Bad Days Will Happen: Don't Beat Yourself Up
Life with Multiple Sclerosis is often described as a roller coaster. With a wide variety of symptoms that can pop up at any moment, we never know when we’ll have the next high or low. No matter how much we plan for the next day, we have to be prepared to toss those plans in the trash. I know I’ve woken up many days with a grand plan of doing super important things (you know, like laundry, showering, walking the dog, etc.), only to have my body suddenly fail me. These types of last minute struggles and changes of plans can be extremely hard to cope with and tend to make me down on myself. It’s important to remember that these moments will happen though, and we can’t beat ourselves up about them.
Canceling plans is a big part of having MS. The unpredictable nature of our disease can wreak havoc on even the best laid plans. Triggers like stress and temperature are often big culprits, however, there are times when our symptoms get ramped up and we can’t pinpoint any particular reason for it. Sometimes, it just happens. I don’t know about you, but when something just happens and I can’t figure out a reason, I get incredibly frustrated. Not that having a reason makes it that much easier, especially when some triggers are simply unavoidable.
Getting angry with myself
The frustration of my body forcing me to cancel my plans, whether they were big or small, has often led to me getting angry with myself. Yes, I know it isn’t my fault (no matter what friends and family might think). That doesn’t stop me from get down on myself though. “Come on Devin, you can’t even take a shower today!”, “Guess I’ll just stay in again because of this stupid body of mine”, “What did I do wrong this time?” (those quotes, of course, would have more, um, colorful language in them in real life). Does it make sense to blame myself for something an unpredictable and incurable disease causes? Of course not! Knowing that has never made me do it any less though.
Easing up on myself
As I’ve been battling this disease and this particular issue for close to two decades, I am now starting to ease up on myself a bit and I hope that everyone else can do the same. While it’s hard to accept, bad days are going to happen. Beating ourselves up about them won’t make them any better. There are a lot of things in life that we can’t change; if you have MS, this is probably one of them. It’s not fair (wow, how often do we think that?), but understanding that it will happen is important. Trust me, plenty of others won’t understand while you cancel at the last minute, you don’t need to pile on yourself too.
Tomorrow is another day
So these days, when I wake up, and it becomes clear that my body just won’t cooperate, I try my hardest to accept it and remember that tomorrow is another day. I know I can’t prevent it, but I can do my best to react to it in a way that doesn’t make me feel even worse. When it comes to MS, being upset is a sure way to make one bad turn into multiple bad days. I lay down and remember that none of this is my fault and that there isn’t much I can do. I remember that it’s OK to have a day that is just a wash and ruined. It’s OK to have a rest day. It’s OK to cancel. We are, after all, battling a disease every moment of our lives. I accept those days now, but with the promise to myself that I will make the most out of the days when I feel decent.
Have you ever heard someone say the following: