THE POWER OF POSITIVITY

The Brain and Body Loves Positivity

Each day can be different when living with Multiple Sclerosis; which can be difficult to try and plan anything in advance. It seems with me, that the constant changing weather from hot to cold then the springtime storms can truly play havoc with me. I have almost gotten to the point of stop watching the weather forecast because I don’t want it to prematurely affect my mood.  Any day that the sun is out no matter what the temperature is puts a smile on my face; I LOVE the sun! Getting a smile out of me doesn’t mean it is a good day though. There still are days that pain, muscle spasms, even fatigue can make accomplishing simple tasks hard. Trying to stay positive during these times and not give in to complaining or even crying becomes a chore.

Staying Positive with Multiple Sclerosis

Learning to stay positive during difficult days has become important to prevent going into depression.  Mood swings, anxiety, and depression often are seen in MS patients. I include them in the symptom list when speaking about Multiple Sclerosis due to so many of us experience them at some time or another. Most individuals with a chronic illness usually do. It is hard not to when it interferes with plans that have to be cancelled or interrupts our daily routine; especially if we feel we are letting a loved one or friend down. Anger can rear its ugly head easily when it seems we can’t control how we feel and it costs us relationships or even a job. I have been in these shoes and I can say with 100% accuracy that even though we have a RIGHT to feel this way it doesn’t change a thing. All these emotions are legit and normal especially when losing the use of different body parts. So I am not saying you shouldn’t feel these at all, just don’t spend or waste too much time living with negative feelings. It increases symptoms which only will make you feel worse and impact negatively those living with you.

The first thing I want to say is if your MS is out of control, then start by talking with your physician to see if you are in a relapse which needs to be treated or if your medication needs to be changed. Getting the MS under control needs to be the top priority. Since my diagnosis, my medication has had to be changed several times due to me setting up a tolerance or not being strong enough. How many relapses have you had within a year’s time? If over 3 or even if you feel you stay in a relapse then maybe it is time to try something different. If your physician isn’t open to changing medications maybe consider a second opinion. When was your last MRI? Does your MRI include head, neck, thoracic region, and even down your spinal cord? Maybe it should! Lesions can appear in any of these locations. Are you having decreased sensations in different areas of your body? That could be a good indicator that new lesions are formed somewhere different from where you have had them in the past. Having good communication with your doctor is important for him/her to treat you correctly so please keep up with what is going on with you in between visits.

If what you are experiencing is just the normal good and bad days though, learning different techniques to lift you up and help you stay positive through these days is a good idea. Find something to take your mind off yourself by getting involved in something that interest you. A good movie, book, listening to music, painting, getting together with some friends to play cards, or just sitting outside letting the sun hit your face are just a few examples. Some other things can include meditation, walking, yoga, or a simple exercise can lift your spirits. None of these examples cost money and easily is a distraction. Whatever you choose, make it about what YOU enjoy that doesn’t require deep concentration. Venting to someone about whatever is going on with you can also help, but be careful that you set a time limit to whomever you are talking to so it doesn’t become a long gripe session. You don’t want to run any of your friends or family off from complaining too much. There are several different MS communities on-line that you can gain support from and they understand along with being able to provide advice. Again, just don’t spend a great deal of time on these sites because most communication on there is people venting and can keep you in a negative mood. I am not saying these sites are bad or not worth spending time on; just that if you are down it can keep you down if all you are reading is how bad everyone feels. There is not a soul on those sites who don’t understand completely how you are feeling or experiencing! You can get great advice from some on them too. It is a great place to get a question answered if pertaining to MS.

Love Yourself, Really!

Most of all make sure you love yourself no matter what you can or cannot do! You have to love and take care of yourself before you can take care of others. YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY AND TO PUT YOUR NEEDS BEFORE ANYONE ELSE. Don’t let anyone tell you different! The last thing word of advice that brings joy to me is when I can do something for someone else. Giving is the best gift of all and can put a smile on my face faster than anything else. This can be something simple like making cookies for the kids or neighbors, calling on checking on someone you haven’t heard from in a while, or performing a light chore for a friend or loved one whose life seems to be chaotic. Know your limits but don’t be afraid to push the envelope a little. A friend living with MS once told me that staying positive is our full time job and I believe it. Learning to be as positive as possible will decrease our risk of depression and the need for additional medication for other symptoms. I encourage you to do everything you know how to live as happy and positive life that you can. The benefits will truly outweigh the negatives.

I would love to hear from you on different things you do to stay positive so please contact me and share your story! Look forward to hearing from you.

 

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.