Gaining Confidence Through Survival
Over my near two decades battling Multiple Sclerosis, I’ve had the disease take a lot from me. That isn’t meant to sound sad or defeatist, that’s just reality. I’ve had a lot of changes that I never expected, and I’m not in the position I thought I’d be at this point in my life. That happens to many people, whether it’s MS or an accident or bad luck or whatever, life doesn’t always go as planned. That isn’t something to be down about, that’s just life. You pick yourself up and adapt and go on as best you can. Going through this process for as long as I have has really made me come close to losing something else unexpected: my confidence.
What is confidence?
I like to think I was a pretty confident person, even throughout most of my early years with the disease. I suppose I’ve been worn down though, and my confidence in myself is not what it once was, and I’ve started to ponder that. I guess that’s to be expected with the many changes I’ve undergone over the years. What is confidence anyway? The dictionary says it’s “The feeling or belief that one can rely on something or someone; firm trust”. After some many things that have seemingly gone bad for me, how can I possibly have firm trust that things will work out? How can I believe in myself, when my body has betrayed me so many times in my life? It’s hard to be confident about anything when you know you may wake up the next morning and be unable to walk or talk or even see.
It's hard to remember how much you've overcome
I bring this up because I know I’m still probably filled with a bit more confidence than many others with the disease. I still know that throughout everything I’ve gone through, I’ve still come out of it. Changed, yes, but I’m still alive and kicking. It’s actually a nice confidence booster to think that I’ve endured all that I’ve endured and have kept on keeping on. There are many days though, where it’s hard to remember that, and I’m willing to bet that it’s like that for many of you. It can be hard to be confident in anything when you live with a disease, of which a primary descriptor is the word “unpredictable”. That very nature of the disease is enough to destroy confidence in most people.
However, living with this unpredictable beast is something we can grab confidence from. While finding confidence in our body and condition may sound impossible, we can be confident that we will get through whatever the next series of obstacles that pop up. That’s the important level of confidence we must strive for, no matter how much our body fails, our spirit will persevere. When you live with MS long enough, you know you will get through just about anything. You’ve learned the hard way that you will survive, you will adapt, and you will keep on going. Because that’s what MS warriors do, we keep going. We may need a cane, or a wheelchair, or some other apparatus, but we persist because we have to. Living with MS should give all of us the confidence that we can get through anything.
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