Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.
The last two months have been a drag, a downward spiral that soon started showing cracks in my otherwise sunny outlook on life.
Thirteen years of living with multiple sclerosis means I’ve learnt that its predictability is fickle and that I have to plan life around symptoms that come and go as they please. Each relapse and each prolonged absence from life means I have to reinvent myself, as if I have to rewrite chapters five to 13 of a book that keeps changing languages, roles and plot lines.
This March came, and the storyline changed once again. Symptoms like a change in my mood, nausea, infections and extremely itchy hands were added to a continued bad bout of existing symptoms including facial pain and fatigue. As a result, I lost trust in my body and what it was otherwise capable of. I felt quite near to experiencing breaking point, something I had never felt before. This made me realize that having a chronic illness can truly feel like a forever-illness sometimes.
I knew the answers on how to get motivated again were lying within me, yet I couldn’t seem to find them fast enough. And as with many hidden symptoms, I was a genius at concealing their impact by now. Sure, I said a few strange things here and there, and went offline a while longer but me, depressed? Nah!
Depression or changes in mood can be directly linked to MS-related frontal lobe brain damage, and it can also be related to the psychological impact of MS itself. Thankfully, I have a strong support network who pick up on changes faster than I can say ‘yes’ in Japanese, so I was soon on the way to better managing MS again.
I once wrote, “As sobering as this sounds, I tolerate MS. There’s no resentment or blame, no more heartache, guilt or doubt. I find solace in seeing science produce more and better research and clinical trial results.” When I can remember this, I remind myself of these words.
While you may feel negativity affecting you, there are many things you can do to rise above difficult situations and pessimism: