Your Anger Can Be a Gift
Last updated: October 2022
Living with multiple sclerosis can be an emotional rollercoaster. Anger is a common sentiment with complex causes that an individual fighting an incurable disease can typically experience.
Feeling angry is normal
This is a disease that steals from you. It can take your mobility, vision, your ability to think clearly, your job, your friends, even your spouse. The list of things this illness can take from you is almost limitless. It’s understandable to feel angry. You didn’t ask for this, you didn’t cause this. It’s unfair. Honestly, I would worry about you if you didn’t experience some anger at your situation. Anger can be a terrible emotion; you can, however, harness it for good. Anger can be a gift if you let it be.
First, a warning
Feelings of anger can often be misunderstood, both by the person feeling them and by those around them. Anger can actually be one way that the symptom of depression expresses itself. If you are excessively angry, especially if it feels like for no reason, you should talk to your doctor and mental health professional. There are treatments out there that can get you back to you.
Let your anger drive you
Anger is a destructive force, but you can harness it. You can use it to help drive you through difficult things. You can use it as motivation. If you are angry at your disease and what it’s done to you, use that to help you fight it. Remember it when you don’t feel like taking your injection or going to your infusion, or when you are struggling in physical therapy. Let it motivate you to fight your disease in any way possible. Your anger can strengthen your resolve to better take care of yourself.
Turning my anger into motivation
Last year, I got really angry at how MS affects my legs. They are often riddled with pain, numbness, and weakness. I fall often and I’m supposed to use a cane. Once upon a time before MS, I was very athletic. I was a hockey player and a runner and my legs were so important to me. So last year, I was determined to try to do something about it.
I live next to a large field, with a barely driven-on road alongside it. Despite the difficulty, I started getting out there and trying to walk down the length of it. I started out small, and it wasn’t easy. As a former marathon runner, that only fueled my anger. However, that anger powered me to keep at it. I fell often, enough to even hurt myself a few times. I kept going back though, because I was angry at my situation. Eventually, I got better and better, making it farther and farther. I have moved inside to a treadmill, with a mattress and pillows next to it, because I still do fall (but my anger helps me get back up).
The results of harnessing my anger
I now am able to walk farther than I have in years (at least, under very specific and controlled circumstances). It is not a lot, not even the amount I would run just to warm up in my past life. It’s significant for where I’ve been over the more recent years of my life though, and I credit some of that with harnessing my anger.
So much of life is adapting to what gets thrown at you. To be successful, you have to make something out of what you are given. Anger is a serious issue for many people, but, like anything, it can have benefits too.
Do you ever have moments where you question your self worth because of your MS?