We've all heard the phrase, "The Long Arm of the Law", right? Well, I thought it would be quite fitting to use this coined phrase when describing Multiple Sclerosis. MS doesn't just wreak havoc on your body, its damages can be felt emotionally and financially, not to mention the consequences on our relationships.
Let's first tackle what could happen emotionally. With MS comes feelings of hopelessness, sadness, self-loathing, and anger to just name a few. But the one feeling I never expected was grief. I pretty much felt like I was in mourning; I was mourning my former self. Sometimes I still feel that way. I was going through the five stages of grief which I thought only applied to the passing of a loved one. I believe I'm in the final stage - acceptance. Well, not entirely, I'm like 75% into it, but it's a work in progress. We're all just works in progress I guess.
Next up is finances. That's a doozy. It's hard enough living paycheck to paycheck let alone throwing MS into the mix. A lot of us can't work anymore due to our symptoms. It takes forever to get approved for disability and when you do it's barely enough to live off of. That constant worry and weight on our shoulders is enough to cause more flare ups. It also creates added stress on our loved ones which in turn creates more self-loathing. We see ourselves as more of a burden than anything else.
The last thing I'll touch on is the way MS affects our relationships. Sadly, sometimes relationships end because of MS, including marriages and friendships. I think it's probably due to all the previous complications I've already listed. All those things put such stress and pressure on our most treasured relationships. I've been lucky enough that my relationships have remained in tact but only because all parties involved worked hard at sustaining them. I'm not saying I'm better than anyone else, I'm simply saying that somehow, perhaps by sheer luck, we've been able to weather the storms. We've definitely had our share of fights and even months of complete separation. Yet it's constant work to keep those relationships strong and healthy. But even with pretty stable relationships the dynamics have certainly changed. Not so much on their part but on mine. I'm different, I'm not the same Lisa I used to be. I still feel alone sometimes and there are times I feel like an outsider. This feeling has diminished quite a bit but it still lingers.
I wish I had the answer to all these tentacle - like effects that MS has on our lives, or even better a cure for the disease itself. Alas, I do not. What I will do is post some links I've found to be helpful in my own life. I admit it can be disheartening when a lot of organizations say you don't qualify or there's so much red tape to cut through, but we have to keep pushing along. I mean crying and curling up in a corner isn't exactly the healthiest of options.
To stay connected to other people afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis:
Monetary Financial Aid:
Directory of Personal Therapists Specializing in Chronic Illnesses: