Perception Over Pain: Making a Mental Shift with SPMS

Perception Over Pain: Making a Mental Shift with SPMS

I am a positive person with not-so-positive moments. These moments don’t quantify my essence. Nevertheless, they sure try. I work hard to keep the negativity at bay, but I don’t always succeed.

As I write, I’m overcome with pain and fatigue. This is not the exception but the rule. But if you ask how I am, I’ll say I’m all right. I must. I narrate what I do hope to feel. I answer what I so wish would exist.

I lie to survive. My dirty little secret is out.

There’s no day, no hour, and no moment without pain. Pain wakes me up, and pain medications help me sleep. Pain levels dictate my life. Nevertheless, I find myself happy. I live with gratitude, and I thank God for my blessings.

How can pain and gratitude coexist? How do we find that beacon of light when lost in the dark?

That beacon of light is there within you. It is your attitude.

The choice to keep an attitude of gratitude has been my salvation. It’s not easy, and some days it’s virtually impossible. Our attitude is worth the time it takes to cultivate. For years, I have kept a gratitude journal. Some days the entry is long, while other times, it’s just one word.

Pain, fatigue, and stress confound my senses. My body is no match for progressive MS. My brain, however, is ready to fight. And I fight like hell.

Fatigue and pain impair my vision. I’m exhausted. It’s hard to tap into myself. This isn’t who I am, so I dig deep. I change my physical reality with a mental shift. I find myself.

My persona is present and happy. My nature is soft and kind. My life is abundant with blessings.

These last few sentences have become my mantra. Pain has the power to alter our being, and when that happens, I become unrecognizable. I am short and abrupt, cold, and impatient. I dislike my being, so I work very hard to keep my head above water.

If you want to change your life, change your psyche. Choose your narrative. Be the author of your story. In doing so, you just might find what lies beneath. This is not an easy task, but the reward is life. The reward is a ticket to ride instead of watching the world go by. The reward is you.

The reward is me.

***

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.

Jennifer Powell is a health writer and weekly columnist on Multiple Sclerosis. Jennifer imparts her hopeful optimism into real-life challenges facing the MS community. Prior to writing her column, Jennifer freelanced for several online periodicals including WebMD. When not writing, Jennifer enjoys volunteering with animal rescue, traveling and spending time with her Golden Retriever.
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Jennifer Powell is a health writer and weekly columnist on Multiple Sclerosis. Jennifer imparts her hopeful optimism into real-life challenges facing the MS community. Prior to writing her column, Jennifer freelanced for several online periodicals including WebMD. When not writing, Jennifer enjoys volunteering with animal rescue, traveling and spending time with her Golden Retriever.
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9 comments

  1. Wow! You just described me! I do have PPMS, but what you shared touched my soul. I even read parts of it to my husband, and I asked him if it sounded like me. And each time he said yes! God bless you, and God bless everyone fighting a physical disability!,

  2. Priya Sengupta says:

    Nice writing. Though I did M.Com & MBA, but I compelled to leave my job due to my Multiple sclerosis reason. Now I give tutions to children. This writing inspired me lot.

  3. Stefanie says:

    I love this! As a blogger myself, and as my body also has begun the transition into SPMS, I could almost copy this word for word. (Of course I won’t, but it describes me and my feelings) Thank you for sharing

  4. Stephen Floyd says:

    Thanx to the author. I felt like this was taken from my life’s story. I feel encouraged and that hasn’t been easy lately)

  5. Cynthia King says:

    I find it interesting that you admitted you lied. I lie too. Nobody wants a grocery list of my issues. If you tell the truth two things happen: their body language tells me the feel sorry for me, they try to help me by grabbing my arm to support me. I don’t want people touching me, I always feel they don’t know how to help and if I fall down I run the risk of breaking two hips, mine and theirs. I manage by ‘monkey barring’. I go from one bolted secure item to the next. I hold on to doorknobs (closed doors). My husband is a big guy so I don’t mind his help, and I use my walker. My mother in law who’s 89 tries to take my arm and I have to say firmly, thank you, no disrespect intended, but please let go of me. Her answer was, well I was hoping you’d hold me up. ? I believe that life is full of self fulfilling prophecies. You tell yourself you’re a wallflower, that’s where you’ll be. If you tell yourself today is going to be a bad day, that’s what it will be. I just bought a wheelchair and the man just dropped it off. I could bum out and say poor me I need a wheelchair, but I’m actually excited. I bought one off of Craigslist, the kind they use to play wheelchair basket ball. To be able to go somewhere under my own power is liberating. To not need someone to push me and having them breathe down my neck is liberating. Life is what you make it. Sometimes, on those days when your pain seems to be winning this round, you have to say, ok I really need to deal with this, and do whatever you can do to survive. But on those days we are graced with the ability to function, the sun shines brighter for us. The air smells sweeter. Because we know the value of things other people take for granted.

  6. Karen says:

    I really enjoy reading your column Jennifer, but now knowing the constant pain and fatigue you endure while writing them makes me appreciate your effort and positive attitude even more. I have PPMS and like you, have deep faith that keeps me looking forward despite the challenges of MS. I especially reflect on Revelation 21:4 when God promises that pain will be no more 🙂

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