MS Everywhere: When It's Time To Get Away
For many, living with a chronic illness like Multiple Sclerosis can feel like the disease consumes you. Depending on how long you’ve had it and the severity of your symptoms, it begins to feel like it leaches into every minute part of your existence. Not only in the way you physically feel, or in the difficulties you face, but in what you see and the way people treat you. MS can be this all encompassing entity that begins to soak up everything around you, tainting it, leaving you with constant reminders about the change in your life. That’s why I think it’s important to carve out a piece of life that is strictly MS-free.
It seems impossible. After all, the disease never leaves us. After time, even many of our symptoms never leave us. We are left with physical reminders, even if they happen to be invisible. Fatigue, pain, weakness in our extremities, problems talking, and difficulty even thinking are constant issues that prevent us from ever forgetting that we are fighting a disease. Not only do our bodies remind us, but well-meaning friends and family are also guilty of this. Constant inquires about how we are feeling or why we haven’t been in touch also serve as reminders that we different than others. If all of those weren’t enough, even the places we look for help, like social media and the community that comes along with it, while normally helpful, can make it near impossible to get away from our disease.
Overwhelmed by the disease
While I know my situation is a bit different, because I purposefully write about MS and put myself out there, I still have moments where I’m overwhelmed by the disease. Not even that I have the disease, just the disease in general. Suddenly it seems like my whole life is all Multiple Sclerosis, all the time. I’ve even begun to get targeted ads for MS-related products and groups on social media. Now, I understand that I pretty much invite that because of what I do, but there are many people that don’t write and talk about MS who still get overwhelmed by the sheer amount and volume of MS-related information, ads, and comments thrown their way.
Now, I fully admit, that MS is a huge part of my life, but I also know that it’s important to not get fixated on that (by now there are probably a half dozen comments from people saying that “MS doesn’t have them” before they’ve even finished reading). That’s one of my points here though, that it’s easy to become fixated on the disease, even when you don’t realize it’s happening. Particularly with social media, it’s easy for anything to take over your life these days.
Carving out some private time
You can still get away from it all though, and probably should. Carving out some private time, where you don’t have reminders of the disease is important. Whether it’s setting aside time to try to read, or bingeing a TV show, or meditating, it’s important to make that time. Private time to take a break from the disease (I personally like to turn my smartphone off during these moments, which I find is pretty essential to me finding a bit of peace). No matter what you do, getting away from the disease a bit, or at least getting your mind off of the disease for a while, can be incredibly refreshing. As always, I would love to hear from folks on what you do to get your mind off of everything, so feel free to hit up the comments and share!
Does your employer provide workplace accommodations due to your MS?