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To Define My Reality With MS, I Choose Optimism

To Define My Reality With MS, I Choose Optimism
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I am an optimist in a pessimistic world. A fish out of water. I hold hope to ward off messages of defeat. In a world rife with suffering, hope is essential for soul survival. In my world with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, it has been my saving grace.

There is nothing contrived about my persona. I have grown to become the woman I am today.

I cultivated a new perspective after years of living in the problem. I found the negative narrative useless. Like quicksand, the suckhole enveloped all of me. The struggle du jour, while reality, became an identity. It was not sustainable. I wanted more from my life.

I enrolled myself in several workshops to learn about, then heal my mind. Three-day intensives turned to weekly classes. The stories we tell ourselves often handicap us far worse than any disease.

Once I was able to identify those counterproductive nuances, I made peace with each before letting them go. The release was both cathartic and frightening. The integrity within forbade excuses. In that weightlessness, I grew.

That was over 25 years ago, and long before my odyssey with multiple sclerosis. I credit my mindset to being able to coexist with this disease. I can hold the realities of life with MS and choose hope, cling to my faith, and set goals.

Being an optimist does not mean I am ignorant. I fully comprehend the realities in my world and that of the world around me. I choose to focus on aspects that propel me forward as opposed to holding me back.

I still experience pain and fatigue, worry about my family and those I love, and fear this disease. However, none of these are drivers in my life. While their factuality is undeniable, their power is not. I decide that.

The title of my column is “Silver Linings.” A silver lining is a sign of hope or light in an otherwise negative situation. I see silver linings because I have lived amid the darkness. I savor hope after experiencing its countersense. Unless you have been in the dark, you can never fully appreciate the light.

Although I choose light, darkness is an inevitable part of life. Choosing optimism is not ignoring the dark but taking it for what it is. Darkness without the storied narrative is nothing to fear. It has now become a sanctuary where I find calm and respite. Even in times of chaos and pain, I define its realm.

And so can you.

***

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

Jennifer is a health writer and weekly columnist on multiple sclerosis. Diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, Jennifer is also an active advocate in the MS community. Jennifer imparts her hopeful optimism into real-life challenges facing the MS community. Now with secondary-progressive MS, Jennifer hopes to elevate the patient voice to better the lives of those living with the disease. 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 at home in Orange County, California, with her husband and golden retriever.
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Jennifer is a health writer and weekly columnist on multiple sclerosis. Diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, Jennifer is also an active advocate in the MS community. Jennifer imparts her hopeful optimism into real-life challenges facing the MS community. Now with secondary-progressive MS, Jennifer hopes to elevate the patient voice to better the lives of those living with the disease. 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 at home in Orange County, California, with her husband and golden retriever.
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