When you’re living with multiple sclerosis, it can be hard to remember to be grateful for the little things. Living Like You Blogger Birgit Bauer offers her advice.read more
Have you ever woken up and stayed in bed, watching the clock, thinking today will be just like any other day? I have on many a day, but then one morning I realised it doesn’t have to be that way – today can be special, it can even be spectacular. It all depends on how I react today. Will I just carry on doing whatever needs to be done to get through the day, or will I also make the effort to look for that something special each day might bring?
Multiple sclerosis used to have the ability to give me a few more kicks when I was already down. Getting up in the morning was a struggle and to keep going was extremely difficult. Keeping all my balls (family, friends, job, house, myself, etc.) in the air seemed impossible, and I felt like I was constantly dropping the same ball (me) as well as some of the others ever so often.
Thinking back, the best way to describe how I felt was that some of my days were an endless struggle to cross a desert where the sun was always burning down on me. The sand gave so much resistance that after hours of walking I would find myself in the same place, as if I was walking in a circle. I felt that although I had tried all day to achieve something, in the end I had actually achieved nothing. This made me feel worthless.
Fear and anxiety of what MS might do to me would consume me and prevent me from even trying to get out of the storm. I became so scared of everything that all I could do was to wait for the next bad thing to happen. At this stage in my life I had convinced myself that the worst was yet to come, but I now know that best is yet to come.
It is like some days, even months, of my life went missing. I suppose I was in what we could call “survival mode” – just getting through one day at a time. The problem with my way of survival is that I missed out on so much because, although I was physically present in my life, emotionally I was not. I cannot get those times back but I can make sure that I am never again absent from my own life by finding value in today. Here is my advice for others looking to do the same:
• Start getting up a few minutes earlier so that you have time to enjoy your morning routine. Whether it’s savouring your cup of coffee or spending some quality time with your significant other, starting the morning off right really sets a precedent for the rest of the day.
• Focus on treasuring the people that you have in your life each and every day. Although some days it’s easy to just sit down and focus on how tired you are, choosing to participate in an activity with your loved ones will always add more value to your day.
• Try to always be satisfied with what you have achieved in your day. Sometimes you may be frustrated with how your limitations affect you, but it’s always better to focus on what you have accomplished rather than what you could have.
• Take pride in whatever you accomplish and always do it to the best of your abilities.
• Always appreciate what you have rather than what you don’t. It really makes a difference!
• Do something that gives you pleasure every day. Whether it’s having coffee with a friend or spending time with your family, taking time for you is important and necessary to finding joy.
And when this day is done, you will fall asleep with a contented heart knowing that your life has value.