Many people who suffer from mental or chronic illness may think that this is the one thing that makes them who they are. They allow their illness to define who they are as a person. While I don’t suffer severely from mental illness, I have had my share of depression and anxiety mostly surrounding my MS diagnosis and learning to live with it.
When I was diagnosed and in subsequent relapses in the last twenty years I’ve had to cope with the thought, will I recover from this attack or will this be the time I suffer a loss that I will never get better? Every time a relapse occurs, I get scared, sad, depressed, angry and at times even question my faith in God. Why is this happening to me? What did I do in life to deserve this?
As I get older though I am trying to think more positively and with optimism. After twenty+ years of living with MS, I’m doing pretty good. I know that God has blessed me with the ability to still walk, talk, live life and I have much to be grateful for. While my disease has taken some things away from me (my career as a teacher, the decision to have only one child when I wanted many, the need to rest when I’d rather be active), it has also given things to me as well (the opportunity to be a stay at home mom, the time to write my blog).
I decided to have the attitude that I have MS but MS does not have me. It does not define me. It is only a small part of who I am. Likewise, I hope anyone suffering from mental illness or a chronic health issue will learn to feel the same. Be Pretty, Plus and Proud and be confident that there is so much more to you than sickness. Let people see that first and your health issues last!