To Thrive With SPMS, I’m Learning to Accept All of My Emotions
Optimism is kryptonite to the fear and doubt I keep inside. I am grateful for my cheerful disposition because it allows me to maintain balance. But balance is not healing. Left alone, those feelings that I fear ultimately fester. I tend to push aside sadness or frustration. I use various justifications to toss them aside. But as they mount, their shadows grow. These can easily overwhelm. It is often not until the emotional quotient levels that I fly the white flag out of desperation.
I have an aversion to sadness. It is unhealthy and started when I was younger. I feel an innate need to quiet any discontent. I have an unquenchable desire to quell any fears. I want to suffocate their existence. I fear that acknowledging them will give them oxygen.
Sadness, depression, anxiety, and anger exist with or without our admission. Each of these has gotten a bad rap for being an unacceptable emotion. It is simply untrue. This world is a complicated place. More specifically, my own is confounded by the everyday challenges of living with a progressive and incurable disease.
Feeling sad or angry does not negate any aspect of my being. There is no shame in experiencing emotion. Until we metabolize feelings, we cannot possibly move through to the other side. I am learning to sit still with fear, anxiety, and sadness — three of the emotions I have the most trouble accepting.
These come to me at night when my world is still. The dark of night is a perfect cover. Fatigue and insomnia render me defenseless. It is an open invitation to those emotions, which are allergic to the light of day. Those emotions are allergic to my light. Knowing this allows me to face the worries that I have kept at bay. In bringing them close to me, they lose their power.
The unpredictable and progressive nature of MS can be scary. I experience anxiety around the changes in myself and how that may or may not impact my future. I think about the financial burden of medications and become resentful, as these medications will never provide a cure. My sadness is normal.
I am learning that much like my MS, my emotions surrounding my disease will change. My ability to thrive alongside MS is dependent on my mental fortitude. And as I better my ability to manage myself, I will be better able to manage MS.
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