Good mental health is critical to managing your physical health

I imagine I’m probably one of the worst patients to treat. I fully understand the advice I receive but I’m horrible at following them. We’ve all been told it; Stress can really affect how we handle existing and future problems arising from having neuromyelitis optica (NMO) and admittedly, I’m in the habit of taking on quite a lot.


I love to work hard and I work to live well. The type who suffers from wanderlust, adventure and trying new things, I generally only operate at hyper speed. A couple of months ago I knew I was at yet another crossroad. Where previously I could manage daytime fatigue, the burning sensation and general pain, my body had started to feel sluggish, unresponsive and exhausted. I tried to sleep it off, eat well and rest but I couldn’t bounce back. I recently blogged about a flare as a result but still couldn’t feel better. 

I used to believe that all things happen for a reason but since my diagnosis almost 7 years ago I’m more likely to believe things are a result of my actions. I should have taken more time to recover from that last flare but instead I tried to push ahead. I was headed to an MRI and in a moment of, well, I’m not sure what happened, but I drove our car into the wall trying to park it. In my mind I was reversing to straighten the wheel. In reality I clearly left it in drive. With just a few bruised ribs and an expensive repair to the car, I’m ok albeit my driving ego is forever ruined. 4 days later having no business on a bike, I thought it was a good idea. I fell off and ended up with 8 stitches in my knee. And shortly there after, house bound and stir crazy, Sophie came home with a simple summer cold, which I caught and it turned into a sinus infection.

This is the part where I start to tell myself I just have bad luck. It’s also the part where I make fun of myself because if I don’t laugh about it I’ll need to cry. But it’s also the part where it’s important to have a strong support network. This is where my family, friends and medical practitioners tell me I’m overwhelmed and I need a break. Step one to feeling better is admitting I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.

In previous years the Guthy Jackson Foundation has provided workshop sessions on mindfulness and mental health at their annual Patient Day. I recently went back to a few mindfulness and meditation mobile phone apps on a daily basis to find my balance again. For those of you out there who suffer from some serious stress, I urge you to take some time for mental health even if it’s a few minutes with an app every day, or the universe will make you take a break.


  1. Kimberly

    I’m curious if any of you ladies ever got your eye sight back?

    Comment by Kimberly on July 29, 2016 at 9:24 am

  2. Jenna

    Hi Kimberly,

    Yes actually, some of us did. Jenna lost the vision in her left eye and it has fully recovered. Erin just recently had a new attack with significant blurred vision but it is in recovery. However, Christine lost the vision in both her eyes and now has what is considered “counting fingers” vision, which is she can only see shadows directly in front of her and differences in light.

    Hope things recover for you.

    Comment by Jenna on August 4, 2016 at 4:00 pm

  3. Lelainia Lloyd

    Hi Kimberly,
    Jenna forgot me! I had Optic Neuritis 4 times in 2012, but my vision returned to normal. I wear progressives for normal eye aging issues. Let’s hope things remain good!

    Comment by Lelainia Lloyd on September 13, 2016 at 1:12 am

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