Thoughts on MS 'Saying(s)'

So, let me just say that I love going on pinterest and other sites, looking at MS quotes, sayings, etc. I have a few pinterest boards for MS stuff that I want to remember.

With that being said, there is this certain MS quote/saying … that I used to REALLY like, but now… I don’t really agree with. I am in no way trying to say it’s ‘wrong’ for people with MS or that it is a bad quote, but it’s just wrong for me.

“I have MS, it doesn’t have Me.” or “MS doesn’t define me.”

There are multiple other ways that the saying/quote above can be worded, but it all leads to the same meaning behind it. We are ourselves and MS doesn’t define who we are or what we do. At least that’s the way I’ve taken to it.

I get that the quote is all about inner strength and fighting MS and not letting it run our lives… but I think that it can be taken out of context to others who don’t have MS.

The reason I don’t really agree with the saying is because I am NOT the same person I was before I was diagnosed. I don’t have two separate ways of life or two different personas. I am who I am today because of MS.

Before I was diagnosed, I had a different view on life, a different view of others who were fighting their own battle, not specifically MS. I didn’t look into the meaning of things as much as I do now. I also feel like I used to take things for granted before I was diagnosed.

So I feel that Multiple Sclerosis doesn’t define me as a whole – but it lies within my own personal definition.

Would you be reading this if I weren’t that way? Would you know who I am? Would I have made the friends that I now have? Would I be volunteering for MSWorld? There is no correct answer to that because MS is within my persona.

While yes, the general view of MS does not define me… I am making a new definition for MS, for my own battle.

My point is I wouldn’t be who I am today or where I am today if MS didn’t define me in some way or another.

My own personal MS definition:

I was strong but MS has made me stronger both mentally and physically. I’m not talking about brute strength; I’m talking about tolerance. I was outgoing but MS has helped me find a real voice. I had dreams and aspirations… MS didn’t necessarily take those from me, just changed my direction on my life journey. I was stubborn but MS has increased that stubbornness, where I won’t give up and I won’t settle for less than I deserve. I used to go out a lot and had a lot of ‘friends’… but MS has leveled me out and has made me grow. I may have lost ‘friends’ in the process, but I’ve gained lifelong friendships that I refer to as extended family. I used to stress over small things that now seem ridiculous.

There are plenty of negative things that come along with MS, I know this, and you know this. We didn’t ask for this, we don’t know how we got it and we don’t know what the future holds in regards to MS. But I do know that I like to find positives within the negatives.

This is something that I have in my biography on MSWorld, “MS has taught me many things but most importantly it has taught me, if you live your life with negativity and spite… then that’s all you will have surrounding you. By embracing life for what it is, and making the most of everyday, you know you are doing everything you can. Not only for yourself, but also for those surrounding you to make this life the best it CAN be.”

Being diagnosed with MS has really been a test, in a way. It tested relationships with friends, it tested my strength and so much more. I don't even want to think about what would have happened to be had I been diagnosed and not found my new family at MSWorld. These are people that I talk to on a daily basis and have had the honor of meeting face-to-face.

So, does MS define me? No. I define my own life journey and that includes my personal MS battle.


Ashley Ringstaff

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P.S. If you want to look at my Pinterest Boards, here they are:

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