Sarah Lysne: The joy of emotionally planning ahead

Published 6:10 pm Tuesday, March 29, 2022

One of the most important things I’ve learned from my therapist is behavioral therapy. In my life this means visualizing a positive outcome when it would be easier or more of a habit to visualize a negative outcome.

Every three months I attend an ALS Clinic at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. It is an emotionally and physically exhausting day for me. I recently attended an ALS Clinic.

I started preparing for the day the night before. I prepare by using behavioral therapy to visualize all the positive conversations that I could have with the many providers I will see instead of visualizing negative conversations.

ALS is a progressive disease, so even when I am feeling relatively well, I am still obligated to talk with my providers about potential future challenges I may face.

The night before the clinic I went to bed early because I know I have a better chance of feeling better physically and emotionally if I get a good night’s sleep.

The day of the clinic, my husband and I hit the road at 6:30 a.m., and dread filled my soul again. I returned to my practice from the night before. I tried to visualize my providers telling me what I am doing well in terms of dealing with the disease, but this time this tactic didn’t help so much. I felt more and more stressed the closer we got to Rochester. Finally I had a solution. I decided to pray. I have a list of people that I pray for. I add to the list whenever I hear about someone who needs prayers. I start to mentally go through my list of names adding specific requests for each person including healing, strength, and peace. As I do this, my own anxiety about the day ahead begins to melt away.

I believe we all need prayer. Some people really need specific prayers at certain times in their lives.

I guess you could say that I use prayer as a form of behavioral therapy. It takes us out of our own little worlds and spiritually connects us to others.  It reminds us that we are not alone in our struggles.

I feel the prayers of others helping me every day, and I am grateful for the strength and courage that those prayers give to me.