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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Winter 2021

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MSWA Volunteer Luncheon | Our new respiratory | Physiotherapy service | Our m contribution to research | Pain and pain management series

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MSWA CLIENT INVISIBLE THING BY PETER JONES I don’t look sick You don’t look stupid But looks can be deceiving It’s not a psychological thing This thing is very real Out of sight, out of mind not visible The whole thing is quite surreal. Some days are diamonds Some days are stones Fatigue at times won’t leave me alone I’m not drunk I may stagger a little Labelling me alcoholic Only manages to belittle. Summer heat - debilitating Limitations imposed - irritating Independence - diminishing Relying on others - frustrating Prognosis - mystifying General attitude - misunderstanding Life has shifted dramatically since diagnosis This invisible thing, Multiple Sclerosis. “I was informally diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 67 years ago at the age of nine. This diagnosis was not formalised until 1989, following the introduction of MRI as a diagnostic tool. My current age, together with the accumulative weaknesses from three MS events over the years, have me needing to use a stick to get around. I attend physio at Beechboro once a week and have benefited greatly from being involved in the support group. I am grateful for the life I have and to members of the support group for sharing their life experiences. “Writing poetry provides me with an ability to express thoughts and feelings about my life and the world around me. “This poem is intended to express some of the frustrations associated with MS.” PETER JONES MSWA CLIENT 20

COUNSELLING DID YOU KNOW THAT HOBBIES ARE BENEFICIAL FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH? Winter is here and it is the perfect time to pursue your favourite hobbies. Having a hobby is not just about passing the days or enjoying quality ‘me time’ but is crucial for our wellbeing and mental health. A hobby is a wonderful way to spend your spare time and unwind from our daily routines. Research has shown that people with hobbies rarely suffer from stress, depression, or low mood. Hobbies are vital for mental health, can make us feel happier and more relaxed. Hobbies promote mindfulness and staying present, become more patient, and help us to sleep better. My Clients have a vast variety of hobbies; these include knitting, patchwork, collecting antique postcards, scrapbooking, gardening, and painting to mention a few. Here are some other ideas: Music is a wonderful hobby. Listening to your favourite music or learning to play an instrument helps to relieve stress and channel uncomfortable emotions. Playing or singing with a group is a great way to communicate with others. Gardening is one of the best hobbies to get you in touch with nature. You could plant some of your favourite flowers, start an herb or vegetable patch, or simply pot up new indoor plants. Physical gardening, if you are able, provides endurance, flexibility, and strength. Yoga is good for our mental and physical health. Yoga can calm our nervous system, help with depression, and reduce muscle tension. You do not have to leave home to attend a class – you can install a yoga app on your phone and practice at home. Chair yoga is another option. A few minutes a day can produce positive effects. Writing is one of the simplest hobbies and all you need is a pen and paper. You can write how you feel every day, write short stories, poetry and maybe even a book. Whether your hobby is creative, academic or something personal, it should be meaningful and enjoyable. The main goal of a hobby is that it gives you the opportunity to express yourself and relax at the same time. Always be on the lookout for new interests and hobbies. The more your mind works the more healthy it will stay. JEAN HUDSON MSWA SENIOR COUNSELLOR 21