Escaping negativity with MS

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:

  1. Reset your boundaries and limitations - accept that it’s OK not to be OK sometimes.
  2. There is you, and then there’s MS. That is where the relationship should end. You are still you, no matter how large your medical file is, so don’t let multiple sclerosis take anything away from who you are.
  3. If you need to reassess friendships, relationships etc, so be it. The greatest gift you can give yourself is freeing yourself of toxic situations and people that pollute your mindset and your overall physical wellbeing.
  4. Don’t let a tiny seed of negativity build inside your mind. Speak up. The best way of improving a clouded mind is a chat with a friend or a family member who accepts you as you are.
  5. Ban negative words. What you think, you become. Throw words like suffering, patient, warrior or survivor, in the bin.
  6. If you’re immobile, throw yourself a Netflix or box set binge party for one. I find it an excellent way of giving my mind an extended holiday by watching documentaries or another run of Game of Thrones. Add ice cream if you must!

Related Articles

The Long Road

It took her five months, but Living Like You blogger Karen finally made it to the

top of the long road! Read more about her journey

read more
Karen O’Shea
Written by
Karen O’Shea

How MS has affected my wardrobe

Living

with MS can sometimes affect the way you dress. For LLY blogger Declan, MS has
meant often choosing function over fashion.

read more
Declan Groeger
Written by
Declan Groeger

Quick tips to brighten your day when living with MS

We know that living with MS means that some days can feel tougher than others, but Jamie reveals how she brings the sunshine out from behind the clouds.

read more
Jamie Tripp Utitus
Written by
Jamie Tripp Utitus
This website intends to use cookies to improve the site and your experience. By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to accept our use of cookies. If you require further information and/or do not wish to have cookies placed when using the site click here: About Cookies.
Don't show me this again