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.

We persist

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.

Thanks for reading!

Devin

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Comments

View Comments (11)
  • JimmyMac
    7 months ago

    GREAT article. Very thought provoking.

  • Azjackie
    7 months ago

    Thank you for this article. You are right. I needed to realize this now after my recent review of how I’ve lost everything but my life. Still keep trying

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    7 months ago

    Thank you Azjackie, sometimes when we look back and see the toll, see all the losses, it can become kind of inspiring to see just how much we’ve made it through.

  • dawn1267
    7 months ago

    Self confidence is a skill set that has most of us with MS are a little short of sometimes. I know it is hard to follow through with some activity my trainer wants me to try because I have to decide and believe I can do it. How well I do something sometimes is just based on whether I have confidence or not in myself.

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    7 months ago

    Thank you dawn1267! Confidence can be so hard to maintain for people in our situation, but I do find that looking back and seeing how much we’ve already overcome is a good way to give ourselves a little kick in the right direction!

  • Julie
    7 months ago

    Isn’t that the truth? We learn to adapt to whatever is thrown our way. We have to, we are stronger than we thought we ever were.
    It’s not the path I had chosen for myself but it’s been an interesting one and in it, I have met the most fun and wonderful people I would never have met otherwise.

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    7 months ago

    Thank you Julie! That reminds me of the numerous times people have said to me, “how do you do it, how do you deal with and keep going?” and all I can think of is that I have no choice. MS teaches us the hard way how to adapt to just about anything.

  • Dimitri
    7 months ago

    Great piece.
    It really made me assess my own journey with this disease.
    I have been too busy trying to keep my life as normal as possible that I forget to take an inventory of what I’ve lost (if I did I think I’d go insane).
    For me it’s one day at a time.
    I hate that because I used to be such an organized person. I used to be able to count on my memory for everything, but not no more.

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    7 months ago

    Thank so much Dimirti! I completely sympathize with the once being organized bit. These days I almost feel like I’m one hour at a time, not even one day at a time!

  • Mascha
    7 months ago

    I am glad someone finally writes about this,because I find the more symptoms I get and the more years come,that my confidence in myself gets worse. I feel insecure sitting at a restaurant feeling dizzy,my body is numb and I have to try to seem I’m fine and no normal:(

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    7 months ago

    Thank you Mascha, sorry to hear about your dip in confidence. When you start to feel insecure, remember how much you’ve already made it through, and that you’ll get through that moment too. Your own history is on your side!

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