I Get Knocked Down, but I Get Up Again
This past year has been a journey for me. A trip to find the destination of feeling "normal" again after almost a year off of MS medications. The journey was not by choice but by medical necessity. My lymphocytes were dangerously low. However, that's another article all by itself.
Feeling low and acknowledging it
It's been a year that's taught me many things. One of the things it's taught me is that having bad MS days are genuine, and they suck. Some days suck much more than others. They get me down, and I lose myself. I've found that in those days, I can allow myself to go to some dark places that I've vowed to keep in the past. This past year, I even felt in a position where I wondered if I would eventually feel low enough to hit rock bottom again. To spiral and make bad decisions based on how bad I felt.
Fighting MS with newfound hope
However, I know that the bad days don't have to define tomorrow. I've picked myself up from rock bottom once, and as tempting as it would be to go to that place again when I'm feeling low, I can't. It's a place I worked way too hard to rise above. I will not go back. I deserve better, and the people I love deserve better. I'm constantly reminding myself not to live in fear of the next time, but instead, to live each day with intention and newfound hope.
To rip back the curtains that have caused the darkness and allow the sunshine to peek through again. It doesn't have to be a fast or overwhelming transition. I can open them as slowly as I need to, one step at a time until I see how bright and beautiful life can be again. It's finding the perfect balance between too dark and too bright, the perfect amount of light for me to see clearly. In celebrating each small victory of rising again, I see the glimmers of hope in the darkness.
The power of intention
I cannot be sucked into the lie that every day from here on out will be bad too. I have to encourage myself with gentle, and sometimes hourly, reminders that I've successfully made it through each lousy day and season thus far. I will get through this too. My body has changed, and I feel the shift, but deep within, I know I have the power to get back up and be intentional with how I love myself. I know what to do to feel my best. I have to find the strength to do those things. If I am not intentional with my health now, I accept defeat even on the most challenging days. To be intentional with how I treat my body now is to strive for a better future. A future that may not be better in every way, but I'll never regret trying my best. My only regret would be not picking myself up and starting sooner.
Let's not forget about resilience
It's easier for me to wallow in the bad days, but it will not be easy to live a life like that continuously. It will not be easy to give up and always wonder "what if?". What if I had just tried to keep going? What would my life have looked like then? I do not want to look back and wonder. I want to live now and know that if my health's future is darker in reality than I hoped, I did my best. I want to have that reminder and hope when darker days knock again. I know that they will, but I'll see that I can get through them when they do.
It's not until we go through trial and error that we can see what works best. When life is bumpy, keep going until you reach the destination you desperately wanted to see most. There's victory in getting there, and there's joy in knowing that you don't have to accept defeat. You win and lose, but triumphs are sweeter when you know you gave everything you had to get there. Defeat will happen. That's a part of life we all have to suffer through. But it's in failure that we can look back and see what went wrong.
A lesson from a 90s hit
We can learn and grow. Defeat makes celebrating the victories even more fulfilling. However small they may be, recognizing our accomplishments helps us build back confidence. They motivate us to muster the strength needed to carry ourselves through whatever comes next. To help us know that we can rise from the darkness. As the lyrics to Tubthumping by Chumbawamba say, "I get knocked down, but I get up again. You're never gonna keep me down."
Were you misdiagnosed with something else before receiving a MS diagnosis?