Pursuing your passion can be an important form of stress relief

Finding ways to decompress is crucial in life with LEMS, a columnist says

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by Lori Dunham |

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I have loved tea parties since I was a child. It brings me such joy to set a table with flowers, delicate china, fine chocolates, and delicious pastries. Gathering friends and family around the table with lit candles, soft music, and a pot of tea revives my soul. This is my happy place.

Whether I’m hosting a tea party, reading a good book in front of a roaring fireplace, or baking a delicious dessert to share among friends, finding joy in the little things restores my soul after I’ve been beaten down by life’s demands.

Those of us who tackle Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) on a daily basis, or nurture loved ones who do, know all too well the ramifications of stress on our bodies. Recently, I was reminded of how harmful stress is to our 18-year-old daughter, Grace, who has LEMS.

Grace’s body buckled under the stress of public speaking and she felt the effects for days. She needed time to recuperate and an activity that would bring her back to a place of peace and calm.

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A mother’s messages of hope for those living with LEMS

In my opinion, no one needs self-care more than those dealing with a rare disease. Their bodies bear a burden far beyond what most endure. The mental and physical strain takes a toll, and some feel socially isolated because their disease keeps them from activities they’d normally participate in.

Over time, others tend to forget the challenges that people with rare diseases face each and every morning. Life goes on and some might wonder, “Why can’t this person get over feeling this way?”

It’s imperative that those with LEMS manage stress well. Finding an outlet to bring calm and order to their life isn’t just healthy, it’s downright necessary.

What brings you joy? What makes you exhale?

Winston Churchill, who served as prime minister of the United Kingdom during World War II, knew all too well the cost of stress on a body. When he was 40 years old, he taught himself to paint as a means of alleviating stress and the heavy burdens placed upon him.

In Churchill’s essay “Painting as a Pastime,” he writes:

Many remedies are suggested for the avoidance of worry and mental overstrain by persons who, over prolonged periods, have to bear exceptional responsibilities and discharge duties upon a very large scale. Some advise exercise, and others, repose. Some counsel travel, and others, retreat. Some praise solitude, and others, gaiety. … I consider myself very lucky that late in life I have been able to develop this new taste and pastime. Painting came to my rescue in a most trying time.” 

What do you reach for during the most trying of times? A paintbrush or piano keys? The beauty of the outdoors or cuddles with your pet? A good book or gardening?

Whatever “it” is, pursue it wildly. Make time for it. Renew your spirit through the activities that bring you the most peace and joy.

It’s never too late to pick up a new hobby, learn a new skill, or cultivate new relationships.

Note: Lambert-Eaton News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lambert-Eaton News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome.


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