Learning To Redefine Yourself After Being Diagnosed With MS

Live with MS and Coping with Multiple Sclerosis

Tips On How To Discover The New You After Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis

Once obtaining a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, nothing has probably changed as far as your symptoms go except you have a name for what you have been experiencing. The future though is what you make of it. As your body has gone through many changes and you have learned to adjust somewhat, this will continue to be something on going for the rest of your life. Every one of us, although we have the same diagnosis experience different symptoms and respond just as differently with our treatments. I have met some people that it has definitely changed their lives completely, some that it moderately affected their lives, and then there are those lucky few that it barely put a dent in how they performed each and every day. No matter where you fit in the scheme of things there is one thing that is the same for every one of us, and that is we don’t know what the future holds for any of us.

For me, it interrupted my life in a dramatic way with one of the things I had to give up was working at a career I truly enjoyed. Most people said that all I did was work and they were right. My job as a surgical first assistant in orthopedic surgery consisted of really long hours with lots of “call” or overtime. When I wasn’t working, I was driving my two children to all sorts of church related programs, sports events, and extracurricular activities. I functioned as a youth sponsor at our church and was responsible for teaching and fund raising events for our youth at church. It seemed the only time I was at home was to bath, sleep, and completing house cleaning activities.

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WHAT TO DO WHEN MS STOPS YOUR LIFE?

When MS brought me to a complete stand still literally, I was totally lost with all the time I had on my hands. Serious depression set in due to not really having any skills outside of what I listed above and honestly didn’t know what I enjoyed as far as hobbies, or even if I had any talents at all. It took me a while to get my bearings and realize that it was time to figure out what I could do for enjoyment with all the extra time I had on my hands. I also needed to figure out what I could do with my impending disability. It wasn’t easy to get motivated to do this, but the choice was I could lay around in self-pity driving myself and my family crazy or I could try different things to find interests that would help me move on and help myself out of the depression that had taken over my life. I should mention that I was fresh in a second marriage and my kids were graduating and about to leave the nest. It took a lot of internal strength not to make them live with a depressed disabled person, so I reinvented myself.

HOW TO COPE WITH THIS NEED TO REDEFINE YOURSELF?

To do this requires a great deal of effort and patience. I found that it took several different tries at many things to finally find things I enjoyed. One of the biggest challenges was knowing my limits and pacing myself so that I didn’t tire easily or cause flare-ups for over doing. What I found astonished me, I had no idea that I could sew anything at all but found myself making clothes, curtains, decorative pillows, and other things. Next I tried my hand at faux painting after watching HVTV with all the home project shows that were on. I experimented painting on walls of my house, painting cabinets, learning different types of paint techniques, and even trying my hand at distressing wood with stains that all turned out beautiful. I realized that I could work at growing vegetables and flower gardens and that brought enjoyment. Even just reading good books and relaxing to music was great therapy for me. Before I realized it, my time each day was full of things I looked forward to doing. As time moved forward I found that blogging was a great way to help others and also a way to vent.

[themify_box style=”light-yellow rounded” ]“I have always been a believer that when one door closes another one opens, but sometimes you must search for that door.”[/themify_box]

MS does NOT need to define who you are as a person or what you can or cannot do. It is never easy to start your life over or rather redefine yourself but the alternative is be stagnate, remain in a holding pattern which leaves you where? It is ok to be angry and depressed for a while after learning you have MS, in fact those are a couple of stages you go through before acceptance. Just know that moving forward is important for you. I encourage you to try different things, it may take a while before you find your “thing” but believe me once you have, you will be happier and hopefully your life will take on a whole new meaning.

 

MS Blogger and Multiple Sclerosis Activist shares her journey living with MS, tips for others living MS and her husband, Steve, offers his insight as a caregiver for MS.