Living with the ups and downs of Multiple Sclerosis

Life is filled with ups and downs. Sometimes we go through days when all we seem to experience are the ups. Those are days we relish, enjoy, and soak up because we know the down days will come.

Regrettably, Multiple Sclerosis has more downs than ups. They happen when we least expect them and sometimes the unexpected is so far out of our plans that it messes up everything. So, what do you do when MS throws you a curveball, a sucker punch or even kicks you when you’re already down?

You do your best to find something good in the mess.

Did you know that you can smile when you find yourself in the deepest, darkest pit of despair and you can laugh through the pain? People may look at you oddly because you are smiling at a time when you should be crying (because that’s what they would be doing), but that just shows the strength you carry with you every day.

I can’t make MS go away. It is a part of my life now, but one thing I have done and something I learned early on is that I can’t let MS control me. It may keep me from being able to do the things I want to do and it may stop me from fulfilling the plans I thought were important when I could walk, talk and think correctly, but I refuse to let those struggles stop me from living.

Plans in our life change. They have been changing every day since the moment we were born. I can remember in first grade wanting to be a teacher, then by sixth grade I decided I was going to be a roller derby athlete. At age 18 I finally decided I wanted to become a computer engineer which yet again shifted to becoming a web developer and graphic designer. Then MS came along and brought about a new change. Now I find myself a writer most of all.

You can look back at your own life and see similar changes in plans. MS will cause you to readjust your life, but it’s important to go with the flow rather than letting the changes stop you from living.

MS has taught me the importance of laughing in the moment and never letting my attitude become negatively focused. Does that mean I don’t cry or have bad days emotionally? No. I have those days…more times than people realize. When those days happen, I allow myself time to have my meltdown pity-party where I cry, scream, rant and even ask all the “why me” questions. Then once I let it all out, I take a deep breath, shake everything off and move forward.

I can’t change MS, but I can change me. Sometimes it’s a fight, but I’d rather be a person moving forward in life than one being held back or stuck in a puddle of mud because of MS or any other life changing situation that comes along.

Find something you can do in life and do it with all your heart. It may seem small and meaningless to someone looking in from the outside of your life, but don’t forget life is made up of one small thing after another. The big things get the recognition, but it’s the small things that really matter. Shift with the changes and when the down days come, keep living.

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About the Author

Penelope Conway

Penelope Conway
Penelope started Positive Living with MS as a way to help others with MS stay positive in the midst of a terrible disease. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day. Multiple Sclerosis may never go away, but neither will her determination and her drive to help others through the journey.

24 replies
  1. Cathy Leydon
    Cathy Leydon says:

    Once again your words of wisdom and the way you express your thoughts started my days !!! Thank you, Cathy

  2. Meeya
    Meeya says:

    Complaining about the rain won’t stop it from falling… therefore, just stop complaining & you’ll feel better! 😂
    Thank you so much again for this reminder to stay positive, Penelope!!

  3. Mike
    Mike says:

    Thanks for such a thoughtful and positive article. Once again, you have lifted my spirits as you so often do. Have a great weekend!

  4. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    Thanks Penelope you have almost brought ma t happy tears, which in its self is a miracle, with the last thoughts of the day. OI have followed that path for a long time and it hasn’t changed at all. The small things are the least seen but are the most important. I would have never met my wife if I had taken an empty Saturday night and agreed to go to a party of teachers. What followed was a series of events that would not have occurred if I chose to stay at home. The big things are needed but they only shadow the real life movements.

  5. Chris W
    Chris W says:

    YES, have the pity party with an invite list of ONE, then move along! Having a negative outlook pushes people away, people who want to help and want to be in your life… your best to be positive after your little party! I have one about once a week, then get back on the Positive train!!
    THANK YOU Penelope for your wise, positive and encouraging words!!

  6. Christine McCarthy
    Christine McCarthy says:

    I can relate to your views. Much of my emotional attitude( ups & downs) seems out of my control- like a chemical imbalance….changes like a light switch ….believe me, I do everything possible to be positive – joyous…..

  7. James M. Dorn
    James M. Dorn says:

    I think I do more now than ever in my life and the friends that I have made are some of the best, they are true and reliable and face the world with the greatest optimism in this world.

  8. Samantha Louise Dunn
    Samantha Louise Dunn says:

    I do what I’ve always done in life and that is just ride the waves and go with the flow. It’s an impossible disease to fight and even if you try to fight it, you may succeed for a while but it will come back and bite you in the butt. Stay strong Mser’s x

  9. Kimberly Bradford
    Kimberly Bradford says:

    Well said. Thank you for this post. I am 51, diagnosed 6 years ago,,, i am in a current flair up and am struggling to complete a interior design job for my client. She is understanding and not pressuring me, i am putting pressure on myself, feeling frustrated and I go home in so much physical pain everyday. I know this particular “flair up” will eventually ease up but i am now re- thinking my future in this type of work. I love reading your positive messages, as I am trying to see the positive ☺

  10. KT
    KT says:

    Thank you for saying it. You allow yourself to have a meltdown. It is inhuman and completely unrealistic to be happy and upbeat all the time. We must stop telling ourselves that we can never just be in a bad mood. We have to let it out from time to time, but not let it consume us.

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