Guest blog: Open Your Red Door

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Today we publish a Guest Blog article from Mary Ellen Ziliak about how she coped with the challenge of being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

If you would like to write an article for our blog please contact john@ms-uk.org.

You can view the guidelines for writing for us online now at www.ms-uk.org/ourblog.


img_6283-6x8-4-red-door-pic-bobbi-ziliakNo one has the luxury of living without the occasional life challenge. Challenges are diverse and rising above them demanding. But to live well and expand our territory beyond the challenge, reveals our character and can lead to unexpected joy.

1998 delivered my biggest life challenge, multiple sclerosis (MS). Being an RN did not spare me feeling my world had been turned upside down. Frequent relapses and treatment side effects made the early years difficult. Depression intertwined with losses of job, paycheck, and self-identity. A decade of asking, “What now?” was black with the overbearing shadow of MS.

Gradually, knowledge, discernment and the passage of time allowed light and hope to return. Along my stumbling journey I discovered MS could be a presence in my life but need not claim its center. A newfound philosophy emerged and I dubbed it “Open your Red Door!”

“The Red Door” is a painting I did of a large, weathered, door on a centuries old church in southwestern Indiana. Age has faded the red paint and splintered the wood. Over-sized black wrought iron hinges and placement on a corner turret lend a sense of mystery and intrigue. At first sight, the door beckoned me to take a closer look and to capture it’s essence on canvas.

The painting grew to be symbolic of my life challenge with multiple sclerosis. Like the Red Door, MS is mysterious, powerful, splintered, heavy, and no one knows what lies beyond. Opening the door may elicit angst, fear, sweat, and tears. Walking through it musters courage and guarantees adventure. Behind the door one might find a pot of gold or a pit of snakes. No one knows.

What I do know is to live life well with MS, I must choose the daunting entry. I must have courage to push the Red Door wide open, to cross the threshold of acceptance, to face my challenge head-on, to allow myself to find good on the other side of bad.
I am strong enough. I can cross bloodied and bandaged, groping my way through the doorway, as I believe healing awaits me on the other side.

Challenges are a part of living. What we do with them defines us. Opening my Red Door has empowered me to embrace change and try new things: becoming a published author, international speaker, half marathon runner, and an MS Certified Specialist. Not everyone will find my methods palatable, but I share my simple thoughts hoping they might resonate with one reader. So, whatever your life challenge, I cordially invite you to, “Open your Red Door and live life well!”

Find out more about Mary on her website at www.openyourreddoor.com.

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About MS-UK

MS-UK was established in 1993, and is a national charity dedicated to empowering people with multiple sclerosis to make the most of today, and live life to the full. We put people affected by MS at the heart of our work. We provide high quality, professional services to support people living with multiple sclerosis, and we listen to people affected by MS.
This entry was posted in Artist, Diagnosis, Guest blog, Mary Ellen Ziliak, MS, Multiple Sclerosis, Uncategorized, wellbeing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Guest blog: Open Your Red Door

  1. RajoandMS says:

    Wow!! So beautifully explained. I have opened my red door after three years of my diagnosis and started to write my story with MS. No matter what the challenges I face I am always determined to face it with a Smile.

    Like

    • Thank you “RajoandMS”. I am happy to hear you chose to open your red door. You are a faster learner than me. It took me almost a decade to cross the threshold and clearly see my new path. I found putting my MS journey down on paper was healing and cathartic. Good luck with your writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Cindy Moore says:

    Author, Mary Ellen Ziliak also wrote: Teachings of a Clown, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Find Your Inner Strength, and I adore the hope and courage she spreads through her beautiful words. Thank you, Mary Ellen.

    Like

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