An animated frame shows a worried woman looking down at her self injection syringe, and then smiling as she looks up at a slice of cake.

Treat Yo Self: Remember To Practice Self-Love

As I was scrolling through Instagram the other day, I noticed a person I follow, that also lived with MS consistently posts a similar type of picture every few days. The image in question is always of her day’s Copaxone shot, still sealed in its plastic wrapping.

Alongside the injection is usually a small but absolutely amazing-looking treat, usually a dessert. Some of these small treats look so amazing that I’ve found myself hankering for something tasty and delicious after scrolling past her posts.

It wasn’t until I reached out to her, that I realized that these delightfully looking delicacies were much more than a simple reward but a wonderful practice of self-love. This is something I think many of us could benefit from.

Find a self-love technique that works for you

Multiple sclerosis is a frightening disease. It’s unpredictable, and it has the ability to completely change our lives in an instant. To fight this scary illness, we often have to enlist treatments that can also be terrifying.

Needles, IVs, harsh medications, and even potentially deadly side effects, like PML can make fighting back against our disease a difficult to handle proposition. Sometimes we need help living with this disease and fighting it too.

I asked my friend why she has these awesome treats with her injection and she had this to say: “I am so scared of needles. I’m scared of this medicine. I am scared of MS. The treats are a reward for doing the scary thing. I think about the treat I am about to have instead of the shot. It helps so much. And I usually am around friends so we share and celebrate that I did the scary thing. That I am doing the scary thing. That I am grateful for the scary thing. It shifts the experience from negative to positive for me. It’s a self-love thing for sure”.

That really got me thinking. Not only that having a nice reward to distract yourself from your treatment is a great idea, but also that not many of us practice enough self-love.

It's time we give ourselves a little credit

Her description of both the disease and taking her medication is so right on. These things are scary and living with them day in and out can take a toll on us. Add that to the many reasons that depression is so common among those with MS.

Too often, we don’t give ourselves enough credit for what we deal with on a daily basis. We also don’t do enough to counter the horrors that we so often face. I know I’m very guilty of this. Sometimes I feel that because I’ve lived with MS so long, that I should be an expert or something and that I shouldn’t let it get to me.

I tend to get down on myself when I get upset by it all, thinking that I’m a veteran and I should be able to deal with all this by now. I then begin to think less of myself for being scared by it all. Sometimes, I even tell myself I deserve it. All of those feelings tend to stand directly in the way of me expressing any kind of self-love.

Hell, one of the very first things I wrote for this website was a confession that I often don’t feel like I don’t deserve to enjoy myself because of illness. Not only are those thoughts inaccurate, but harboring them can really put stress on your mind and body.

Find happiness where you can

Nothing about this disease is easy. It’s tiring, it’s painful, and it’s terrifying. Not only do you deserve to be nice to yourself, you really need to do it to help counteract all the dread that this illness brings. If you can’t get everything done that you want, hey, that’s OK. If you are afraid, that’s OK. If you have days when you can’t return everyone’s call or can’t even get off the couch, that’s OK.

Don’t get down on yourself because of something that is ultimately the disease’s fault. Also don’t be afraid to treat yourself, to work harder at counteracting the bad. You’ve earned it. Go ahead and have that decadent dessert, or sleep in a little more, or go ahead and have that beer.

When you live with a disease like MS, it’s important to find happiness wherever and as much as you can. You are putting up with fears and challenges that most people will never even be capable of understanding. Not only do you deserve some rewards, but you should also be proud of yourself.

Thanks so much for reading and feel free to share! How do you practice self-love? Also, do you have any fun rituals around your disease, like having a treat with your injection? As always, I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

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