Overcoming the critical, negative thinkers when It comes to living with multiple sclerosis

In today’s world, we are constantly being made to believe that something is wrong with us because we have multiple sclerosis. Those of us using walking aids, wheelchairs and braces, for some reason are seen as attention seekers and broken. We move much too slow for this fast paced world and they seem to think something is wrong with that. And those who don’t need assistive devices; the stumbling, pain, emotional moments, and memory difficulties are viewed in the same way.

I can remember when I first started using a cane. I tried to hide it from people. Not out of embarrassment, but because of the responses it invoked in them. As soon as someone saw me walking with a cane, the questions began…too many questions, and ones that required exhausting explanations. I wasn’t ashamed of MS, I was simply tired of the constant ”I know what you need to do to make MS go away” responses and having to explain myself in return.

Now that I use a wheelchair, it’s a bit harder to hide my walking difficulties and I’ve gotten better at handling people’s looks, questions and comments. It still gets to me at times, but I’m okay with most people’s responses. I’ve come to understand that the negative comments made simply shows who they are as a person and has nothing to do with me at all. They are the flawed and faulty ones, not me.

The hardest thing for me is dealing with other MSers or other people living with a debilitating illness who can’t seem to believe it’s even possible to be positive in this mess. I actually feel sorry for them. For their narrow minded, judgmental, opinionated, critical way of thinking. These kinds of people are everywhere too. I can’t seem to get away from them, but I have learned clever way to respond to their smallness. For me, I let them know that I didn’t ask for their opinions and don’t need their permission to live my life my way. I’m sure this post with trigger some of them and put their thoughts into a tailspin.

It’s sad how negative some people can be. I can say that life is good and they will immediately tell me how wrong I am. I can share a moment of overcoming weakness and they will remind me of how weak my body actually is. I can talk about hope for tomorrow and they will try to pop that hope bubble with cynicism. I can share something positive online and they will twist it into a negative critical way of thinking. It never fails. I have come to realize that negative narrow minded people can’t see any good around them. There is no beauty, no possibility of good things happening, and no chance of a better day tomorrow. I wouldn’t want to live in that world.

One of the most important things I have learned is that multiple sclerosis has not made me less of a person. If anything, it has opened my eyes to seeing the real me and to seeing how broken this world really is. Yes, it takes me longer to do just about everything from checking the mail, to doing laundry, to even getting out of bed, but although I may not be fast at doing things and some things I can no longer do, I can still do a lot. It may take some creativity and some extra help, but I always find a way to do the things that some people think is impossible to do for a person with MS.

Ultimately, it would be wonderful to live in a world where disabilities took a back seat and negative thinking was obliterated but that day will probably never come. Regardless of what the world thinks, I want you to know that you are not broken, faulty, useless, or worthless. You are a beautifully, patched together, work of art covered in scars yet filled with amazing resilience and strength. You are not MS, a cane, a wheelchair, or an emotional mess. You are incredibly you! You can do anything you want to do it will just take some creative thinking and innovation. Don’t let the nay sayers rule the day. You can be positive in the chaos…there are a lot of other MSers who think that way too. Having negative moments is not bad. Living in negativity is.

MS Gets on My NervesMS WarriorMS Superhero


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

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. For whatever reason, reading your post has sparked off thoughts in my own head, and I hope hope hope it’s okay if I share them here.

    This is one of my responses to those critical negative thinkers.

    Cane: tick. (Not used since finding that I could not walk on my own without the use of a walker.)
    Walker: tick. (Not used since my falling and breaking one of my legs, but I hope to return to it.)
    Motor scooter: tick. (Same as the walker.)
    Wheelchair: tick.

    Do I want to have to live with these things? No.

    Do you have any other options to my living with these things? No.

    Without there being other options, the only other question I could easily frame within the remaining terms would be whether or not you think I should continue to live. Gah! Yeah, that is one of those things that seems confined to science fiction books and movies, but is not reality based.

    So, onward we go, back to critical negative thinkers. Are they amongst us? That is, do we think critically and negatively about other folks who have been dealt this shitty hand of cards, or do we think critically and negatively about our own selves?

    This is where I have to toe the line and say that, yes, I do think negatively about myself, I criticise myself often for things I have just done or had done long ago. Once done, these actions had results that I cannot change. I guess that all I can do from now on, if similar actions come up, react differently to how I’d previously done. I don’t know whether the results will change for those around me or for anyone else, but I can just hope that my reactions have better results for those around me. How to not criticise your own or anyone else’s actions, well, that is something I have no idea how to do!

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

    Thanks Penelope you are quite right that’s why I guess is why you started this site up and show us the right way to live in this mess. I have also found out that it’s not good to deal with a negative person unless you have a very strong positive feeling so you don’t get caught up with the wrong feeling. We have to be positive and that is not only for MS but in general life without any mess or wrongness. Being good is a good way of living and that is how I lived before MS came along and tried to take me away. I’m not going to let it.

  3. Colm
    Colm says:

    I am lucky I can work full time on frontline police duty I can workout 3-4 times a week but the negative thoughts keep invading my psyche so this blog coming today was just the tonic I needed thank you so much.


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