Living with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis is a lesson in adaptation. The constant is change. This disease has given me sea legs. Nevertheless, some days have me fooled. When I think I finally have it in check, MS calls “checkmate!”
And I remember. Let go of the reins, Jenn. Let go.
I often talk myself off the proverbial ledge. That ledge represents expectations of myself and what I need to do on any given day. Stepping away from the ledge releases resentment toward me and this disease. It is difficult to thrive with such animosity. The bitterness is like a noose, and every time I try to move forward, the rope tightens.
Take off the rope. Let go of the reins.
I needed to loosen my grasp. My inability to meet expectations left me stressed. Stress is the kryptonite of multiple sclerosis. My stress manifested physically and emotionally. Self-care came a distant second to frenetic chaos.
I am still in the process of letting go — this will always be my Achilles’ heel. My desire for structure remains. But I am flexible. I work hard to maintain my adaptability. I struggle with internal dialogue. Random chatter about self-worth heightens on days when pain and fatigue are at their worst.
I have found meditation to be life-changing. I set aside 20 minutes every day to meditate. My practice is personal. It looks different for everyone. I began with a guided meditation, which helped me to acquire the tools to do it on my own.
My mantra changes every day. I chose each one according to what’s bothering me at that time. If feelings of worthlessness arise, my mantra might be, “I am enough.” I retreat to a quiet location, away from people and pets. I set my timer for 20 minutes, close my eyes, and empty my mind. If noises, thoughts, or pain disturb me, I center myself by repeating my mantra. I do this until my mind is calm.
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