Remain Positive Despite Your MS
Keeping positive after being diagnosed with MS isn’t a walk in the park. Knowing there may come a time when you struggle to walk at all can take a huge toll on your outlook on life, no matter how sunny it once was.
Looking on the bright side throughout the various struggles MS brings isn’t something you can decide to do once and then forget about. It’s a decision you have to make every day, sometimes multiple times a day.
And sometimes, you have to take some time out to have a “pity party” before you can get on with being positive, says Teri Evitts, a working mother living with MS.
“I admit, I get angry at times and feel sorry for myself, especially during a relapse,” she told NewLifeOutlook.
“I attempt to only allow myself to have a pity party for a short amount of time and then move on.”
Keeping positive and optimistic makes you better able to self-advocate, which is important, says Ms. Evitts.
“The advice I would give is to allow yourself to feel sad or mad – it’s completely normal and warranted. But don’t stay there.
“Be mad for a while and use that anger to do something productive.”
‘Educate, educate, educate!’
Ms. Evitts says the unpredictability of MS has been a big challenge.
“When living with MS you don’t know what the future holds in regard to progression or individual symptoms. Initially after diagnosis I wasn’t aware of what could trigger or cause symptoms to worsen.”
Education and learning to listen to her body has helped: “I have learned over the years that stress negatively impacts my health and so I try to reduce stress in my life.”
Neuroligist and MS specialist Dr. Ann Bass agrees that educating oneself and taking control is very important for reducing the impact of this condition on your life, and as a result remaining in good spirits.
“Educate, educate, educate,” she says. “Take control early. You have MS, it does not have you.”
There are so many more resources available now than there were 10 or 15 years ago that it is much easier to learn about your condition and what you can do to improve it, says Dr. Bass.
But no one can do it by themselves.
“Surround yourself with a support group. You should never have to deal with MS alone.”
That support group should include your family, friends, physicians and other people who have MS, she says.