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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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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.


  • Mascha
    3 years ago

    Couldn’t have said it better!!!! This is how i ferl since 1 year c

  • ThisBSMS
    5 years ago

    I hear you it- doesn’t define you in a way that that is the only thing you are – associated with MS but it does shape your personality. I agree it does that. You re-evaluate things, ppl, friendships, your reactions to things, etc.

    As much as I like getting support from MS community, I cannot speak highly of msworld, unfortunately. I’ve been blocked a few times from posting there only because the moderator had an issue with my nickname. Finally, he kicked me out of the site completely bc he felt ‘offended’ by my nickname, no matter what explained. So, I applaud you for volunteering there, but to me it is not an honest community (even though there are a lot of very nice and helpful people there)

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    5 years ago

    I’m sorry you had that happen to you on MSWorld. If you want – you can e-mail me and I can look into the situation for you… (

    I am glad that you enjoyed reading my blog though 🙂 Nice to know i’m not alone in my thoughts. xoxo

  • CatMom
    5 years ago

    Ashley, very well said. That particular quote has always left a bad taste in my mouth, but I couldn’t ever quite define why.

    No, I didn’t ask for this disease called MS, but since it chose me, I’m continually learning to live with it. Yes, MS has redefined who I am. I do things differently now than I did before having MS. I think about things differently now. I’m more tolerant now. In some ways MS has made me a better person.

    Thank you for your voice and your insights. 🙂

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    5 years ago

    I agree with you on the whole, making me a better person.
    I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. I let things go… (okay – let me just say that I handle things BETTER than I used to but some things are hard to change.)

    I’m so glad you enjoyed reading 🙂
    I just see that quote all the time… and I was finally like, you know what, I don’t agree with that. Good to know i’m not alone 🙂

  • Kim Dolce moderator
    5 years ago

    So well said, Ashley 🙂 I agree that MS shapes my persona as much as any other life event would. No one lives in a bell jar. We are pliable, changeable, permeable creatures that are continuously stretched, molded, re-tinted and re-purposed by our education and our socialization. It’s what makes life exciting! –Kim

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    5 years ago

    Couldn’t agree more!
    I think that every thing in your life changes you, in one way or another. Not just with our health, but with relationships, social situations, etc.

    We can’t sit still in life and not mold ourselves and change our ways with every punch thrown from life in general.


  • Cathi
    5 years ago

    Yes! Great way to look at this disease. I’ve learned to be Zen about my pain & fatigue most of the time but stress can undo my best efforts. Particularly during these summer days in the Steamy South!

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    5 years ago

    Oh I know what you mean about the Steamy South… It may seem to others like i’m allergic to the sun or something as much as I avoid it… lol

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