How Hyper-Fixation on My Hobbies Helps Me Cope with MS

While sitting in my office, browsing the internet, I’m suddenly startled: my dog, Ferdinand has started barking. I jump from my chair and hobble to the front of the house, with high expectations. Ferdinand barks often, at just about anything, and sometimes at nothing at all, so I don’t normally react like this, but this time is different. I’m expecting a package, and if he’s barking, maybe it’s finally here! The contents of the expected package are important to me, vital even.

Expecting an important package

Medicine? No. A new cooling device? Nope. Perhaps a new cane to help me get about? Nada. It’s none of those things, yet is still important to my health. The expected package contains a model kit, and while it may not seem important to anyone but me, hyper-fixating on my newest hobby has been incredibly helpful for me. Like all over the various hobbies I tend to obsess over, it’s an important part of the way I cope with my chronic illness.

My hobbies are more than a distraction

In the years since I’ve been disabled by multiple sclerosis, I’ve had a tendency to hyper-fixate on various things. From binging certain shows on Netflix to building LEGO sets, I tend to go whole hog into various activities. The current activity involves building models related to a particular Japanese anime that deals with giant robotic suits (it’s like a two for one hobby because I can watch the show while working on the models!) When not doing that, there is plenty to read about it on the internet.

Toys have become my passion

Don’t worry though, I’m still obsessed with LEGO and am working on building my own little LEGO town alongside all of this. As I’ve said in the past, toys have become a passion for me). Would I have been into any of this six or seven years ago? Most definitely not. Living the disabled life is tough though, not only physically, but emotionally, and these activities have been my escape. My oasis in a desert of despair.

These activities are my main way to cope with disability

When I get into these escapes, I tend to do so fully. I’m no longer someone who dabbles in things, but rather someone who must go all in. These activities become more than hobbies for me. What might be a nice distraction for some is something much more critical to me. Obviously, a hobby or other activity can be helpful as a distraction to anyone. For someone like me though, just dipping my toes into something simply isn’t enough to distract me. As I mentioned before, this disabled life isn’t the easiest. Not working, not having a significant other, or family of my own, I need much more than a distraction. My life since being classified as disabled has taken a huge toll on my mental health. I get so involved in these new hobbies because my brain just needs a break from my current life. I need more than a distraction, I need an escape, and these hobbies, while juvenile to some, have become incredibly important in keeping myself alive.

My hobbies and activities are vital for my mental health

Hyper-fixating on certain subjects gives my mind somewhere to go when I’m feeling incredibly depressed, when the searing nerve pain is rearing its ugly head, or when everyone else is out doing something and I have to stay home alone because my body just won’t allow me to participate. I’ve always felt like moderation is important in everything and I admit, being hyper-fixated on any one thing can have its downsides. In many cases though, if I didn’t let these activities consume me so much, then there’d be room for the realities of life to do the same.

Life preservers

If I didn’t leap into my distractions, I worry that my disease’s constant assault on my mental health might beat me. In many ways, my hobbies have become my life preservers. If you’re nearly drowning and someone throws you a life preserver, what are you likely to do? Clutch on tightly and that’s what this hyperfixation is for me.

Find your own coping mechanism

I’m certainly not an expert, and I’m sure many would find fault with hyper-fixating on various things. We all have a different journey though, and I know I’ve survived this long and this behavior, while not ideal, has helped with that. While hyper-fixating on my hobbies has been my life preserver, yours might be something else entirely. It’s important to find it though. Living with a chronic and often debilitating illness like multiple sclerosis is a challenge. It’s also not common, which means you may need to find some uncommon ways to cope. That means you may need to think outside the box. It also means you may need to look to activities and subjects you’d never imagine you’d be into.

How do you escape from the realities of MS?

Do you find yourself hyper fixating on something since you’ve gotten MS? What are some other ways you escape and cope? Feel free to hit up the comments with some examples!

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Thanks so much for reading and always feel free to share!

Devin

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