Since the beginning of my blog I have been told nothing but good things about my attitude as I do my best to maintain a positive one. I have mentioned just a couple times before that this is not always the case but regardless, I do my best to keep my content positive. However, I would be lying if I said that MS never got to me. That’s an inevitable factor of dealing with such a disease, every once in a while, it will get the best of us. I believe that I do in fact deal with my disease pretty well for the most part when it comes to my mental and emotional well being but last night for example, I did have a bit of a breakdown. I think it’s necessary for me to share this because like everything else I share about my MS experience, it’s just part of the truth and I can’t hide any of that from anyone. It’s important for people to see the contrast that can exist within me otherwise my usual positive attitude really means nothing as I could just be manically optimistic about my life which is definitely not the case: Anyone who personally knows me could vouch for that, it may be hard for my regular readers to believe, but most my friends would consider me to be a pessimist, someone who only sees the bad in life, in society, in people. I agree that I can often be pessimistic but I try my best to maintain a balance of reason, logic, and emotion when it comes to my judgment of the world and the people around me and so I believe it is important to be able to express both optimism and pessimism when necessary. Anyways, to hide part of the truth would be nothing short of manipulating the reality of dealing with Multiple Sclerosis which is what most people really are interested in. The reality of MS.
So the reality: The Dark Side. Logically I know I have to deal with a lot more then the average 20/21 year old male, I know it takes a lot of strength to get through what we MS patients have to deal with but that doesn’t change the fact that every once in a while I emotionally feel quite pathetic. It’s only natural that I want to be able to keep up with people my age, to be able to do the things a 21 year old male should be able to do, but the stark reality of my life is that that may not always be possible and so emotionally, I catch myself feeling like less of a man for not being able to do the things that society has taught us makes men men. I grow extremely frustrated with myself when I fall into this dark mood, the perception of my handicap is negatively amplified. My attitude dramatically shifts into the dark when I have trouble buttoning my shirt, walking in a straight line, thinking clearly, etc. Things that normally merely bug me but don’t destroy me. I am a very stubborn and prideful individual and nothing destroys me more then having to mutter the words “I can’t” as a result of something I can’t personally control because deep down inside, I think I want to have full control, at least over something as simple as my own body. Who doesn’t want that? But to want full control over something that is uncontrollable by nature is simply unrealistic. But to have to tell someone I can’t hang out because it’s 8pm and I have no energy just drives me mad! I want to force myself to keep up with everyone but I understand logically that I have to recognize my limits in order to prevent things from getting worse. It’s things like this that just make me feel pathetic, things like this that sometimes make me want to just fester in a world of depression. I do my best to destroy these thoughts immediately as I consider those thoughts to be a result of MS winning, taking the lead, and I’m far too stubborn to let that happen.
Something a lot of people with MS talk about I have noticed is how no one really, truly, understands what people with Multiple Sclerosis have to go through, have to deal with deep down inside. This is definitely something I have felt many, many, times. No matter how much support you receive from family and friends the fact of the matter is that they don’t, they CAN’T fully understand what we are going through in our minds and in our hearts. It’s nothing personal, it doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate those efforts of support any less or that they don’t help it’s just simple common sense: You can’t explain the concept of color to the blind, the concept of sound to the deaf, you might be able to get pretty close to the truth using words alone but you can never fully translate the actual feelings themselves. This creates a large gap in communication between those with MS and their loved ones because sometimes it’s hard for them to fully comprehend why we feel the way we feel, act the way we act, think the way we think, and need the time alone that we sometimes may need. It’s not that our loved ones are doing something wrong or not doing something right, it’s just that sometimes some of us have to deal with things differently to get through our rough patches because it’s not always possible to properly communicate what we are going through. Everyone is different when it comes to dealing with complicated thoughts and emotions and for me I sometimes just need time to let my thought clear and rationalize. We can only deal with our problems the best way we know how to which is why it’s important for our loved ones to understand that it’s nothing personal, it may be hard to understand, to accept, but it’s like I said, you can’t explain that the sky is blue to someone who doesn’t understand the concept of color. The key to getting through these bumps in the road is open communication, you may not fully be able to explain what your feeling, but as long as you try your best, that’s half the battle.