I’m not going to sugarcoat this – I’m three months in, and I’m still really struggling with what my MS diagnosis means to me.
As a friend told me some time ago, I am the captain of my own ship. We all face storms and bad weather in our lives that seem daunting, but we have to trust in our ability to sail our ships to make it through.
Louisa May Alcott
There have been days when I feel so depressed and anxious that it takes all that I have (and some very loving encouragement from my husband) to get up and move, or eat. To say that my stress has been high is an understatement, and when I feel weird things in my body, I can’t help but wonder if it’s just a physical manifestation of this stress/anxiety, or if it’s indeed an MS relapse. I look back on weird things in my past that I shrugged off and now wonder if could be related to this diagnosis, but of course hindsight is 20/20. Looking behind me won’t help me steer myself in the right direction.
One perspective that was brought to my attention a few weeks ago has really stuck with me. I was asked if I could find a silver lining with my diagnosis. I was put off at first. What could possibly be a silver lining?
But, following some introspection and some tough days, I think I’ve already found a few.
- Letting Go/Control: It’s really easy to get swept up in the day to day of things…with work, your social life, politics, entertainment, you name it. Our society has made us really good at filling up every moment of our time, regardless if whether those things actually bring us joy. I now realize that there are things I can’t control, and things I can. I can choose to be more intentional about what I spend my time doing and choose things that are restorative or bring me joy. I don’t have to read headlines about the Trump administration every day if I don’t want to. I don’t have to force myself out to events when all I want to do is introvert and binge-watch Veep or Adventure Time instead.
- Prioritizing Things: I used to joke that I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grow up. But now I do know. I want to be a strong, resilient woman who persists in the face of uncertainty and exudes positivity and optimism. I want to be an amazing wife, mom, sister, daughter, and friend. Having MS doesn’t mean I can’t be those things. In fact, I feel that realizing this will make me better than I would have been otherwise. I won’t waste my energy or effort on whatever isn’t my true passion or my goal in life.
- Self Care: To follow up on prioritizing things, I can’t be the best “fill in the blank” unless I’m the best version of me. So, I need to prioritize my health, fitness, and mental health. To this end, I’ve started meditation, just ordered my new yoga gear, and have broken in my new Fitbit. It’s incredibly important for me to be hydrated and nourished, calm in mind and spirit, and grounded more than ever before. Once I rebound from this bump in the road, I know I’ll be back on the treadmill and suns-out-guns-out-ing in no time.
Thanks for joining me so early on in my journey. With the right attitude, support, perspective, and amazing science, I forecast a journey of mostly smooth seas that never lacks in laughter and smiles along the way.