Connecting Through MS on World MS Day 2020

Connecting Through MS on World MS Day 2020
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May 30 was World MS Day 2020, an annual initiative for the MS community worldwide to unite. The Multiple Sclerosis International Federation created this global campaign to educate, raise awareness, and offer hope. Its free, online resources provide an abundance of helpful information. Fittingly, the theme for World MS Day 2020-2022 is “connections.”

Like so many during this pandemic, I have isolated in an effort to stay safe. Almost three months later, I am craving a connection. I have become slightly dull in the absence of social connection. My effervescence is a tad less bubbly. Although my husband is here, he (justifiably so) does not understand my struggle. And that is OK. He does his best to empathize and for that I am grateful. It is important I never expect him to do more. Those needs are best met by others with multiple sclerosis.

There is something sacred about being among others who “get it.” The freedom to be vulnerable is beautiful. The ability to find solace and understanding without explanation is inexplicable. There is comfort in receiving. There are gifts in reciprocity. There is fulfillment in helping one another. There is growth in learning. These tools elevate our ability to thrive outside of our disease.

It can be easy to negate our need for others. When I am in emotional or physical pain, I retreat. The majority of the time I do so without intent. I read, listen to music, and take in sunsets solo. Being alone is not lonely, but at times necessary. It is when we hide that we risk the perils of disconnectedness.

Humans are social beings. We seek self-worth, value, and support from peers. Our happiness quotient grows among others. So too does our physical and psychological well-being. If you think you are immune to this need, think of another with MS. There is untapped joy in getting and giving the gift of connection to another.

Thriving with MS lies in our ability to create and maintain connectedness. On this World MS Day, I challenge you to create a new connection. I urge you to nurture a broken one. I call on you to live this theme, not despite MS, but in spite of MS.

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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.

Jennifer Powell is a health writer and weekly columnist on Multiple Sclerosis. She is also an active advocate in the MS community. 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. She is also an active advocate in the MS community. 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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