When it comes to thinking, and even writing, about life with Multiple Sclerosis, it’s incredibly easy to focus on the negatives. I know I personally cover a lot of unpleasant topics, not because I’m pessimistic, but because I feel they need to be talked about. I also feel that when someone else reads about what they are going through from someone who has experienced it, it can be comforting, and even a positive experience. All of that said, I think it’s important to remind myself, and others, that it isn’t all doom and gloom. That life with MS has had some positives for me, too.
Living with Multiple Sclerosis for so much of my life has really taught me to appreciate even the smallest parts of it. I really feel like I wouldn’t really appreciate life this much had I not had so much taken from me. There is just something about having your life so uprooted by something out of your control that helps you recognize and love the small things. Living with a condition that may make you wake up one morning unable to walk really makes you appreciate everything from a small breeze to a cold beer. I’m not sure I’d be as appreciative had I not had this disease (I certainly wasn’t before I got it), so that’s something I can be thankful for.
You might be saying, how is this a good thing? Well, I think ridding myself of the friends I’ve lost because of my disease is a good thing. No, a great thing. It’s been extremely difficult, however, in the long run, because my disease has allowed me to see who really is a good friend and who wasn’t. If they can’t handle the idiosyncrasies of my having this disease, then I don’t need them in my life. I think of this as addition by subtraction, I look back and see I’ve really gained a lot by losing some people.
Having MS has allowed me to meet some amazing people through in-person groups, social media, and my writing. People that I know I would have never had the opportunity or interest in meeting had I not gotten this disease. That’s a pretty amazing thing when you stop and think about it and most certainly an unexpected benefit.
Exploring new things
MS has forced me to leave my career and has completely uprooted my life. While all of that is awful, it’s forced me to explore new interests. Having MS is really a journey in adapting your life. It’s important to not think that you are losing parts of your life, but that you are being given opportunities to explore new parts. I’ve acquired new interests and started new hobbies that I wouldn’t have even given a second thought about in my past. As odd as it sounds, a lot of people would benefit and even seek out the opportunity to try new things if they could.
Learning about yourself
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned that I’m a lot tougher than I ever thought (and trust me, I already thought I was a tough guy back then). I’ve learned that I’m a survivor, too. Those things have proven to me that I can get through just about anything. So whenever life’s latest disaster pops up, I’m usually ready to face it head-on, with an almost crazy feeling of invincibility. When you stop and think about everything you’ve gone through, you realize, wow, you’ve been through a lot and made it. So you can get through anything.
These are just a few of the benefits I’ve experienced, but I’d love to hear from readers what positive takeaways you’ve had from your life with this disease. That will still sound crazy to some, but I encourage you to really stop and give it some thought, then hit us up in the comments and share!
Thanks for reading!