Within our lives we all have endings and beginnings. Some are more dramatic than others, like a break up or a death in the family. Others may be less earth shattering, like starting a new diet or changing a bad habit. All have an ending to how life was before that event and how life will be in the future. It's that moment when you decide how you handle it. That moment that changes you. That moment when you know what you will and won't do. That moment that you begin to take charge of the situation.
This isn't necessarily immediately as the change occurs. Of course with a relationship end or a death of someone you love, there needs to be time to come to grips with the change. You need to grieve the loss and accept the ending you were not expecting. This takes time for your heart, your mind and your soul to come to terms with it and then decide what happens next.
Some people take longer than others. Some people move too fast and usually have more setbacks since they never real dealt with the pain of the change. When someone dies, you hear people begin the statements of "Everyone grieves in their own way" or "There is no right or wrong way to mourn". All very true. We also need to know ourselves and when we have taken longer than we actually need.
Being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is very similar to a death, as the time before and after changes you and the path of your future. Before you were told this news, there were hopes and dreams that you had that did not include having a life changing illness. Some people even accept it as a death sentence. There are people with MS whose first thought was "Am I going to die?" "Can I have children?" "Will I get married?" "Will my family have to go on without me?" "How will anyone love me now?"
It is a very scary prospect to hear these words, "You have MS". However, it is not life threatening. You can still have children. You can still get married. Your family will need to make adjustments, but you are still an important part of it. You are just as loveable as you were before you heard those words. "You have MS."
There is a grieving process. The loss of what you thought before MS and the fear of the unknown. The loss of how your body used to react to how it will react in the future. Having MS is something to learn about and what steps you need to take that make the most sense to you. This involves what types of medication you will take or not, what steps you need to take to make your movements easier, if you need other therapies and what other accommodations you will require.
These steps are all practical or necessary, but they don't necessarily deal with how you "feel". This is the grieving process as it reaches it's end and then turns into the "poor me" stage. This is NOT depression. Depression is a serious condition and needs to be addressed by your doctor. We all know the stage I am referring to and we don't always realize we are there. The point when you have all of your information and know all of the solutions, but we decide to do nothing because it "doesn't matter anyway." These are the moments when you know in your heart you are at a crossroads and can make a life changing choice. This is the moment when you take control or give it up.
We all have the power to focus on the good or the bad. We can be positive or negative. No one forces you into this choice. You may be there out of habit, but we all know habits can be broken. "Focus on the silver lining". "Find your smile". " Be positive". These are all things I try to do in my life and others here me say. I know. Annoying, right? Maybe, but it helps me. No one can be "Merry Sunshine" all of the time, and trust me I'm not, but we have to try. I do. I try. With each step I take, I try. Trust me, I slip. I fall and I say words that I hope my children don't repeat, let alone hear. I still find the moment to pick up and try again. Otherwise, what's my alternative?
I have MS. Should I be miserable forever. Should I just check out of my life and tell myself, "my family will be better off without me."? Do I not deserve to be happy or to have a future? I don't think so. This is MY moment. My moment to push through and find a better way. It is not easy, but I can't give up. I won't give up.
We all have choices in our lives as frivolous as choosing the color shirt we wear to how we raise our children. We make choices to get up and go outside or to stay in bed and hide under the covers. If your husband leaves you, are you going to give him more power and allow your life to be full of sadness? If you lose your job, does that mean you can never find work again. You lose a friendship and now you lose yourself? You have MS and now nothing matters?
Choose YOUR next step. Take control of YOUR life. You decide how you handle it. How you will move forward. Find your happiness for YOU! No one and nothing can break you unless you let it break you. We as a whole need to speak up, stand up, be free, be more, take control and do what is best for ourselves.
If you have fought with a friend, your child, someone you love, why are you waiting to make peace? If you have had a life changing blow, how will you find the positive spin? Anger & pride get in the way of love. Sadness and resignation hold you back. It may not be easy to push through, but with each step you can get closer to the life you want. You can get closer to making your dreams come true. You can find new ways to make things happen in a good way for you.
With MS, we may need to make changes. We may need to approach things in a different way. We may have limitations, but they are not road blocks. We have a choice and with that choice comes power to control how we handle the next step. Take your control back and find a way to see the silver lining, find your smile and be positive...for yourself and the ones you love. MS is a new part of you, but it's not the only part.