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Overcoming: An FND (book review)


FNDing Hope: An FND Book Review 


Ever curious about my FND diagnosis, I recently purchased a copy of Christopher Williams, book:


Overcoming: Functional neurological symptoms a five areas approach. 


It was first published in 2011 and updated in 2017. I’m a big fan of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy) approaches and theraputic relationships with trusted practioners. Williams’ title and mention of CBT, on the front cover grabbed my attention as I browsed for engaging FND content online. Yup, I’m a nerd, who loves learning and have an insatiable appetite for understanding.


I choose to prioritize my health in 2024.

Will you join me and prioritize YOUR NEEDS


Williams suggests tried and true recommendations that many in the FND community are already aware of. Newbies, like me, or those with a more recent FND diagnosis will appreciate the depth and breadth of information offered in Williams book, and especially the included toolkits, which offer practial skills to navigate your functional symptoms. Varied tool include tips for:


A: Overcoming reduced activity and avoidance,

B: Practical Problem Solving,

C: Becoming more assertive,

D: Healthy living, and

E: Illness, symptoms and other people.


The section titled: "Your brain and body, and how these link to symptoms," was helpful to me, and offers easy to grasp content and labelled illustrations that aid understanding. 


Jocelyn's AHA: Williams offers key points throughout the book, reminders, examples and practices to try experiment with and says that initially people may notice that they feel slightly worse as they begin using some of the suggested strategies, but that usually this is only temporary and is and important part of the process. My aha arrived as I reflected on the connection between anxiety and panic attcks.


My first panic attack struck unexpectedly in 2020. I gasped for breath and wondered:


Would I live


I hadn't known the answer. My knowledge about my autonomic nervous system was limited. I hadn't known that "fight or flight symptoms which I experienced as unexpected and terrifying, weren't life threatening.


In large part learning about my FND diagnosis in 2021, was reassuring. Every individual's experiences with FND, are unique. Mine is only one story and comparisons aren't helpful.


Don't say: I understand. Choose to listen with curiosity as you come alongside a loved one, friend, colleague or citizen of the planet experiencing functional symptoms. What triggers an individuals functional symtoms may or may not be related to trauma. They are not lying about their lived experiences with functional symptoms. FND can be triggered following a surgery, receiving a vaccine, following a frightning childhood incident, or any number of varied triggers.


I'd needed a label and the clarity of a diagnosis. Years of not knowing as specialists considered, investigated and then ruled out: MS, Parkinson's Disease, brain tumour, cancer, and seronegative auto-immune encephalitis, left me with deep anxiety. A diagnosis created a spirit to advocate for others who continued to experience unexpected and undiagnosed symptoms. Inspired to advocacy I knew that I wanted to spark transparent conversations about FND and mental health. Systemic change could and can happen. Every small advocacy effort counts and makes a difference. Together we can support individuals struggling in silence with stigma and functional symptoms by sharing our FND stories.


Individuals needn't agonize about whether they do or don't have a life shortening or life-impacting illness. FND aware medical practitioners could offer informed & adequate supports for individuals presenting with functional symptoms. Earlier detection and prevention through the use of comprehensive and proactive mental health education may not eliminate FND, but could reduce the number of individuals struggling with complex physical symptoms that continue to increase in frequency, intensity and duration.


Knowledge is a powerful tool, as are family, faith, and a circle of supportive trauma-informed medical practitioners willing to listen, believe and come alongside individuals struggling without a diagnosis. The diagnostic experience could be different! We can make change happen with our advoacy efforts. FND Awareness month is coming up.


Check out FNDHope.org and get involved this April.


FND Awareness Month, April 2024 - FND Hope International

https://fndhope.org/fndaware/ (Click on the image below to link to FND Hope International).




I challenge you to spark conversation with your medical practitioner(s) and all doctors, doctors in training, and theraputic practioners to become 💯 FNDAware❗️


There's hope, and there are many pathways to change and wellbeing. This once introverted, extremely private girl has become an assertive FND advocate who loves her strong resilient body. We're stronger together when we spark transparent conversations about health and wellbeing and choose to prioritize our needs with self-compassion. 


As I finish up reading Williams book:


I challenge #FNDingHope readers to pick up a copy of Overcoming... being an older title it may be available at your local library and read or reread the content through a new lens of curiosity for even a single helpful tip. Together we can create a shift in our communities and with our networks on Social Media and ignite conversations in our homes, places of employment, medical offices, with friends and our colleagues. Together we can collaborate to reduce stigma and raise awareness about a little known but increasingly prevalent neurological disorder that causes complex physical (functional symptoms).


 Let’s talk about #FND.   


Have you read Overcoming? Jump to the comments section: Leave a comment, ask a question, or challenge something I've said.  Share something you learned or found helpful as  you navigate your FND diagnosis. Challenge yourself to spark transparent conversations about Functional Neurologic Disorder starting now! 


#REPOST and #SHARE reliable well researched FND content and send suggestions for FND content to me at FNDingHope.com


Williams reminds readers that "the uncertainty [pre-diagnosis] can be based around three main questions:

  1. The cause of the symptoms❓

  2. What can be done about the symptoms❓

3. What will happen in the future❓


These questions resonated with me and caused considerable anxiety as I waited between 2014-2021 for diagnostic clarity. Would knowlege and #FND awareness in 2014 have prevented the trauma I experienced in my body without needed knowledge and support.


Be a difference maker and spark #FNDAWARE conversations.



 


Have you read Overcoming❓


Jump to the comments section and leave a comment, ask a question, or challenge something I've said. 


Share something you learned, questioned while reading Overcoming, or key points you find helpful as you navigate your FND diagnosis.






Challenge yourself & spark transparent conversations about Functional Neurologic Disorder.


STARTING NOW!


May you have have strength and calm as you navigate your functional symptoms.





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