Last updated: February 2023
I think January is hard each year. You’re settling down from the holidays and trying to get all of your ducks back in a row. Each January, I’m exhausted for these reasons. For whatever reason, each year January beats me down. But, this January has been harder because there have been so many factors stacked against us, too. So, how do you deal with life when it’s really hard on top of having MS? How do you take care of yourself and others on top of managing a disease?
Find the good
I’ve been down because of the loss we’ve experienced this past month, and the emotional toll it’s taken on my body has been rougher than I expected. Since I like to be honest and transparent, I will tell you that we, unfortunately, suffered a miscarriage, and it has been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever gone through. It’s been hard on my heart, and hard on my body. Loss of any kind is never easy. Then, having both my son and me sick off and on for the weeks during and after that left me weak and exhausted.
Grateful for support in trying times
But in all situations in life, including MS, when life throws me curveballs, I have to find the good. I remind myself that although the loss was substantial and my heart is aching that I will never get to meet that little one, that I still have a wonderful healthy son, and my husband and I can continue trying for our second child when we are ready. And although the sickness was tough and felt never-ending, we got past it. It reminds me to be grateful that most of the year, my little family and I are typically very healthy. It reminds me too to be grateful for the wonderful people we are surrounded with who have loved on us and supported us through such a trying month.
Pray, write, meditate
If you’re not religious and praying isn’t your thing then that’s ok. Meditate, do yoga, find your quiet, happy place. But for me, praying helps. I find comfort in knowing that the God that I believe in acknowledges my pain and hears me when my heart and my body ache. It also is of great comfort just to put what I’m feeling into words and let it all out. I find the help my soul so desperately needs when I dive into scripture and pray. Again, this doesn’t have to be in the form of prayer; you can journal and write it all out. Holding onto pain and hardship is never good, and it’s good for your body to release all of the negativity and hurt that you may be dealing with.
Find your support
I wouldn’t have made it this past month without wonderful friends and family. They were there when I needed to talk, and they were there to help when I couldn’t do everything on my own. When you’re going through a rough season, find those people that will simply listen and help carry you through it all. Let yourself feel the weight of it all, but don’t let the hard times swallow you whole. After everything, I just kind of wanted to crawl in a hole and watch Netflix until all of the pain and illness subsided. Instead, though, I forced myself to get out and keep going.
I had my days where I cried and moped
I had my days to be mad and not understand. I still do, but I don’t allow myself to stay there. Grieving is important, and it’s good. It’s cleansing. So, please grieve whatever you need to grieve, but then get up and keep going. With MS, we have to keep pushing and take care of ourselves. If anyone understands the firm grips of emotional issues and depression, it's me. I know it’s not always easy to get up and move when you’re down. However, I’ve learned that if I don’t keep pushing that I’m doing myself a huge injustice. It also helps distract me so that I can continue to do things to care for myself. If I focus on going out, eating well or exercising, etc. then I’m not as consumed by the hard things that are going on around me.
How I get through hard seasons
I’m not an expert, obviously, but these small things are what has helped me survive a long hard month. They’ve helped me come out of my funk and continue to take care of myself. When everything feels like it’s going wrong it feels hard to survive, but believe me, you can. I will leave you with one more quote that has helped me, and I hope it helps you through your hard seasons as well:
“Strength grows through struggles; courage develops in challenges and wisdom matures from wounds.”
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