I'm Stronger Because of MS

You know what they say, “You never know how strong you really are until being strong is your only option.” That’s a saying I use a lot when it comes to living with Multiple Sclerosis.

Before I was diagnosed with MS, I felt like I was a strong individual and that I could take on anything… a bit cocky I’d admit. Then came the diagnosis of MS with a horrible flare and I was lost. I wasn’t strong, I was weak and devastated and depressed.

I didn't know how to move on

It took me a bit; I had a period of time where I didn’t want to talk to anyone, didn’t want to do anything and I was pushing those closest to me away. I don’t think it’s because I didn’t WANT to move on, but it’s because I didn’t know HOW to.

Could I just go back to life before diagnosis?

Could I just go back to my ‘normal’ life of how I was before I got diagnosed and had a flare that left me with major hurdles I had to climb over? Would I ever even be able to walk again, talk correctly again, just be the Ashley that I had been again? It took a lot for me to just get out of bed, but I did. Day by day, I started to get that fight back in me, the will to keep going. Because let me tell you, I was in a VERY dark place after I was diagnosed. I was at a point where I didn’t know if I wanted to live the rest of my life like this.

Getting that fight back

If you’re familiar with my style of writing, you know that I have a sense of humor with a lot of sarcasm, that’s how I’ve been my entire life. So for me to get as depressed as I was, and as quickly as I did, was scary to not just me, but my family as well.

I kept going

As I started to adjust to the “new me” as I refer to it, I started getting my spirit back. This wasn’t a fast turn around, and I still had to endure A LOT of therapy to even function correctly, but I kept going. So for those of you who are reading this, who have ever thought of giving up, know that you aren’t alone… ever. It will get better, you will get past that hurdle, and you will come out stronger than before.

Celebrating my MS anniversary

I recently ‘celebrated’ my eight-year MS anniversary. I say I celebrated it because it truly felt like something to celebrate. I’ve had so many road blocks pop up in the past eight years that it felt at times like I was putting one step forward, just to go two steps back.

The future is still scary

I’m stronger now than I ever was because I’ve hit rock bottom and literally crawled out of it. I know how bad it can be, and I’m doing everything in my power to make sure that I don’t have to live through that again. Is it still scary to think about what could happen to me, yes.

The amazing people I've met because of MS

However, I can’t even begin to tell you how many amazing people I’ve met because of my MS. All of these people that speak to me through my blog or on social media, I need y'all to know that you are a big part of my strength to keep fighting. It’s mind-boggling at times to think that just me venting online so many years ago has turned in to me becoming a patient advocate and spreading awareness and the cold, hard truth about MS. And I honestly am so grateful that I have so many people that support me with my thoughts and feelings.

Stubborn and strong-willed

My husband tells me that I’m so stubborn that I will continue to argue that I’m right, even if there is evidence that I’m wrong… so, I know I’m stubborn enough and strong-willed enough to fight this battle. He has to repeat this as well at times, because it’s not all sunshine and roses all the time. I still go through hard times; I still have moments where I’m just fed up with dealing with this illness.

We get each other

But let's face it, we’re all warriors in this battle. We fight an invisible battle on a daily basis that not many can even begin to understand. But we get it - we get each other. I feel like in the beginning, I was just taking answers from healthcare professionals without ever questioning it, even if I wasn’t satisfied with their care or how they treated me. Now I know better, because we are our best advocates, and we have to demand the respect we deserve and the care we deserve. Science doesn’t teach them how MS really makes you FEEL. You can only know how it feels if you have lived it.

This is why I feel like I’m stronger because of my MS. Because I know what a true struggle is and what it’s like to have your abilities taken away from you within a matter of hours.

Here is one thing I want everyone to remember when it comes to living with MS: “The only thing strong enough to kick my @$$ is me.”


Ashley Ringstaff

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