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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.

MS everywhere!

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.

Get away

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!

Thanks for reading!

Devin

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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 MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Jodek
    1 year ago

    I have followed you for years (Sorry that sounds creepy) my face lights up when I see it’s a post from you you are so Spot On with everything you post. I have terrible cog fog and can not express my self well, so I share your post to let people know what I’m going thru. Thank you so much

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    1 year ago

    Thank you SO much Jodek! That makes my day! It is always my hope that folks will share what I’ve written as examples for their friends and family to better understand them, so I love hearing that it happens! Keep up the fight!

  • Mascha
    1 year ago

    Great article again!
    Unfortunately I cannot find anything to get this disease out of my mind. It reminds me constantly due to my symptoms and everyday struggles. I often put the n unfollow on my MS sites just to get a break. When I’ve had enough time I choose which ones I follow again. Your site is a must follow as I don’t find it intrusive but helpful.
    Another one that often works is shopping:) depending on my pain level that day.

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    1 year ago

    Thank you Mascha! Over the years, I’ve also unfollwed many a site, group, and person because it can be just too overwhelming. Quality over quantity is what I believe in!

  • bethybright
    1 year ago

    Being kind of new to the MS game, only two years in, I can relate to this 100%. I also write about my life with MS so I’m up to my neck in it quite a bit. It’s hard for me to even imagine a time when this disease won’t be the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning and every hour on the hour after that until I drag myself up the stairs to bed for the night. I’m told it happens? I’m gonna try to just believe that. Also, I’m over the whole “MS doesn’t have me” thing. It has me, alright. It’s not all I am, but it has me right where it wants me. Thanks for writing this piece.

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    1 year ago

    Thanks bethybright! The disease already does a good job of reminding us about it, sometimes seeing it everywhere else just makes it even worse!

  • alyssapeters
    1 year ago

    Thanks for writing this, Devin. After an exacerbation involving my vision and just finishing my week of infusions (plus a particularly lovely fall yesterday at work, where I dislocated my pinky finger), I am currently overwhelmed with MS. And angry. And really, really sad. It has been more than six years from my diagnosis, and I am still floored at the pure extent of my emotions. I definitely need my getaway into “normalcy” for a bit. I think that, after work tonight, I will turn off my phone, maybe pull a few weeds in the vegetable garden, and then pour myself a nice cold drink, sit on the patio, and just watch the evening come into being.

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    1 year ago

    Thank you alyssapeters! I hope you were able to unplug for a bit, I’ve been doing the same of late, taking time, turning off the phone, and just zoning out with a hobby. Social media can be very beneficial in our fight with MS, but too much can also be overwhelming!

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