A Lesson from MS: Don’t Hide Your Heart Away

Karen O’Shea
Written by
Karen O’Shea

I never realised how good it is to offload emotionally until I was diagnosed with MS. Before my diagnosis, I tended to keep my feelings inside and never realised how toxic this can be to the human spirit. Feelings should never be hidden away but sometimes we roll our emotions up in a ball and file them away for the day to help us face our reality. Then one day we open this file and we’re awakened. It is wiping the slate clean, forgetting the past and looking ahead to a brighter day.

Negativity in our lives is a destructive force. It erodes our self-confidence and well-being. It eats away our creativity and our joy. MS in itself can hardly be described as a positive thing, but what you do with it can have a huge impact on your life.

When I was first diagnosed, I had negative feelings about my MS and I could not really move on. Those negative feelings impacted my whole life and the lives of those around me. I firmly believe it affected my health as well. It left me drained and lethargic. Essentially, it crushed my spirit. It took away my happiness and my joy de vivre (of life). I slouched when I walked instead of standing up tall. I went inside of myself into a very dark place where nobody should go. I did not see people that much either. I preferred staying in my own bubble with my own self. I learned that this in itself is damaging.

Not until I accepted my diagnosis and turned it into a positive, was I out of that bubble and away from that dark place in my head. This does not just happen to people living with MS. It can happen to anybody who has let this negativity creep into their lives. Who has allowed negativity break their spirit – negativity in comparison to positivity takes so much more of your energy.

So, what happened when I embraced positivity? I became so much happier. Sure I have no control over my MS, but why waste my life worrying about it? Instead I face it head on and if in the future times get bad, I will deal with it when it happens. The best thing you can do in your life is embrace positivity. Nourish it. Water it. Let it grow. Respect it. Embrace it.

Your mental health is important but always remember it is also very fragile. Be the best individual you can be by pushing the negativity out. Talk about your emotions. Don’t ever hide them away. Teach your children to do the same. Too often the world pushes us down. We owe it to ourselves to push back up and not be beaten down. It is okay to show people your vulnerability. It does not make you weak; it makes you stronger than you ever thought you could be. So don’t hide your heart away. It is such a beautiful thing to share.

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