Being a positive person while living with multiple sclerosis sounds like an oxymoron. Is it even possible to do both at the same time? Some would say it can’t be done. They would say that life becomes too full of uncertainties, pain and complications that there is no way to face it with a positive attitude. But it can be done and is being done by thousands of people around the world every single day.
How is that even possible? How can anyone keep a positive attitude while facing continual challenges?
I think we have to first determine what being positive actually means. It has been misunderstood and improperly defined for far too long…so much so that it has been an impossibility for many to attain to in the midst of hardships of any kind.
Being positive has nothing to do with how many jokes you can tell, how funny you are, or laughing all the time. It’s not about living in an I Love Lucy episode. It’s not about hiding from the reality of what you are dealing with and trying to cover up the struggle in an attempt to keep people from knowing that you’re hurting.
Hard times are real. Tears happen. Pain hurts. No amount of covering it up or denying its existence is going to make it go away or lessen its troubles. Let me tell you what it means to be a positive person while living with MS.
Being positive means that even when you are facing the darkest storm of your life, you get out of bed to face the day. You may not look pretty. You may stay in your comfy clothes all day. You may veg on the couch the entire time, but you get up.
When pain has you doubled over in tears, you keep going. People that say MS is not painful are idiots. I have heard that some of those people are even doctors or MS experts. Well, me and a world full of MS patients will set the record straight. MS pain can cause even the toughest of tough people to want to give up, but you don’t.
When your brain is foggy and your thoughts get all muddled, you push through the murkiness. Sometimes that means you talk a little slower, use the words doohickey and thingamajig a lot, need help with even the simplest of tasks and confuse left with right, but you push through.
Even when your life has flipped upside-down, inside-out and stays in a constant tilt, you keep fighting because you simply refuse to be defeated. The tears flow, tempers rise, thoughts rage, and confusion happens, but through it all, you find a tiny ray of sunlight, a smile, a bit of hope to cling to.
You see, it’s alright to have negative thoughts when your path bends the wrong way or the unexpected happens. Don’t beat yourself up when negative feelings, thoughts, or even words creep into your life. You haven’t done anything wrong. That’s just a part of being human. It’s okay to be real. It’s okay to feel. The challenge is to not let those negative things grab hold of you and keep you from actually living.
Being positive is about allowing yourself to feel all those crazy, mixed-up things yet still having hope for a better tomorrow…and sometimes a better next 5 minutes. No quitting is allowed today. Hang in there and keep going. You got this!