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My MS Mantras

My MS Mantras

For those of you who haven’t already figured it out, I have a very type A personality. I like order, rules, data, lists, and taking action. Being handed a diagnosis of MS really threw me out of my comfort zone, as it does to everyone. I had to get comfortable with the idea that multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease, and I knew I would have to find a way to learn how to go with the flow.

I had to accept the fact that MS may or may not slowly take away my ability to walk straight or think straight, and that there was no way to predict how the disease will ultimately affect me. Of course life never was certain, but it was easier to feel in control of my destiny before MS. All these thoughts can drive you crazy if you let them, and part of coping with a diagnosis of any chronic illness is to find a way to let go of the fear and take back control. One night, about a month after starting treatment, I was unable to sleep because my mind was running in a thousand different directions. While I was laying there I decided to set some ground rules for myself. I wrote them down and read them back to myself over and over throughout that first year. I never showed them to anyone, they were just my private little mantras. On my one year “MS anniversary” I decided to share them on Facebook and on Now, if you are interested, I’d like to share them with all of you:

#1. Be Kind. Be kind to others whether it’s a stranger, patient, coworker, friend, or family member. If you treat people right and surround yourself with good people you will create a support system for yourself that will carry you through good times and bad. The truth is friends and family are your rock, and you need them more then they need you sometimes. Never miss an opportunity to show them how much you love and appreciate them. They deserve it. Above all be kind to yourself and allow the bad days to come and go. Forgive yourself, and never apologize for something you can’t control.

#2. Be Patient. Be patient with yourself and with your body. The brain takes time to heal, drugs take time to work, relapses take time to recover from. You may not be able to do something today that you could do yesterday, but there is a good chance that in time you will be able to do it again.

#3. Be Your Own Advocate. Be able to say no. Know that you can do anything that you want to, but also realize that you can’t do everything all at once. Learn the difference, and learn how to speak up for yourself.

#4. Be Happy. Stubbornly and steadfastly choose happiness. Be happy because you now hold more love and appreciation in your heart for your friends and family then you ever thought was possible. Be happy because now you have a reason to live in the moment instead of scheduling each day until the calendar is full. Be happy when you have a good day, but also find at least one thing to be happy about on the bad days.

#5. Be Stubborn. Don’t stop. Recover. Do whatever you need to do and show this disease that you will get more out of life then it could ever take from you. Never quit a battle that you should rightfully win, whether it’s a fitness goal or a battle with your insurance company. You’ve earned the right to be stubborn and to fight.

#6. Be Grateful. Be grateful for the people in your life, your medicine, your education, and the unique opportunity you have been given to make a positive impact on yourself and others. All of these things are a privilege, not a right, and should be treated as such.

So that’s it, those are the six rules I try to follow. I often fail to follow all of them all of the time, but that’s part of the journey. Throughout the years as I grow and change as a person I’m sure I will add a few things to the list. What are your MS mantras?

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


  • spacecake
    10 months ago

    Thank you so much for this one! I am adding laugh and find humor …
    Such a good concept – mantras
    Thanks you

  • jomarie
    5 years ago

    Love this Stephanie.

  • bebek4
    5 years ago

    Thank you for sharing! I was dx a year ago, like others, I never wrote mine down either… it is actually interesting to see yours written down 🙂 Maybe it’ll be useful during times where I lose my patience which is quite often lately :S

  • betheprice
    5 years ago

    I have always been a very “A-B-C” “1-2-3” person, and this disease, of course, does not fit into that pattern at all…I think that is one of the most frustrating things about it.

  • Dianna lyn
    5 years ago

    Stephanie thank you for sharing..i remember when I first delt with MS didn’t know I had it at the time..i created ten commandments for dealing with pain, I will look those up now, and compare..that was back in 2007 I wrote those, since then, I have learned to talk and walk all over again..thanks for sharing..

  • ThisBSMS
    5 years ago

    Hi! These sound a lot like my matras except I didn’t right them down. My first though is ‘be grateful’. Because really with being grateful you get happiness. Focus on what you have vs. what you don’t. Can’t walk, but can see? Focus on what you can see! Everything is messed up? Find one thing in this world that you have that you can appreciate.

    Also, I have ‘its only temporary’ mantra which really is about being patient. And another most important one perhaps is ‘have faith, believe in it’ and what I mean by that is believing in a positive outcome, believing in god, universe, yourself and just generally having a positive picture in your mind and strongly believing it will come true. This one I rely on more than on anything or anyone else, because its such an encompassing concept to me! Without it I would lose my mind. It gives me strength when I am weak and it really helps with healing. Have a great day!

  • Kim Dolce moderator
    5 years ago

    Stephanie, I love how you have defined your six rules! Like Matt,I never wrote them down, either, but I have been living by them nevertheless. I’ve noticed that (1) being kind, (6)grateful, (4) happy, and (2)patient, all happen together quite effortlessly on good days when crap has not happened and I’m being very Zen because of the absence of stress. Being (5)stubborn and (3) my own advocate dovetail nicely, effortlessly, and with much angry energy behind it when things are not going well and I have been pushed against the wall. Gratitude definitely has no place in that scenario, lol! Thanks once again for your insights, I always enjoy reading your thoughts 🙂 –Kim

  • Matt Allen G
    5 years ago

    That is a very similar list to mine (except I never wrote mine down) because I too liked order but MS brought me nothing but chaos. One thing in my list was to educate myself. We as people fear the unknown so if I know as much as I can I will fear less of this disease. Being more knowledgeable also allows me to be more stubborn, be my own advocate, and be more patient for I know the coarse of MS as well as you can predict the unpredictable.

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