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Fifteen Years

Fifteen Years

2019 marks my fifteenth year with MS. I have officially dealt with this disease for over half of my life and started exhibiting symptoms long before that. I know this may not seem like a lot to some, but to me, it’s made an enormous impact on my life. Over the course of those years, I’ve come face to face with many ‘positivity haters,’ as I like to call them. These people are mean and say hateful, negative things for no reason. I see so many comments on social media that say people who have a positive outlook with MS just don’t understand because they are rookies or haven’t had it long enough. I’m here to tell you, I’m sorry, but that’s not true.

Learning to look at things differently

In reality, a positive mindset is the ONLY thing that has gotten me through these last fifteen years. It has taught me so much about myself as a person, and about my body and health. I don’t look at life through rose-tinted glasses, but I want to live my life well, and part doing that has been learning to look at things differently. I know I will most likely live with this disease for the remainder of my life and will have many hard years ahead. I know things will probably get worse, as people so kindly like to remind me so often. There have already been some tough lessons learned, too, but the best thing it has taught me is that we don’t have to minimize our pains and struggles to live a joyful life still. You can still have MS, deal with it, and lead a life fueled by a positive mindset.

You can be unhappy and still choose positivity

Pain with a disease is inevitable. Physical pain, emotional pain, psychological pain, we deal with them all. I have personally dealt with all of these things. I’ve mentioned quite a bit in previous articles how my MS has remained relatively stable and how I don’t have a lot of obvious physical symptoms. My heart breaks for those who do have to deal with debilitating physical symptoms, but my heart also breaks when those people tell me I’m only positive and have joy because I haven’t dealt with any of those harder symptoms. Again, I’m sorry, but you’re mistaken. If anyone should know what it’s like to look great on the outside but feel terrible on the inside, it’s others with MS. I have many, many unhappy moments. I get angry, and I cry. I lash out. You can be unhappy and still choose positivity.

Working through the pain to see the positive

My positivity isn’t just an act. It has become a way of life for me. It’s the ONLY way for me. I decided long ago that even though MS is terrible, and it’s caused terrible things in my life, I can still remain positive and hopeful. I realized one day that if I was brave enough to face MS, then I was brave enough to do something positive with it. I can have days where I’m angry. I can have days where I scream into a pillow about how much this stinks. I can even have days where I have intense pain and days where I feel lost in the depths of depression. I can’t avoid all of the symptoms, but when I address how I am suffering and work through the pain, it is then that I can see the positive. And, when I look at the positive in any difficult situation, it is then that I find joy.

You don’t have to minimize how bad it is

The only way I can reason that I have to go through bad things is to believe that it is going to lead to something better. I know that isn’t always reality, but this way of thinking is what has gotten me through many difficult times. My positive outlook is that extra fuel I need to keep me going. It is what fuels me to putter on through the horrible days. Face your pain, face your anger, face whatever it is you’re going through. Talk to someone. It’s not just MS that has made me want to be more positive in the present, it’s a lot of pain in my past, too. However, each time I open up about things and look forward, it makes me stronger and gives me back a piece of myself. You don’t have to minimize how bad it is. Address the suffering, take in all of the feelings, take a deep breath and let it all go.

The day positivity found me

The timing of my diagnosis was terrible. I was just beginning my teenage years. It was when my disease was at its worse, and I was in constant pain, and a day didn’t go by that I felt like I couldn’t keep going. I went through every single negative emotion you could go through. I went for a long time without feeling a single positive thought or feeling in my body. But, the day positivity found me that all changed. Even if the cup you’re given is bitter, drink it with grace. I want a life that speaks encouragement and restores, not discourages and destroys. I want a positive life, even if I stare hardship in the face every day.

Weathering the storms

When I merely believe that something good is going to come out of the bad, then nine times out of ten something good does happen. It may not be how I imagined, and it may take me through some treacherous storms, but in the end, I almost always look back and see “Oh, that was why I went through that.” I may not know why I went through it, but if I can look back and see that I went through something that one day helps someone else get through the same thing, then that makes it all worth it. MS has taken a lot from me. It has taken my teenage years, my energy, my strength, and my health, but it will not take my positivity!

“Never get so comfortable in pain that you forget happiness is still an option.”

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

  • Timothy45
    4 months ago

    Good on you for being so positive being negative never helped anyone. And I do hope your positivity is contagious and passes on as an example to those who aren’t too sure.

  • Calie Wyatt moderator author
    4 months ago

    @timothy45 thank you for your comment! Positivity did not come easily, but it truly does keep me going!

    Wishing you the best Calie

  • Timothy45
    4 months ago

    I was diagnosed with Ms in on the 12th of December last year and positivity was a hard road to get to.

  • Donna Steigleder moderator
    10 months ago

    Kokomom504, JimmyMac, SlaughteringMs, and Calie Wyatt, I admire you all for your positive spirits and desire to have an attitude of gratitude about life and survival in the day to day struggles. I applaud your successes and wish you many more.

  • Kokomom504
    10 months ago

    I was diagnosed with this crazy disease 30 years ago.
    I’m still waiting for a cure.
    I don’t have much pain , but don’t have balance either.
    I just keep going.

  • JimmyMac
    10 months ago

    So true. I’m positive because being negative, long before I was diagnosed, sucks. So why would one choose that? I was talking with one of my parents friends and they commented at how well I was taking MS (a very nice back handed compliment). My positivity allowed me to ask them what was acceptable for me to get away with because this MS thing stinks. I said this with a smile from ear to ear. I know my response shocked them but think they kind of walked into that one. I think it’s important to remind people we still have MS even while maintaining a positive attitude!!

  • slaughteringMS
    10 months ago

    Thank you for your candid and honest thoughts, Calie. And you’re SO right on about empowerment in positivity in the face of MS. Rejoice in our “good days” and firmly believe despite all that everything will be better. I believe that succumbing to negativity is tantamount to accepting and enabling worse outcomes. We always need to check ourselves and make sure we diligently avoid this pitfall–it’s too easy to fall into it. I’m at 10+ years (who really knows) with MS and my motto is “THRIVE, not just survive”. I intend to LIVE as much life as I possibly can. God bless you and your family, and stay strong through every sucky thing that MS throws your way.

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