You are not multiple sclerosis

Do you ever feel like a failure? I know I sure do and did even  more so when my career ended because of multiple sclerosis, but I’m here to tell you that you are not a failure and that those thoughts are simply not true. Most people who experience their career being stripped away unexpectedly due to a chronic illness start to feel as if they are less of a person. It’s bad enough having to deal with a new life of unexpected struggles, but add to that no longer being able to do the thing we love and have been doing for years…well, it feels like a sock in the gut.

We assume that we are no longer useful or productive because we are no longer doing something of value. Society has taught us to think that way. But who you are as a person is not defined by what you do and definitely not by a diagnosis of MS. 

What you do is only one part of who you are, it’s not the full picture. Not even close. Deep down in the very depths of YOU is an identity. That’s where your values, passions, motives and ethics live. That’s where the true you comes to life. Your character is born there and grows. It speaks volumes of the person you are.

If someone were to describe you, they may share some physical traits like the fact that you have freckles or brown hair but when it comes down to it, they will share your heart and tell others of your character. How you selflessly give or rudely approach others. How you care for the unlovely or complain about everything that happens to you in life. How you smile even when life is tough or point fingers at others misfortunes to make yourself feel better. How you love or how you hate.

If your job, your career, was stripped away from you…your character is what lives on. You can always change your profession, but you are pretty much stuck with being you. That’s why it’s so important to know who you are, to understand your passions and to develop your character. That takes work and that’s where we should focus our attention. Life really is what you make it and that’s not always an easy thing to grasp or even to do.

We go to school for years to develop a career, but it seems we should be spending more time learning about ourselves. You are not a title or a job any more than you are a disability or MS. Right now, it’s time to introduce yourself to you. Get to know who you are all over again. Begin developing your character and adjusting the not-so-pleasant things you discover there.

I know this won’t be a popular post, but now is the time to actually become the real you. Don’t let MS be your identity. You are so much more than MS and oh, so much more than a career. As Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as making a ‘life’.

Make your life better, sweeter and more meaningful in spite of MS or a lost career. I believe in you!

MS Gets on My NervesMS WarriorMS Superhero


14 replies
  1. Gale Langseth Vester
    Gale Langseth Vester says:

    No, I’m not multiple sclerosis. It has far more energy than I now have or maybe ever did. I can’t recall anything else I’ve ever done that lasted more than a decade. Like the vilest houseguest you never remembered inviting, it’s now stayed 11 years. Eleven may have been a magic number according to ‘Spinal Tap’, but…

    • Gale Langseth Vester
      Gale Langseth Vester says:

      …and I left off any comment I could’ve made about how I wish that the film ‘Spinal Tap’ could have been the only spinal tap I’d ever experienced. O.o

  2. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    Thanks Penelope on the button as usual. I have been told what my life was and is and will be a few months ago. I know some of you aren’t Christian but bear with me please.
    I have been talking to God and He told me a few things about myself. First He told me He wanted me alive (after a fragmentation 70,s). I asked why? and He told me I wanted you to meet Janice (my wife). Then He told me I made you a good person. And last thing He told me You are worthy to live.
    All these things explain why things happened to me and these He also showed me, back until I was 3 years old even. That is 61 years ago. But it also makes sense of my life and restored me to who I am and why.
    Merry Christmas to all of you and I hope the new year will bring your dreams come true.

  3. George
    George says:

    I feel like a large piece of the responsibility was shifted to my wife. I do what I can, though. I’m a peer counselor and love helping others. With courage and love, we will be okay. Happy Christmas! 🎄

  4. Amy Jordan
    Amy Jordan says:

    It’s like you read my mind today with your post. I am struggling with my identity and self worth after my diagnosis. I will try to remember your words of wisdom when I am lost.

  5. Peggy
    Peggy says:

    Again really needed your Positive attitude! I somehow managed hit a kitchen cabinet with power wheelchair and destroyed it…much to my dismay as well as my husband. And of course had visitor coming. So yeah was feeling pretty low. Just thankful he is so good at the DIY HERO.

  6. Meeya
    Meeya says:

    I really love you to bits for this beautiful post..! 😘
    Thanks so much for reminding me of the important lessons MS is teaching us.
    And a very merry 🎄!!


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