The physical and mental symptoms of multiple sclerosis are tough enough, but it’s often the emotional aspect of having MS that’s hardest to deal with. Being diagnosed with an incurable disease is not something anyone wants to go through. You’re worrying about yourself and your future, your family members and their futures, your medical expenses, the changes it means for your daily life, etc., etc., etc. It’s a lot to think about — and it’s enough to drive you crazy.
So how do you cope? Here’s what’s helped me:
- Accept that it’s not easy. Do not expect it to be. And don’t let anyone tell you it is. You have every right to feel overwhelmed and you are allowed to feel sorry for yourself.
- Find friends who have MS. After receiving many a blank stare when telling people I had MS and spending hours explaining it, I found friends who also have MS. Not to say my non-MSer friends are not amazing (because they are), but the ones who have it are the only ones who truly “get it.”
- Have an outlet. A workout, a journal, therapy — whatever. Find something that gives you the emotional release you need and deserve.
- Take it one day at a time. It’s been a year and I’m pretty sure I’m still in denial. Each day brings new challenges and worries, but there are also always new joys and reasons to smile. MS is unpredictable; try to accept that. All you can do is take things as they come. In the words of Ice Cube, “Life ‘ain’t a track meet, it’s a marathon.”
- Love yourself. Treat yourself kindly, always go with your gut, and do what makes you feel good. Don’t feel you need to defend yourself about anything pertaining to MS.
- Take deep breaths. When you’re feeling stressed and need a break, take a minute to close your eyes and breathe deeply in and out. You might feel silly, but it really will help you calm down.
- Cry if you want to. I’ve said before that MS Mostly Sucks. It does. Go ahead and cry when you need to. It’s okay to feel what you’re feeling; in fact, it’s good for you.
What are your tips for coping with the emotional hardships of having MS? Please share!help for MS, MS, ms help, ms resources, ms treatments, multiple sclerosis, newly diagnosed with ms