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Navigating multifocal motor neuropathy: Insights on mental health and coping

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By Lee-Yandra Paulsen

The National Institutes of Health data stated that Multifocal Motor Neuropathy (MMN) is an uncommon condition, with a prevalence of fewer than 1 in 100,000 individuals worldwide. Interestingly, it appears to affect men approximately 2.7 times more frequently than women.

In an interview with Rameez Cassim, a stand-up comedian and motivational speaker, he offers valuable insights into his personal journey of living with MMN.

“This is an autoimmune disease; and is a rare nerve disease that affects my motor nervous system. It affects my upper and lower limbs and skeletal muscles. I have been living with this diagnosis for the past 17 or 18 years,” explained Cassiem.

He expressed that his mental health was affected since he was not born with the disease. Cassiem added that he had to adapt to his limbs weakening, his hands and arms as well as his legs losing their functions. He mentioned that he wears Ankle Foot Orthoses (AFOs) on his legs.

“On a daily basis, I have to navigate life and perform tasks independently. I can make myself a cup of tea, and coffee and I can put a sandwich together. There are just certain things that I would need assistance with but generally, I’m self-sufficient,” commented Cassiem.

Cassiem stated that according to his doctors, MMN affects every person with it differently.


Psychologist view of effects on mental health

Educational Psychologist, Yusuf Lahken spoke on the effects on mental health after being affected by physical ailments such as MMN and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

“The idea of an integrated person is that mind, body, and soul are not three separate things, they are all one thing and that is the human being. Obviously, when one part of that person is affected, many other obstacles are also impacted. Therefore, any physical illness, whether it is a short-term illness or long-term chronic illness has an impact on the mental health not only physical health,” says Lahken.

Lahken clariefies that physical illnesses disrupt a person’s life, often impeding their engagement in activities they would typically partake in, including social events. This disruption can manifest in various ways, leading to characteristics such as:

  • Loss of interest
  • Disturb sleep and appetite.
  • Low energy and concentration
  • Sleeping to much
  • Feeling of sadness
  • Increase of irritability

Lahken stressed the importance of awareness and education for individuals seeking to support those dealing with illness. He also highlighted the significance of caregivers recognizing the impact the physical illness on has their own mental health, as both patients and caregivers commonly experience emotional turmoil throughout the journey.

VOC News

Photo: Pixabay

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