In general, I am a very positive person – some might even go so far as to say I am sometimes insufferably so. My favourite self-descriptive words are brigillant, a made up word combining great and brilliant, or supercallifragilisticexpealidocious (Mary Poppins) but even the most positive person has moments of self doubt, moments of being less than optimum, moments of being down but thankfully, those moments don’t last too long, and I do everything that I can to shorten them. For me, there are a number of things that I can do to recharge my batteries and regain my positivity, and over the years I’ve really refined them.
First and most importantly, I have had to learn to accept that it’s okay not to feel 100% all the time. Multiple sclerosis has a negative impact on everyone it touches to a greater or lesser extent but it is how one handles the diagnosis that has the biggest influence on the future. To the same extent, it’s important to realize that acceptance is not the same as resignation. MS is often referred to as a “snowflake“ disease; the variety of signs and symptoms and the inability to predict its course make for a great degree of uncertainty, and for most uncertainty breeds insecurity and fear which breeds negativity. Over the years, I have found several tools that have helped me fight negativity and stay on top of my game.
• Exercise: Even though I don’t do it a ton, I have found that exercising helps me stay positive and strong. I always find that ‘when I least feel like exercising is when I need it most’. Exercising needs a large degree of concentration; lack of concentration leads to mistakes which in turn may lead to injury and while concentrating on the exercises MS is relegated, at least temporarily, to the back seat.
• Staying occupied: I fight my negativity by keeping myself occupied; I read novels, I love word games and I blog. I only started writing in 2014 and I find it cathartic and rewarding.
In my fight with negativity I believe that it is vitally import to be honest with myself, to face any problem head on, and to not bury my head in the sand. If a resolution is to be found I will find it and if not then I must take the acceptance route and come to terms with the new reality. MS brings ‘new realities’ frequently, and learning to live with them is perhaps the biggest challenge of all.