When you see me, you may see my hair fixed up nicely, my makeup looking flawless, my clothes neatly pressed and my shoes coordinating with my purse. I may have everything in place from head to toe including the smile I put on and the positive attitude I carry.
But underneath all the layers, below the wheelchair and leg braces, the real me exists. It’s a person who is dealing with an incredibly frustrating, painful, unpredictable and debilitating disease.
It’s easy to put on a good show for a few hours as I laugh and carry on about meaningless things. I can generally hold it together for a day out with friends or, as I did for years, a day at work covering up the tears and wiping them away before anyone has a chance to see them fall.
Then the moment happens when I find myself sitting alone on the couch, driving by myself through rush hour traffic, or in the shower, and I crumble into a puddle as life catches up with me. The emotional pain of living with multiple sclerosis is real. I hurt, cry, worry, get angry and scared. I think about my struggles, my worsening progression, my future and I desperately long for things to be different than they are.
That’s the human side of me…the real me. I don’t pretend to be perfect and never profess to have all the answers. Living with a chronic disease sucks. It’s hard and sometimes it feels impossible to navigate through the obstacles.
Never feel bad for feeling. Never think you can’t cry, complain or have your own pity party. Those things are all permitted. The thing you can’t do though is carry those negative, weighty feelings around with you everywhere you go.
Have your moment, crumble, fall apart, yell, scream, cry, and even punch MS in the face…hard! Give yourself 30 minutes (sometimes each and every day) to let it all out, then shift your thoughts to the good things in life…those things that give you hope and purpose.
Today may be an extremely hard day for you and you may feel like you’re walking through hell itself, but you know what they say you should do when you find yourself going through hell, right? Keep on going…don’t stop.
Hang in there. You are going to get through this time in your life. Let the tears fall then take a deep breath and remember, tomorrow is coming which means anything’s possible.