The Importance of Connecting with Family

The Importance of Connecting with Family
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“You can’t say that!”

Screams erupted over our Zoom chat resulting in infectious laughter. Admittedly, it was rude, too rude to mention, especially considering the unexpectedness of who said it. 

Fun and laughter are what’s keeping us all going right now. It’s funny that when things get taken away from us we appreciate them even more, and nights like this, when we’re all virtually together, make it all seem bearable. Togetherness means everything. And connecting virtually is an important part of it.

After my diagnosis, I found it hard to discuss MS with my family. Chronic illness can take away so much from us and give us so much more in return. I often say, “I gained a lot from losing my left side,” and it’s true.

Don’t get me wrong — it was hard being diagnosed with a chronic, degenerative illness like multiple sclerosis in my early 20s. But it’s brought me closer to my family in many ways, even if most of the time, they may not understand precisely how I’m feeling. Occasionally someone might say the wrong thing. But I realize how important it is to stay connected with family. 

The difficulty comes when those family connections and routines suddenly disappear as they have lately, and finding new ways to keep in contact has become vital. Our families have been communicating a lot over Zoom, and we’ve even started hosting virtual family game nights. 

I realize now that multiple sclerosis is such a complex illness that affects all areas of a patient’s (or as I like to say, a warrior’s) health. It quite often affects the lives of everyone in the family, too. When that family isn’t together, worry may set in. 

Having virtual game nights is a way for us all to connect, make sure everyone is OK, and boost the levels of dopamine in our brains to help our anxiety. 

The funny part is that throughout my diagnosis, I always had invitations to go places or play games. And although I wanted to, sometimes my health didn’t allow it. The idea of connecting over the internet was brushed off by the family because it was “too complicated to set up.” Now it has become the only option, and we see each other more now than we ever did before.

Sometimes change is a good thing. The best part is that everyone turns up and is mostly there on time. Plus, it’s mostly free, and that’s always a good thing. 

I’ve learned in the last few months that life is about adapting to what life throws at you and making the best of it. 

How have you been staying connected with your family? Please share in the comments below.

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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 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 Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Jessie Ace is host of the DISabled to ENabled podcast. A podcast that aims to inspire people living with chronic illness. She’s interviewed everyone from Paralympians, radio DJs, chronic illness bloggers, and marathon runners. She’s also a writer and illustrator for the biggest MS charities worldwide such as the multiple sclerosis today, National MS Society, MS Society UK, shift.MS, MS-UK amongst others and she has also written articles and illustrated for Momentum magazine, MS Matters and New Pathways. Jessie was diagnosed with MS at 22 years old and says MS makes her feel blessed every day to be able to live a new life and to connect with so many amazing people. Her own experience of being newly diagnosed so young was negative and scary – she wants to change this for other young people and support them through the process by being a patient advocate.
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Jessie Ace is host of the DISabled to ENabled podcast. A podcast that aims to inspire people living with chronic illness. She’s interviewed everyone from Paralympians, radio DJs, chronic illness bloggers, and marathon runners. She’s also a writer and illustrator for the biggest MS charities worldwide such as the multiple sclerosis today, National MS Society, MS Society UK, shift.MS, MS-UK amongst others and she has also written articles and illustrated for Momentum magazine, MS Matters and New Pathways. Jessie was diagnosed with MS at 22 years old and says MS makes her feel blessed every day to be able to live a new life and to connect with so many amazing people. Her own experience of being newly diagnosed so young was negative and scary – she wants to change this for other young people and support them through the process by being a patient advocate.

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