Thursday, 4 October 2012


One of the many handouts we got at the Working With MS day the other week was one called Shrinking The Monster. Here's the description from the MS Society Website:

Written by Jo Johnson, a neuro-psychologist, this workbook can help you recognise, name and tame the ‘MS creature’ who takes up residence, uninvited. This way of thinking about your MS doesn’t suit everybody, but many people who have used this approach seem to find the idea of shrinking the monster increases their feeling of control. Drawing on cognitive behavioural therapy and narrative therapy, Shrinking the monster tackles serious, personal issues, but can be used and discussed with the whole family including young children.

Now I'll be honest (and I'm speaking as someone who's a bit of a newbie-convert to CBT), when I started looking at this I didn't think it was for me.

But when Emma looked through it, she got a lot out of it. Plus she named my monster: Gaucho.

This comes from my unholy interest in and fondness for the smooth jazz-rock stylings of Steely Dan. I'm not proud, I'm a man of a certain age.

Please Note - I've never had anytime for so-called 'Guilty Pleasures'. To my mind, you either like something or you don't. End of.

Emma thought the lyrics of their song Gaucho summed up the feeling that MS is a slimy, unwanted presence in our life - something ugly and creeping that is always there, skulking in the background:

Who is the gaucho amigo
Why is he standing
In your spangled leather poncho
With the studs that match your eyes
Bodacious cowboys
Such as your friend
Will never be welcome here...

I quite like this. Especially the fact that this is one of my absolute favourite Steely Dan tracks.

Talk about putting a positive spin on my condition!

For the last week I have been living alone. Emma and Evie were offered a free holiday, and I thought that I'd taken a lot of holiday in August. So off they went.

It's been cool to spend time catching up with friends but I'm very much looking forward to seeing my girls!


  1. naming the monster? Not only is that a great idea, but that's a brilliant name. I'm immediately envious.

  2. thinking about it, Steely Dan songs abound with LOADS of sneaky unwanted characters - all of which would make good names for 'MonSters'!

  3. Agreeing with swisslet. It's a great name and I, too, want to seize it for myself. "Peg" just seems too friendly. And "Rikki." I guess I'll need to dig around some for an appropriately shitty name.

  4. there are loads of creeps in Steely Dan songs - off the top of my head:

    Doctor Wu
    Cousin Dupree
    The Fez

    (but 'Gaucho' is still best - feel free to appropriate!)