Jeffrey Gingold on the benefits of cognitive rehabilitation
Validation and hope are precious commodities when you have MS. Even with my optic neuritis, I could see the significance of the MEMREHAB study Professor Langdon talks about.
The study confirms that you should push back against your MS by engaging life. Just like with physical exercise, you need to do it for any direct benefit.
In the military they say that the best way to take a bridge is from both directions. For their part, people with MS must first acknowledge their cognitive challenges to better understand how they may cope with rehabilitation techniques. Then they can meet the MS health professionals on the other side of the bridge and welcome the strategies. Take the bridge from both directions.
Cognitive rehabilitation may not just improve your memory, but can also have a positive ripple effect on other MS symptoms, such as fatigue, emotional wellbeing, and overall quality of life. Future studies will better establish who will benefit from specific types of training. Don’t just think about it, engage real hope now.
Sometimes the most devastating MS symptoms are the ones that you didn’t see coming. Cognitive challenges should no longer be in that bucket.
Like many people diagnosed with MS, my limbs numbed and fatigued, my equilibrium threw me to the floor and my vision was failing. Then invisible cognitive symptoms delayed and confounded my thoughts, causing spoken words to be lost, trashing multi-tasking and blocking my ability to recall memories, familiar faces, tasks and locations. My MS cognitive fog leaves me feeling like pieces of my mind are inaccessible.
But when I tried to find out more about MS cognition issues I discovered a real lack of information. I found out that MS cognitive symptoms are under-recognised, and are often under- and mis-diagnosed. I felt like it was an unspoken and invisible disability.
My MS writings are borne from realising that the best way for me to cope with cognitive setbacks, was to first acknowledge and articulate how MS was interfering with my thoughts. I would never have discovered any coping strategies unless I first admitted these difficulties and found a support network that ‘gets it’.
While taking part in the worldwide discussion around MS and cognition, I have found that people with MS are resilient. Find your passion and fulfill it with complete MS treatment, including both your cognitive and physical symptoms. You should not accept less.
Jeffrey’s tips for staying smart:
- Unclutter your space and mind and use lists to keep track of daily tasks.
- Follow a personal wellness routine to keep your mind and body active.
- Enjoy learning new skills to enrich your cognitive reserve.
- Find out about successful MS cognition techniques, such as those found on the MS Trust’s StayingSmart pages. This site features quick cognition tips and tricks, including helpful videos and successful strategies from people living with MS.
- Rely on a trusted ‘safety person’ who understands when to pull you away to clear your mind and safeguard your body.
- Discover what works best for you to take care of yourself by getting answers and ongoing informed treatment for your cognitive challenges.
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