Hang in there

It’s hard to not focus on how you feel when living with Multiple Sclerosis. Feelings have this way of ruling the day even when you don’t want them to. It takes a lot of energy to manage a chronic illness. That energy is wrapped up into every nerve cell in your body triggering not just pain, discomfort and weakness, but also anger, sadness and fear. That’s something people don’t seem to understand…both those living with an illness and those looking in from the outside.

I woke up this morning and everything was hurting, even my hair and clothes. Who knew nerve endings were in those things? It would be nice if there were some magic pill that would take everything away…and I’m not just talking about MS either. I’m talking about all the craziness that comes along with it. Sometimes there’s just too much change to even wrap your thoughts around and you find yourself wishing everything would all just go away.

I have days when I’m strong, but I also have days when I’m a wreck both inside and out. It’s funny though…people looking in on my life wouldn’t see it that way. They would see me as a strong, resilient, never quit, go-get-em kind of gal. Someone who keeps standing with every punch thrown her way and who seems unmoved by her circumstances. But that’s only because they can’t look inside my life and see the battles I fight every day.

I fight back tears with a silly little joke. I fight pain with a giant cup of coffee. I fight weakness by staying busy. I fight loneliness with a movie. I fight stress with a song. Every day is filled with a bunch of little fights, sometimes one at a time and sometimes all combined into one giant mess. Fights that at times I didn’t even know I was fighting. Yet here I sit, bruised, battered, and beaten up in this war we call a life with Multiple Sclerosis.

Do like me, take those battle scars and wear them proudly. You are an overcomer even when you don’t feel like it because you are winning battles left and right. Maybe you can’t do this or that. Maybe life has changed more than you ever dreamed it could. Maybe you are tired, weary and simply worn out. But I know you are not a quitter.

Focus only on today. You are going to make it through still standing, even if only on the inside. I believe in you. Hang in there.


Weary warrior still standing

I am not a resilient, non-wavering, always smiling, never hurting person. I have my moments of being overwhelmed and feeling as if Multiple Sclerosis is getting jabs in before I have time to duck. Just because I’m a positive person doesn’t mean I don’t hurt. That seems to be confusing for some people.

The reality is that some mornings I wake up and Multiple Sclerosis is just an inconvenience to my day, but other times it’s a monster that has me in a choke hold and won’t let go. I’m just telling it like it is. We all know it’s true whether we want to admit it or not. No amount of denial or positive thinking will change the devastation MS brings to our lives.

Sure, we do a pretty good job at slapping on a smile and pretending that everything is okay…stuffing our feelings and fears out of sight. But there always comes a day when we simply can’t stuff those things away any more and all our hurts and fears start leaking out.

And that’s okay. It’s okay to have a meltdown from time to time. It’s okay to feel. It’s okay to cry, scream, rant, or vent about MS. Think about it…you are living with a disease that is slowly eating away at your insides. You are going to have tough days.

Denial isn’t the answer to getting through a life with MS. It’s actually not the answer to getting through anything in life. What gets you through is facing the reality of what is happening and choosing to work through every crazy emotion that comes to the surface; every fear, doubt, hurt, pain, and heartbreak.

Where positivity comes in is not in helping you to pretend that MS doesn’t affect you. Positivity helps you to face MS head on by giving you strength to keep going. When you are able to make it through a day of tears yet still find a smile in your day, not because you are hiding from what’s happening but because it’s the only thing pushing you through to tomorrow, that’s the strength I’m talking about. For me, I draw that positivity from my faith. I couldn’t make it through a day without it.

You may feel like you’re falling apart, but I can see hiding in the shadows, a warrior. That warrior is you and you have not been defeated.  Don’t be concerned that your sword is a little crooked or that your armor is dented and tattered. That just shows you’ve been in the heat of battle. Wear those dents and scars proudly. You’ve earned every one of them…with honor!