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Are There any Benefits to Having MS?

By Mary Pettigrew

This is a topic that may bother some readers at first, but I urge you to give it a go. In the past I’ve said, “MS has been a gift,” but this gift must be explained, and I will do my best to outline why I said this, and still say this as of this day.

Grief is typically conceptualized as a reaction to death, though it can occur anytime reality is not what we wanted, hoped for, or expected. Persistent, traumatic grief can cause us to cycle (sometimes quickly) through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. 

We tend to talk about the negative – is MS as a hindrance? We all deal with it differently. 

I haven’t been feeling so great this past month. However, I do try to to quote Shakespeare in saying, “this too shall pass.’ In other words, I’ll do my best. I try to attend a few online groups and video chats as often as possible. One in particular, AnCan is a fantastic group is run by Rick Davis and is usually moderated by Dan and Jennifer Digmann and Kim Stroeh. If you click on the hyperlink, you can learn more about the who, when and where the group meetings occur. In the middle of one of our meetings, the mood began to sound a bit dour. Kim took notice and posed a question to the group. “So, let’s think outside of the box – what are the benefits from having MS? Everyone talks about the negative.” 

So what are the positives? What are my gifts? What have I benefitted from by having MS?
  • My community: I’ve never met so many fabulous people in this chronic illness community.
  • Learning to set boundaries: I’ve learned (and continue to learn) how to do and say what works for me and others.
  • Learning the power of saying ‘No’ 
  • Forgetting the past: What was … was.
  • Focus on today: Focus on the present. 
  • Do not worry about tomorrow: Do this day by day and celebrate the small accomplishments, no matter how small.
  • Let go of fear: It is an unknown. Pivot and go with the flow. This is a massive coping mechanism.
  • Laugh
  • Laugh often!
  • Do not sweat the small stuff.
  • Find beauty in the smallest of places.
  • Love myself: Love yourself!

To quote my dear friend Kim, “I can’t really live in the past and I can’t really live in the future, so I kind of just focus on the present. Just pivot and go with the flow. This is a massive coping mechanism!”

I found this to be a fabulous ‘AHA moment’ and I had to share it here with you readers. For more on this, look towards the YouTube link where this particular discussion was held at length.

Take time to reflect on the benefits you have found by living a life with MS.