Following her diagnosis with MS at age 22, Teisha Rose had an attitude to wellbeing that most in their early twenties do – dealing with illness when it arose. When that illness is as unexpected and life-changing as MS however, a bigger shift is needed, something Teisha has discovered and documented in her ebook, Life Interrupted.
What inspired you to write Life Interrupted and what do you hope readers take from it?
Life Interrupted openly and honestly shares my journey with MS. I share the debilitating lows – the endless hospital admissions and the gruelling rehabilitation. But I also celebrate the exhilarating highs – travelling the world, volunteering with orphans overseas, working with the homeless, and unexpectedly finding love.
Life Interrupted is more than a life story, though. I believe that my unique discoveries can help other people find their way through whatever might have interrupted their own dreams. We all experience hurdles that interrupt our lives. In reading Life Interrupted it is my hope that others can find their way past their hurdles to a new life full of hope.
How has your approach to health changed since your diagnosis?
Over the years my approach to health has definitely evolved. I was diagnosed with MS in 1997, aged 22. Before that, when it came to health I was very reactive and my focus was very narrow. If sick or injured I simply made an appointment with a doctor or physio to get ‘fixed’. To my detriment I initially adopted this same approach with MS. If I had a relapse – if I experienced difficulties walking, using my arms or seeing – I immediately sought treatment. When in hospital and rehab my focus on my physical wellbeing was unwavering. But when I recovered, I quickly got caught up in the nuances of everyday life. My attention was diverted – until the next relapse.
Unintentionally I had created a never-ending cycle of relapses, so my life was dominated by my condition. To break this cycle I decided health could no longer be an added extra, only considered out of necessity. I needed to create a life in which my health and wellbeing were the priority.
“We all have hurdles that interrupt our lives. The key to moving forward is starting conversations, gaining new perspectives and learning from each other.”
How do you implement your health philosophy day-to-day?
I am no longer living on automatic pilot. Now I prioritise my health. I’m actively involved, ensuring every decision I make considers my health and wellbeing. This has led to some life-changing decisions – leaving a corporate career to study social work; travelling the world; and leaving inner city living to move to a seaside town.
It has also meant that day-to-day I’m not passively waiting for the next relapse. Instead I have become proactive in my efforts to sustain periods of good health and maximise my functioning. My focus has also broadened beyond MS. I am motivated to discover new ways to improve my overall physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. The appointments I go to, the activities I do, the meals I cook and the books I read are all about improving my overall wellbeing. The positive is: my experience with MS has improved.
What have you learnt about health that would apply to everyone?
I was not able to create the momentum to move beyond the darkness of MS until I started opening my mind and thinking about health and life differently. Challenge the way you think about health and life. This is important if you are feeling helpless in the face of poor health or powerless about being proactive in improving your wellbeing.
I recognise that we all have hurdles that interrupt our lives. This is what motivated me to create the website I have just launched, livesinterrupted.com.au. The key to moving forward is starting conversations, gaining new perspectives and learning from each other.
Who is on your health team and how have they supported you?
Since being diagnosed with MS, I have always been guided by a neurologist. This ensures that my symptoms are monitored and I have access to treatments and updates on any new research.
However, broadening my concept of health has increased my support network. At the moment I have regular appointments with a neuro-physiotherapist to improve my mobility, and an osteopath to alleviate pain and optimise my functioning. I also have many other practitioners I call upon at various times. Feldenkrais and Pilates assist with movement; Chinese medicine and acupuncture increase my energy levels and resilience to any ailments; and kinesiology and intuitive healing keep my mind at peace and challenge me to think differently about health and life.
Find out more at vividpublishing.com.au/lifeinterrupted