Have you felt lonely since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis? Almost as if isolation were an actual symptom of the disease? If you have, this post is for you. We all know that isolation isn’t actually a symptom of MS, but sometimes MS can make getting out and socializing seem virtually impossible. The reality is that humans are social animals. Without interaction, we’re bound to be unhappy. So what can you do to counteract these feelings when putting yourself out there isn’t as easy as it used to be?
Let (Some Of) Your Insecurities Go
Half the battle when you’re trying to get rid of insecurities is getting over the potentially shattered self-image that accompanies a diagnosis. Though it is difficult, do your best to minimize emotional projection. The truth is, people might treat you differently. However, if you keep thinking about this possibility, internalizing it to the point where your actions reflect how others may act toward you, then you’ll likely manifest the reaction you don’t want. Sound complicated? That’s because it is. Keep things simple. Just relax (as much as you can), and keep those relationships open and honest.
Invite ‘Em Over
Getting out of the house may sound like a painful proposition (literally), so ask others to come to you. Break open a bottle of wine (even if you won’t partake), put on some music, and chitchat all night long. Don’t want to make an effort? Even better. Who doesn’t want to attend a makeup free sweatpants party? We’ve already RSVP’d!
Earlier in the Day Keeps You Awake
As mentioned by Beth Prystowsky on her blog, Modern Day MS, “as the day progresses, fatigue sets in and [one begins] to dread the process of showering, getting…ready and leaving the house.” Fortunately for you, the advent of brunch culture coincides with that of your MS, so make the most of it and ask the ladies out for some stuffed French toast!
Take Care of Everything Else
Having the stamina to socialize means ensuring you’re as healthy as can be. Maximize your energy levels by getting enough sleep, eating the right food and drinking the right drinks. Otherwise, you have nobody to blame but yourself! What’s more important, a movie marathon by yourself that leaves you sleep deprived, or a night out with your bestie, Sheila? (And dinner is on Sheila…right!?)
Say BYE BYE to Bad Friends
Friends not sticking by you through the tough times? Let them go! Try to consider this a blessing in disguise, as you’re left only with those who are loyal. They are the ones who appreciate all of you, including your MS, and will be there for you. Don’t let those true friends fall by the wayside by isolating yourself. If you feel depressed, struggling to find the motivation to maintain relationships, then seek help. Your emotional health is vital to you making the most of your life, of which socializing is an important part.