on our physical symptoms, frightening enough in themselves – the nerve pain, the balance issues, the complete and utter dysfunction of our once ‘working’ bodies.
But what about our minds? Our mental health? I had so many emotional issues I didn’t feel able to discuss seven years ago when MS first started. Now, after unpicking them with my counsellor, I am able to work out patterns, understand trigger points and hopefully – fingers crossed – have a plan of action to be able to deal with the ups and downs of living with MS.
So now, I have started to cut out carbs, my go-to comfort. And sugar, my absolute go-to comfort.
I won’t lie, it’s tough, cutting my daily intake of sweetness and soothing comfort, But, by facing up to my latent demons and the ever-lurking shadows of the past, I hope to shed my carb-fest weight and reveal the real me.
Can I do it?