“I’m just lazy,” I told myself. “Why can’t I do the things I need to do? I’m so exhausted and in pain all the time, I just want to sleep. Are my MS symptoms getting worse?”
My body was driving me crazy, and a lot was going on in my mind that I didn’t want to admit. I was struggling.
Three of the most challenging words to admit to yourself are “I am struggling.”
Recognizing when you’re struggling is good because it’s a wake-up call for change. It’s a chance to look internally and find the source of your sadness, anger, frustration, or whatever else you’re feeling deep inside.
It may be that your symptoms are not getting worse. Perhaps a source of internal conflict is occurring in your mind, causing you more stress. Maybe that is what’s affecting your symptoms.
The most common sources of internal conflict are related to health, wealth, or relationships. For me, it turned out I was struggling with all three, and I didn’t even realize it.
How do we deal with this internal conflict and minimize the stress?
Tell someone around you
Firstly, the best advice I can give is to open up and tell someone who’s trusted and understanding.
Much of the time, we can’t pinpoint what the problem is on our own.
Sometimes things just feel too much. There’s too much uncertainty. Too much is going on around you that makes you feel out of control. If you are feeling this way right now, you’re not alone.
I reached a breaking point the other day. Tears were on the verge of erupting from my face. I knew something was wrong, so I grabbed my husband by the arm and said, “Let’s take the dog for a walk.”
We went to a place we call “thought hill,” which is a tiny hill surrounded by trees where we forget everyone else exists. I told him about everything on my mind and instantly felt that a weight had been lifted.
Finding a person you trust is essential. If you don’t live with someone or have anyone close to you that you trust, there are hotlines you can call, such as the MS Society UK. Or, you can find a community in your area, including in the U.S.
Change your scenery
Secondly, if possible, change your scenery. It may be a struggle right now depending on where you are and what finances are available, but if you can, either get away somewhere or spend a few hours in a different place.
I dog-sat for my mother-in-law around the corner from my house, and it was the perfect break I needed — and didn’t cost me anything. I felt far less stressed after having a break.
Unplug and revisit a hobby
Thirdly, take a break from social media and news. Most people think they need to watch the news so that they know what’s going on in the world. Here’s the thing: News outlets need to shock you with the worst stories. News programs are a business and make money from your attention; they need to scare you to keep you watching, which causes a lot of anxiety and fear that lives in your mind without you realizing it.
The same is true with social media. Take a few days to unplug. I like to call it a “social media detox,” which does you a world of good. Put on some relaxing music. Try reading a book or painting instead. Go back and revisit a hobby you haven’t done in a while.
Whatever you’re feeling, please write it down. Then immediately go and do something else. Once it’s out of your head, it’s easier for your brain to handle. If you come back to it a day later, you might be surprised at how you now think about the things you wrote down.
Be honest, how are you really feeling right now?
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 provider 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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.
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