A smiling woman leaning happily out of a car passenger side window while headlights project hearts.

The Change In What Makes Me Happy After MS

It's absolutely no secret that things change as our world evolves. Think of fashion, with blouses with shoulder pads and "shag" or "mullet" hairstyles no longer being the trend. Or there's technology, from payphones to cell phones and even autonomous self-driving cars! Of course, there's also personal evolution - we transition from asking for parental permission to attend the upcoming game or dance at school, to shifting to 'adult' priorities like focusing on the future and identifying what we want and what we need to do to secure it. Even the things that concern us or elicit our various emotions can change as the circumstances change along our trajectory.

Huge changes in my personal life

As the world around us changes, so do our personal lives. Whether life changes due to outside or internal stimuli, we can find ourselves finding a difference in our perceptions of said stimuli that affect us. For instance, I had children, and mothering evoked huge life and priority changes along with new concerns relative to my children's wellbeing. And when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, my world again changed drastically and created a new set of happenstances that made my feelings different.

Emotional constants

There are always emotional constants. If someone cut me off on the road or stole my parking space (when I was still driving), that was an exasperation that never went away. Mice continue to scare me immensely. Rude people still irritate me and bring me pause. And I am still happy when I celebrate my birthday, spend time with my family, or accomplish a goal.

New frustrations that come with MS

But some things that I didn't think about before suddenly mattered. A building that offers the bare minimum relative to handicapped accessibility or an event I want to attend that provides little to no accommodations, perhaps, is a new source of anger or frustration. A new fear is of me falling and seriously injuring myself. No longer being independent, I worry about being or becoming a burden. However, I tend to dwell more on reflecting on my 'happy' in my new world and find the changes interesting.

How I react to some changes has evolved

I recall how happy I was in the past when I purchased a new living room set for my home. Years later, I began struggling with rising from a seated position, and my parents purchased me my very first lift recliner. The circumstances of why I needed said chair were forgotten as I ecstatically accepted the chair that would allow me to get up independently!

The freedom from a new set of wheels

My first brand new car that I could call my own had me feeling over the moon, but receiving my new wheelchair had me excitedly anticipating being out and about with my new set of wheels!

Changing priorities and preferences

A simple scenic ride through the country to me is as blissful as a week or even weekend-long vacation to a beautiful destination. It's not that vacations aren't nice, but for me, just the thought of the preparation and 'what ifs' for going away can tire me.

While I found enjoyment in purchasing a new pair of cute shoes or sneakers, I now find such pleasure in discovering a new style of anti-skid socks which I now wear on my chronically swollen feet.

My world evolves with MS

The delight I find in opportunities to get dressed in nice attire as opposed to just throwing something on for the day, and when I can put an article of clothing on or stand and transfer independently, or when I am assigned a home health aide that meshes well with and cares properly for me and my home - these are examples of blithe moments for me as my world evolves with MS.

It's actually quite amusing to note the change in my 'happy' after MS. I'm just happy I still have a 'happy' somewhere in this 'new' world.

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