Getting to ‘Yes’ with MS: Fear Beware!

Getting to ‘Yes’ with MS: Fear Beware!

Jennifer Silver LiningsI am a self-described homebody. I enjoy social gatherings and getting out, but I always look forward to coming home. Within five minutes of pulling into the garage, I am in sweats and a T-shirt. My demeanor immediately softens. Home is familiar, and in familiarity I find safety.

Sometimes, safety is a duality. My health challenges have dictated I stay home more often than most. I relish the space I have created. Sometimes a little too much. I tend to pass on things because they are outside of my comfort zone. In my experience, however, living begins where your comfort zone ends.

I am walking the line.

Our comfort zones keep us complacent, but our fears keep us imprisoned. If we stay in the dark long enough, we begin to expect nothing more. Challenge your timidity with hopeful light and possibilities. Only when we leverage our fears do we discover our true selves. Only then are we truly free.

If you are walking the line, step to the other side. Do not think, just step. Cognitive change follows action steps. Take a leap of faith.

I grew up with a love of traveling. Whether with family, with friends, or alone, I loved getting immersed in new places. One of my best friends in high school was a German exchange student. Some of our best moments were spent sojourning through countries in Europe. Once I got married, my husband and I continued to enjoy new and exciting adventures. My MS diagnosis and subsequent progression have changed things. While we still travel, our destinations are to three or four places I know well; family, family-owned homes, and timeshares. My comfort zones.

So, when my mom asked me to join her on a 10-day cruise, I froze. This was outside of my comfort zone. As my fear began to rise, I took that leap of faith. I said “yes.”

I understand how this decision could be easy for some. Easy is not my reality. My reality has been preconditioned and reinforced over time. Only I can recondition that reality. Taking positive action steps paves the way for new behaviors to follow.

What fears keep you from getting to “yes?” What are your fears founded on, and when is the last time you ran inventory on them?

When I find myself feeling that uneasy hesitation, I do inventory. I take stock of my fears. I write them on a sheet of paper, then ascertain the origin of each one and examine the influence that each one is having on my life. I have always been a visual learner, so working through my fears on paper helps me tremendously. I used to earn extra money as a paid student note taker. The University of California, Irvine, would buy my class notes so they could sell them to other students. I sort of nerd out on note-taking.

So many fears are perceived, yet if perception is reality, what then? We shift our perception, and thus, change our reality. We free ourselves, little by little, from the chains that keep us from soaring. We are limitless in our potential to create and fulfill possibilities. What a juxtaposition that we are also limitless in our ability to deny ourselves that realization.

You are straddling the line. Choose “yes.”

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Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

6 comments

  1. As I think of summer I want to get on a plane but my fears take over. I then think of all I am missing. My sister in California, my friends in Vegas and San Anton and the beach and Disneyland, Universal and Knotts and all those fun California Places. Thanks for your encouraging Yes story. Maybe I will try it!!

  2. Clyde Cadoodlehopper says:

    All well and good I suppose, when your disability is such that you actually can do those things in the 1st place and with people who show some tolerance to your condition.
    I am, however, surrounded by my family and their “Circle of Judgment”, “Equating” where there is none and “tough love”, Oh Boy! I love my kids, so leaving is not an option. My best option is “puttering around” in my power chair. Life could be much worse- I get that- however- I cannot do much of anything without help, and my unrelated caregiver seems to be the only one that does care- M-F, 9-5. There’s a song and movie title in there.

    • Kathleen says:

      So sorry Clyde! I feel sad by your comments and sad because the bitterness we experience is what we go through sometimes depending on our situation. It’s ok. I am single and family not there as I thought would be but I am trying to not let that lack in my life spill into the joys others find in their life… we have to grab tiny bits of happy and gratitude where we can with this disease. I wish you well. I know negative comments spring from pain… I am truly happy for Jennifer… thank you Jennifer for your inspiration. And Clyde thank you for your comments too… we all need each other and people like Jennifer help us remember to remember hope in each of our lives no matter how different.

  3. Allan Miller says:

    A very encouraging story. We travel as we are both retired. I was diagnosed at age 65 in 2012 with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. So unknown to me many of the health issues I’d had were due to RRMS.

    We travel. Too much! I get tired. It ranges from challenging through difficult to very difficult.

    I have developed ways to accommodate to my needs. We’ll keep on travelling!

    Thanks for this very encouraging article.

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