Diagnosis Acceptance

When I was first diagnosed, I didn’t really know what MS was, what caused it… I didn’t know that there wasn’t a cure available. It seemed the more and more I learned after getting diagnosed, the more I didn’t want to believe it all.

I’ve come to realize, and explain to others that get diagnosed with MS and their loved ones, it’s that we seem to go through a phase. It’s almost like a grieving process, because in a way you are grieving what used to be and trying to find your footing in this new journey.

This can be said for many other illnesses out there, not just MS. I’ve come to give a slight comparison to grieving a loss. There are the steps you go through; Denial, anger, depression and acceptance.

Denial

You’re sitting there thinking that the doctors and tests are wrong. You don’t believe what is coming out of their mouths. You aren’t accepting the MRI reports, etc. You know that as long as you deny it, you don’t have to be accepting of it. Things won’t change. Your regular schedule & life will not go up in flames. Now, I’m not saying that being diagnosed, that our lives are over… not by any means. But at the time, for me, it was just devastating and I didn’t want to believe any of it.

Anger

Why me? What did I do to deserve this? Is this karma? I was so overcome with so many emotions that it got to the point that I was extremely angry. I was taking it out on my husband, and my family, when all they were trying to do was be there for me. I’m ticked off that I have to undergo all these tests, and there is nothing that can fully stop what is happening to me. I was mad at myself, thinking that in some sort of way, I did this to myself. Not sure how, but I did it. I don’t want to hear ‘sorry’… I just don’t want to have to go through this at all. It’s like an emotion overload, and the one that pushes to the front to express itself is anger.

Depression

At this stage, I was coming to terms with everything that was going on. I was sitting there, silently taking everything in and just not wanting to participate. I could literally sit there, surrounded by friends and family that were having conversations, and I just didn’t want to be a part of it. It’s like being an outsider, looking in. You’re there physically, but emotionally you’re worlds away. Because again, we’re overloaded with emotions and questions and it’s just so much at once, that we just get depressed. Now, this isn’t for every person diagnosed, but I had to make a lot of changes, due to my flare up. So I had to stop doing certain things that I really enjoyed doing, and that added on to my depressive state.

Acceptance

This is a hard one to describe. I got to the point that I had to get up and do something. I had to start fighting back. All that anger and depression drove me to get the kick in the rear I needed to get my life back, as much as I could. I started really listening to the doctors and figuring out what I need to do, to be the best I could be while living with MS.

Now, let me tell you… there is no time frame for these stages… it’s also not something that everyone goes through… maybe they only experience some of them. But I wanted to share what I went through. I still have to go through these stages over and over, it seems. Every time a DMT (MS med) fails me, I tend to go through the same stages. Because literally WHY? Every time I have a relapse… I’m going through the stages again. I always come back to being ‘me’ again, but I just need to go through those emotions on the journey.

Anyways, everyone hang in there. Y’all aren’t alone in this… what you’re going through and/or feeling isn’t wrong. You have the right to feel what you want to feel. You have the right to deal and process in anyway you need to. I just wanted to give a little insight on what it was like for me.

xoxo

Ashley Ringstaff

(Click on my name above for ways to contact me.)

**Originally Published on MultipleSclerosis.net** 

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Actions vs. Words

I’ve always been that person that believes that actions speak louder than words. I’m not sure if that’s how everyone feels, but it’s just a personal attribute I guess. I wanted to share just some experiences I’ve had in the past, both good and bad, just to get it out there and get it off my chest.

Relationships change with MS

I’ve been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis since August 2010; I was 22 at the time. I had so many friends and a huge social circle that has since dwindled down to a select few. I have no hard feelings against the friends I had that are no longer, I did at one point, but I’ve dealt with it emotionally and moved on. Now, there have been a few friends that drifted away after I was diagnosed, that tend to pop back up here and there, when they see I’m having a hard time on social media, or otherwise. So, these people reach out to me and say things like, “Oh, I miss you! We need to hang out the next time I’m in town.” Or they even state a certain date, etc. You get my drift, right?

We all know that memory can be an issue with those that have MS, and it affects me. But when I have something to look forward to, like getting out of my daily routine and catching up with someone, just having some ‘me’ time… (Moms, you know what I’m talking about. You need that time for yourself.) So needless to say, this is something that I would look forward to when someone come to me and suggests that we hang out on a date/time. Then, come to find out, they dodge my attempt to confirm that we have plans, but don’t refrain from posting their activities on social media outlets on what they did instead of keeping the get together we had planned, even if it was a bit far away.

Actions speak louder than words

So what am I getting at here? It’s simply that actions speak louder than words. I’m guessing these certain people feel like if they say nice things to me, they are doing a nice gesture, and they don’t necessarily have to follow thru with it. That’s where you’re wrong. Because for one, I am THAT kind of person that will call you out publicly, if you want to be rude and just ditch me. I mean, I know I’m not as much of a social butterfly as I used to be, but I could have turned down other plans, because YOU had approached me about getting together. Get my drift? Another situation on this topic… is when people see that you are going through a lot, are always busy, etc. So these certain people approach you, without being asked/prompted, and you offer to help out with something at sometime. The end of your offer stating, “Just let me know if there is anything I can do for you or help you out with.” Does that sound familiar?

Grateful for help

Now, when someone offers something like this unprovoked, I’m grateful. I share what was said with my husband, mom, etc. It was a very kind gesture for someone to offer a helping hand. I’m not saying that I will take every one up on their offer, but it’s just nice to have that support. We all know that crazy things can happen, something sudden can come up, and that is relevant to everyone… having MS or not having MS. However, when you have MS… it’s like you have to ‘expect the unexpected’. So all those people that reached out to me offering help, I might need to take you up on that at some point. So when I try to contact you, seeing if you are still able to watch my kids when I get an infusion for 2-4 hours, have to get an MRI, DR appointment, etc. And the response I get is… **crickets**… nothing.

I would rather you answer me and give me a polite brush off rather than ignore me. Especially when social media/technology has this little tool on a lot of it’s messaging apps that will show you if the message is ‘read’ or not. So, basically, I see that you have read my message and **crickets**. This is what I’m talking about when I say ‘actions speak louder than words’. Bottom line is, don’t offer to help someone out, especially if they are dealing with enough as it is, if you are just going to blow them off. I would rather never be offered these ‘kind gestures’ rather than be ignored when I attempt at trying to take you up on your offer.

As usual, I could probably keep going on this subject, but you get my drift for now. I might return to the subject in the future.

xoxo

Ashley Ringstaff

(click on my name above for ways to reach me, etc.)

**Originally Published on MultipleSclerosis.net**