Finding Happiness after a Depression Flare
I recently wrote an article sharing my struggle with a depressive episode that lasted longer than usual. Thankfully, I am in a better headspace now.
Many have asked me what I did to realign my feelings? When these emotions occur, I remind myself they are not permanent. I try my best to lean into happiness even when I am not feeling it naturally. There is always something to be optimistic about, big or small. MS takes a lot away from us, and I refuse for it to take my joy.
The practice of gratitude
When I am feeling down emotionally, I use these grounding techniques to keep myself in check. I focus my mind on these topics to help me regain perspective. One of those techniques is practicing gratitude.
I know this seems silly. When everything is going wrong, what is there to be thankful for? The answer is everything. Although MS is a challenging condition, I am grateful for walking every day. I lost the ability to walk for roughly four months when I was initially diagnosed.
Other flares have made using my limbs difficult due to numbness. I have gained a new appreciation for myself and my body. If you're interested in practicing gratitude, I encourage you to use these prompts to aid your self-reflection. I have found that they work for me.
- Start each day with two things you feel grateful for.
- During the day, connect a random moment to appreciate. I often use walking to my kitchen as a moment of appreciation. I will whisper to myself, “Thank you! I am grateful for this moment of mobility.”
- Before falling to sleep, remind yourself of two things from the day you are grateful for.
MS can intertwine itself in all parts of your life
It is hard even to remember the person you were before your MS diagnosis. But, I promise you, MS is not your entire existence. Go ahead, take time to enjoy the little things such as a yummy meal, an exciting show or movie, and spending time with a friend.
Allow yourself to be in the moment and separate yourself from MS. Distinguishing yourself from your illness is essential to regaining your happiness. It took me a long time to process my new condition. But, I was a person before my diagnosis. MS does not get to come and steal my identity. I’m a fantastic person with a big personality. MS does not get to take that from me!
I love this quote from Karen Salmansohn. I use it a lot to refocus my thinking.
“You cannot control much of what happens in life. But you can control if you let it affect your mood and belief. If you remain confident that what you want is possible during tough times, then what you want will be possible. Life is constantly testing your commitment to snagging your desires. And life’s greatest prize goes to those most capable of keeping their eye on the prize – even amid a storm.”
Do not let what is out of your control interfere with all the things you can control. I hope this helps! Always remember, we are in this together, fellow warrior!
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. We want to check in. How are you feeling?