Friday, October 9, 2009
Reading and Multiple SclerosisThe scariest part of being diagnosed for me was the possibility of losing any mental faculties. Now so far (knock on wood) I have remained stable and even gained a few points based on the neuro-psych tests i have taken. I attribute my scores to doing regular brain work outs. In my opinion reading and working on puzzles are what slowed, stopped or possible reversed some of the damage that had been done prior to my starting treatment. The purists will say there is no reversing damage from MS, I agree but I think I have found a work around. By the way I firmly believe in beginning medical treatment as soon after DX as you can. Reading is no substitute for seeking medical treatment. You can do some research here that supports my opinion that reading can create new neural pathways.
Books vs Articles
My first few years consisted of reading as much material as I could get my hands on. What I didn't realize was in my zeal to absorb as much as I could, I was reading a lot of articles. probably because I could read them quickly and get another one. After a few years I felt as if I should be further along. Quite by mistake I picked up a book before bed and fell asleep reading, now the very next evening I started reading but with some difficulty. I was becoming so frustrated I almost put the book down for good. What dawned on me was I was not struggling to read, it was my inability to process what I read the night before and start reading where I left off. That was my light bulb 6 years ago. With practice I was able to retain the storyline from the night before, I have been reading every night ever since. I believe that this nightly mental exercise is helping all my cognitive abilities. Although there are some days I get out of bed a little slower, I feel sharper mentally than I have in years.
All the reading I have done with is with the intention of keeping myself sharp. An Added bonus that I did not foresee was the feel good factor I like to call it. There is the escapism that comes with reading a good book. After being bombarded with the daily grind of work, bills, health care, a daily shot etc.. It is nice to just escape. Many others have spoken to the healing powers of positive attitude. Reading helps me keep my positive attitude by escaping once an evening....
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