BIO: ABOUT MARY ~
Mary is a writer from Dallas, Texas. She is also a blogger who specializes in poetry, essay, & narrative interviews. Mary’s background includes an eclectic combination involved with creative/performing arts as well as fifteen years working in the private club industry where she was involved with sales/marketing & event planning. In 1990, she graduated from The University of North Texas with a B.S. in Hospitality Management. In 2001, Mary’s life changed dramatically when she received a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS). A couple of years passed, but it soon became necessary for her to quit the work she loved. With a crumbling marriage, ongoing health issues & a career no longer in her grasp, Mary’s world was now at a standstill. To say she was a lost soul during those tumultuous years after the MS diagnosis would be putting it mildly. Her identity became nonexistant, foreign, along with her passion & purpose. Little could she realize so much pain & anguish would actually be a gift. She had a new chapter to write…one which would mark the beginning of healing, resiliency & strength.
Slowly, Mary began to explore new ways of coping with the unpredictable nature of this “internal room-mate” called MS. The long & bitter divorce had left her more damaged with mental challenges of which she was acutely aware. The search to find a new purpose in life was not easy. It was difficult & exhausting. Always concious of the rabbit holes & downward spirals of panic which came out of nowhere, no time was wasted for therapy needs. This wonderful psychiatrist, proficient in anxiety disorders had no doubt my anxiety/panic had manifested into PTSD. Therapy was such an incredible experience which also led Mary back towards her love of music. She started to play the piano again, practicing classical compositions, overwhelmed with emotion because she could FEEL again…she could BREATHE again. She bought an acoustic guitar for $50.00 at a pawn shop & taught herself to play a bit – the creative release felt good. But, the constant thoughts & useless chatter continued to bombard her brain, so in hopes to quell the noise, she grabbed pen & paper. Such a cathartic purge this was to allow years of blood, sweat & tears pour onto paper, wounds reflected in the written word. Unaware of the fact she had been practicing a powerful form of therapy called neuroplasticity, all that mattered was the power, the energy source which taught her to breathe again! Over time, this passion grew into a new sense of awareness & purpose where the thought of healing actually seemed plausible to acheive. To this day, Mary continues to explore opportunity & creative outlets…always reminding others of a life beyond diagnosis, the possibilities can be endless, but no one can really know this unless they seek & explore.
I’m often met with scoffs & disapproval when I’ve openly mentioned the ways MS has been a “gift.” The progession & daily struggles are real & it’s been rough, yet several years ago I was given an opportunity to take another stab at life, to rewrite my own version anytime I choose. I choose a life created by words & music.
Find Mary Online via:
Twitter: @pettigrew66, @MSpals, @axslab
Facebook Groups as Admin:
Creative Expression: Chronic Illness & Disability
MSpals: Legal Matters
MS Bloggers & Media Networking
Acknowedgments and Press
🔸 Various poems, interviews, posts, & essays selected for inclusion via book compilations, magazines, blogs, websites, & video:
- The Summer of Sport: Forward Poetry 2012 -Unity
- Poetry Rivals Collection 2013 – Magnetic
- Momentum Magazine (Summer – 2013) -Interview re: Creative Therapy & MS
- Momentum Magazine (Spring – 2015) -Interview re: MSpals & Connecting
- Something On Our Minds – Vol.III – 3 poems included
- Something On Our Minds – Vol.IV – 2 poems, 1 interview included
- LA Life Magazine – Madness
- WEGO Health: Patient Leader, Videos, Panel Discussions
- AXS Lab: Ambassador
- http://www.pajamadaze.com – poetry
- http://www.multiplesclerosis.net – My MS Story
- http://www.stigmafighters.com – Essay: Anxiety & Panic Attacks
- www.disabled_world.com – Several poems
- http://www.mycounterpane.com – several videos
- http://www.healthcentral.com – bloger
- http://www.tbi.com – Board Member
- When Bodies Break: Chapters & compilations
More information & Content Posted via: Twitter, Facebook, online blogs & poetry groups
🔸 Created/founded the MSpals organization and other facets/concepts of the group with Carolyn Palmer in 2014: @MSpals, Facebook.com/MSpals, plus numerous special interest groups
🔸 Passionate advocate, active committee member with local NMSS events, & other nonprofit organizations around the world
🔸 Strive to raise awareness, maintain a network of bloggers, activists, & other people involved with MS/chronic illness/disability advocacy works on social media accounts, blogs, media, PR, & other projects to educate the world about MS, chronic illness, & disability.