By Vedika Global 2-Month Self-Care Course Graduate Jennifer MacDaniel
Six years ago, I was diagnosed with Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis. This was a crazy time for me. I was 40 years old and newly diagnosed with a lifelong autoimmune disease. This was a lot to take in.
I googled everything I could possibly get my hands on. In hindsight, I would not recommend this. There is an awful lot of bad information out there. I also spent a considerable amount of time with my doctor discussing my treatment options. Many experts agree that starting treatment right away is the best choice, because MS can progress even if you do not have any symptoms. Yikes!
My doctor also suggested that I start an antidepressant. Apparently, 80% of patients, taking my medication for disease modification therapy will also develop depression. I can’t help but wonder whether they are depressed because they were just diagnosed with a scary disease or because the medication actually causes a chemical imbalance?
I went for it all. I was scared to make a mistake. After all, I was a mother of a two year old. I had to be there for him. I did not want to have to depend on my husband, family, and friends to take care of me. The list of worries went on and on. We even sold our home, because there were four floors to negotiate. I had no idea how this disease might affect my mobility.
Fast forward six years. I have not had any serious relapses. I used to feel tired a lot, really tired. But, now I know that could have been caused by the naps I was taking, or by my improper food intake.
The MRIs are all showing no new progress. My blood work is excellent. I started asking myself, could it be possible to stop taking the antidepressants? Do I really need them? I do not think I would have even entertained this idea, unless I was a student learning Ayurveda at Vedika Global.
Through my studies, I am learning seasonal eating, proper food combining, Yoga, Pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation, mantras, and Vedanta (the spiritual philosophy that informs Ayurveda).
It is well-documented that overheating and stress aggravate MS. I have to therefore be very careful to keep myself balanced in mind, body, and spirit.
I practice Yoga and Pranayama every morning. This practice is part of my Ayurveda Dinacharya (daily routine). I truly believe that a combination of my Ayurvedic practices and practicing yoga every day give me the confidence to take charge of my wellbeing.
The act of eliminating antidepressants from my life has been so gratifying. Whenever I feel stress building up, I now have tools to put to use anywhere, at anytime. I love my new routines, which bring me great peace.
I am so grateful for the rare opportunity to learn Ayurveda, as it is taught at Vedika Global.
Jennifer is a first year student at Vedika Global. For the last 20 years, she has been practicing as an Interior Designer in Healthcare, specializing in designing environments for the elderly. For the past decade, she has provided Interior Design for one of the largest healthcare providers in the nation. Jennifer loves spending time with her family and friends, traveling, music, and art. Learning Ayurveda is her newest passion.