Sometimes feelings of loneliness creep in to grab a hold of your heart, sending your emotions plummeting so low that you feel out of control. Down, down, down they go until suddenly you don’t recognize yourself anymore. Despite all of your best efforts you feel as if you’ve landed in a tiny black hole with no way out. Scary. Isolating. Alone.
I guess it’s part of the price we pay when living with MS. Our emotions run wild because we’re living with an unpredictable disease that can wreak havoc on our bodies, minds and souls. And as much as we try to get things under control, either with medication, psychotherapy, self-help books or various other therapies we can’t tidy up the storm. Why? Because that’s the nature of the beast we’re living with, those nasty little (or big) lesions have a mind of their own and they break open our emotional state at any given time.
I just listened to a TED Talk, something I do a lot when I’m looking for consolation or inspiration. The speaker was asking why we don’t seek help for emotional first- aid like we do for our physical needs. I thought that was an intriguing question.
He began by talking about an observation he made when a child, barely old enough to read or write, fell and hurt herself. She cried for a moment, then climbed up to where she knew there were Band-Aids to place over her scrape. The child knew how to take care of her physical needs. Why aren’t we taught the importance of caring for our emotional ones?
Yet the emotional baggage we carry with MS isn’t easily solved. Guilt, anger, frustration, depression, loneliness, anxiety are all a part of what we experience.
I thought about this as the speaker continued on, listening as he lovingly spoke about life as an identical twin. My ears perked up when he mentioned his brother being diagnosed with “stage 3 cancer” and I stopped in my tracks. I was ready to start crying. But as I listened I heard him say he was more upset by his brother’s diagnosis than his brother was. His brother insisted on remaining positive, never complained and always carried a smile on his face.
I think you know where I’m going here. Yup. His brother beat cancer. His scans showed the tumors were gone and today his brother is a healthy man.
The moral of the story is that we must try and do the best we can despite MS curve balls. No matter what type of MS we have it’s important to remember that positive thinking is powerful. This is not an easy task when our bodies are misbehaving, our minds are not listening to our commands and relationships and living situations are not always optimal.
All I’m trying to say is this:
COMMUNICATE: Reach out to loved one and discuss your feelings. Don’t hold them in. It’s freeing and very important for you to let things out. The mind-body connection is strong and can help you heal in ways no one ever imagined.
READ: Read books (in print and online), subscribe to newsletters that interest you about hope, inspiration, happiness, emotional health, mental health, etc. Staying informed is your friend.
YOUTUBE: We all know that you can find all kinds of goodies on youtube. Subscribe to TED Talks or other channels that interest you. I also enjoy listening to Brene Brown, Pema Chodron and Wayne Dyer, among others. There’s also a lot of solid information about MS. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society and MSWorld Inc have marvelous videos to offer.
SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP: If you find your emotions are getting the best of you seek help from a qualified therapist. It is vital that you do whatever it takes to care for yourself as best as possible. I am on Medicare with no secondary insurance and I found a counselor who accepted my insurance situation. I’ve taken a break from going but it helped me get through many rough patches in my adult life. There is no shame in therapy. Think of it as your wellness plan.
We are here for you at MultipleScelrosis.net so please feel free to share your thoughts and questions. You are never alone. We are on this journey together. We will do whatever we can as a community to kick that damn emotion monster to the curb!