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I’m Stronger Because of MS

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.”

xoxo

Ashley Ringstaff

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • emichael7390
    1 year ago

    Thanks for writing this, Ashley. I was just diagnosed about 5 months ago – exactly 1 year from my wedding day. I was in the process of training for a 3-day 275-mile bike ride and really excited about many things in my future. So when this first flair left me hardly able to walk for about 6 weeks, I got SO depressed. It was like taking 100 steps backwards. Instead of biking and getting in better shape, I was struggling to walk up the stairs and gained probably 20lbs from steroid treatments.. I can really relate because I did not know if I wanted to live my life like this.

    But it is really about a mindset. I told myself I was going to get through this and even if I wasn’t able to participate in the bike ride physically, I’d still put forth my effort to fund-raise etc.. I am super proud to say that I was able to get out on the bike and although I was only able to ride 20-30 miles each day, it was a small victory.

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    1 year ago

    Dang. I’m sorry to hear that you had a flare up right before the bike ride.

    I’m glad to hear that you were able to at least participate for a bit then.

    I had a job interview coming up for the county jail and then BOOM, I couldn’t see… and I had to take a written test in order to qualify for the job…

    But… After being depressed about life for a bit, I finally for the encouragement to get off my butt and continue living my life.

    xoxo
    Ashley Ringstaff

  • Haslie
    1 year ago

    What does not kill us only make us stronger. Studies have shown that some trauma survivors report positive changes and enhanced personal development, called post traumatic growth (PTG). PTG refers to any beneficial change resulting from a major life crisis or traumatic event, but people most commonly experience a positive shift by having a renewed appreciation for life; adopting a new world view with new possibilities for themselves; feeling more personal strength; feeling more satisfied spiritually, and/or their relationships improve.

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    1 year ago

    Huh… I had no idea! Thank you for sharing! I will for sure have to read up a bit more on the subject.

    xoxo
    Ashley Ringstaff

  • OMGillian
    1 year ago

    This is WONDERFUL. I connect with this on a very, very deep level! Thank you!

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    1 year ago

    Hey! I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Thank you for your kind words!

    xoxo
    Ashley Ringstaff

  • @masbrautigam
    1 year ago

    Thanks again for writing a great article and explaining how it really is. I love that part about science,it’s so true that they cannot understand our feelings:)

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    1 year ago

    No problem! I’m glad that you enjoyed the article.
    I used to attend MS medical conferences back in the day and I would have to let it be known to some of the health care members there or pharma companies… that we are still people. We still have emotions and science can’t show you EVERYTHING that we go through.

    xoxo
    Ashley Ringstaff

  • cookielady
    1 year ago

    Ashley Ringstaff your article was so well written and so true for me and I’m sure for so many of us with MS. The invisible disease that makes itself known to the people that have it every single day. Thanks for being an advocate for us.❤❤❤

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    1 year ago

    I’m glad you like the article. I’m so appreciative that I have been given the platform to be able to advocate for those of us living with MS. Even though there isn’t two patients that are identical in disease state, we are all still battling the same exact MonSter.

    xoxo
    Ashley Ringstaff

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