My MS Breakdown of the Day: Bitterness, Complaining & Being Human

Person: You're just bitter because of your circumstances, your condition.

Me: Me? Nooo, I'm definitely not...

Person: Yeah, that's why you complain when you can't go somewhere, about stuff you can't do, about how your legs hurt and all that!

Me: Having a bad day, feeling frustrated, and expressing that I may not feel well doesn't make me bitter - it makes me human.

The impact of MS

To be bitter is to be angry, hurt, or resentful because of bad experiences or a sense of unjust treatment. Complaining is the expression of dissatisfaction or annoyance about unpleasant feelings or something bothersome to you in one way or another. My 'unpleasantry,' my 'bother' in life - to put it mildly - is MS. There are a plethora of both primary and secondary symptoms from this chronic disease that can undeniably contribute to both a bitter spirit as well as the spewing of complaints.

There are times when I resent my circumstances

Here's the thing: There are indeed places I want to go or times I want to go somewhere and cannot - due to MS symptom flares or because its symptoms have left me with little independence, hence, preventing me from doing so. That's bothersome to me and has definite potential to evoke feelings of anger or sadness. It really isn't foreign that someone might hear me utter "I hate my circumstances."

Living with physical and emotional pain

I experience the horrid feelings of burning on the inside of my legs, pain in my arms, and spasticity in my back, neck, and shoulders that leave me uncomfortable. I experience tightness, aching and sometimes even my pain relievers fail at their purpose in providing...well...relief. Unpleasant? Ya think? Yes! These hurt physically in addition to feeling hurt that I can't just 'be'. I'm not even going to pretend I wouldn't - or haven't - cried out, "Aaagghh!! This hurts and in more ways than one!"

MS takes away so much

MS robs one of so much - independence, ability, strength. Please do not think that I don't understand how resentment with being dealt such a hand could set in. I don't resent my life, but there has been a time or two in which I've thought out loud saying, "This absolutely, positively sucks!" with a shake of my head.

The symptoms are horrid, the journey tough. It's only human to feel it's unfair to have to travel this road. I might say, "Whyyy meee?!" at some point.

Asking myself the following questions

So, I asked myself these questions:

  1. Am I bitter SO I complain? No. Sometimes, my circumstances or a situation may get the best of me and I express my thoughts aloud.  And then I move on. It's not always easy, but I do.
  2. Do I complain BECAUSE I am bitter? Again, no. Sometimes, my circumstances or a situation may get the best of me, and I express my thoughts aloud. And then I move on. It's not always easy, but I do.
  3. Am I bitter IF I complain? You guessed it... Nope. Sometimes, my circumstances or a situation may get the best of me, and I express my thoughts aloud. And then I move on. It's not always easy, but I do.
  4. Am I even bitter at ALL? You might see this one coming… No. Sometimes, my circumstances or a situation may get the best of me and I express my thoughts aloud. And then I move on. It's not always easy, but I do.

We all have low periods

I answer those questions with the confidence of one who has fought hard to not be bitter, to not fall into the bowels of despair, despondency, and depression and to not focus on everything bad. I answer those questions with the confidence of one who tries to find and focus on even the slimmest light amongst some dark times. I recognize my emotional wellbeing is an important part of my overall wellness - and advocate for my MS brothers and sisters to be cognizant of the same. But let's face it, it's not always easy and the truth of the matter is that we will have low periods and because we're human, we may voice our feelings of frustration, loneliness, sadness, anger, etc. that are derived from living with an unpredictable, degenerative, chronic disease. However, I want others who may not understand that our complaints do not make us bitter...they simply make us human.

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