MS has forced me to look at myself, my lifestyle and my choices in a deep way. This process has been both challenging and uncomfortable but it has also been good. I am continually forced to examine why I'm troubled when I am troubled. I see others through new eyes and find that my compassion has increased. On the other hand, I have left little compassion for myself.
All around, I fault myself for every bit of absentmindedness I exhibit, everything I can't do and every commitment I flake out on. Despite being human and having MS to boot, I beat myself up constantly. Lately, my overall frame of mind has been better but my tolerance for my own shortcomings seems to be decreasing. In order to feel good inside, I try to keep busy. I follow a checklist of things I need to do and I feel the best when I can check things off this list. Unfortunately, I am wearing this prop out quickly.
I find myself asking, "What else is there? What and who am I without the things I do?" I went and saw my MS therapist today and she pointed out that I cannot just will myself into control of everything. She said I was taking too much of this process upon myself. She asked me why it was so important to make everyone else think that I am ok. I could only answer that I do not want to be a burden. I also think that when I can convince myself that things are ok that I can maintain the life I have now, that things will remain ok.
My last therapist helped me build a "toolkit." A toolkit for coping is essential but it is also really about maintenance. I think I am ready to move beyond maintenance. The problem is that I don't know where to start. Do I join a group, find a new therapist, continue to introspect? While I recognize my comforting mechanisms, I have not found a way to cut myself free. I still need to feel in control, I still need to check things off a list to feel in control and I am still haunted by the need to feel that this life, my life, has a purpose. I know I can't change in a day or probably that I cannot even do this alone, and yet I long to be able to solve these problems without committing to therapy, finding a group or changing my life style.
Physically I am one of the most flexible people I know but mentally I have created a giant rut. Go figure. There are a million reasons why I should not dwell or feel sorry for myself and yet there it is. I have not forgotten that I have many reasons to be grateful but I am realizing that I have a long way to go in adjusting to both my disease and more importantly, the things in myself that are holding me back from relaxing or feeling lasting happiness. Today I am grateful that I am still spoiled enough to find that these are my chief complaints and that overall it is a good life, we just all have our own stuff to deal with.
TISCH MS -- 18th Annual MS Patient Symposium
2 days ago