Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, unpredictable disease where the body’s immune system attacks the central nervous system (the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord). It is thought to be an autoimmune disorder and is rarely terminal. Most people with MS have a normal or near-normal life-expectancy. It is often the quality of life that is diminished.
The diagnosis of multiple sclerosis can seem overwhelming. When people hear the news it may take several days or weeks for them to even begin to think about it. When they do start to think, the grieving begins.
Denial is the first stage of grieving. It is a way to avoid the fear and uncertainty of the future. Denial helps survive the loss of the life that you planned on living. Denial is a survival technique to avoid the pain.
Anger is a typical reaction to the devastating news and if you lash out and blame others permanent damage to your relationships may result. If anger is expressed in a way that doesn’t harm others it can be healthy.
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ” Gautama Buddha
As the shock and denial wear off it’s common to feel pain and quilt. This might feel almost unbearable it’s so excruciating. It is crucial that we allow ourselves to feel the pain and not escape with alcohol or drugs.
Bargaining is an attempt to control the uncontrollable. You may pray with all your energy questioning “Why me?” You may make promises with hope of replacing your dispair.
After bargaining, the attention moves to the present. In this empty and lonely place when friends and family may think the you should be getting on with life you may isolate yourself and depression may set in. During this time you are confronted with the extent of your loss.
Instead of focusing on the things you lost, start to accept your life as it is, your New Reality. Your depression begins to lift slightly and you find the beginning of new hope.
Now it’s time to seriously study and learn about your condition. With the knowledge you gain you’ll be able to partner with your health care providers to make informed decisions about your treatment.
As you adjust to your new life it’s important to build a strong network of people who will support you in the decisions you’ve made; people that will accept you as you are and not expect more than you have to give.
You must put the disease in the back of my mind, not in the front. Be aware that it is always there and take care of yourself accordingly. Sleep when needed, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and learn how to say NO, not just to others, but to yourself.
When the condition is at the front of your mind, thinking of it continually, you’re giving up power. By putting it in the back of your mind, you are aware of your condition and it’s like you’re riding the waves, picking up the energy, and letting it move you forward.
You’ll begin to accept ‘your new reality’ – and invest in it. Instead of looking backward to a previous state of health and lifestyle you can now figure out what you can do, what you want to do, and do it.
“Although the world is full of suffering, it’s also full of the overcoming of it.” ~ Helen Keller
When you pay attention to all the good in your life it is amazing what you’ll find! You can build new dreams and discover your purpose.
MSrelief.com will help you find joy in your New Reality.