I think I’ve finally come to terms with having MS in my life.
It’s been a long grieving process, a period of mourning what I have lost and what will never be.
But through this grief, I’m now more aware of what is good in my life, and I’ve discovered previously-untapped inner strength. So how well did I manage the classic five stages of grief?
Denial – This. Cannot. Be. Happening. I spent a long time with this thought, lying awake night after night, gripped by an unfathomable darkness, terrified of stepping into the unknown. It was an unreal situation and I blundered through it, denial far easier than facing up to very real fears.
Anger – I had this in bucketloads, plus an unhealthy dollop of self-pity. I was angry beyond belief. Just when my life was opening up again and long-awaited opportunities were within my reach, they were going to be snatched away? Seriously?
Bargaining – I didn’t really spend any time at this stage. I knew deep down that there would be no bargaining. Rather than try to exercise more or incorporate a healthier diet in an attempt to avoid the inevitable, I veered off in the opposite direction, thinking, ‘what does it matter, the damage is already done’. I self-medicated with chocolate, wine and comfort food.
Depression – This was the longest, most soul-destroying stage. I withdrew from the world, helped along by my symptoms speeding up the process. Home became my sanctuary and my prison in equal measure. Life was interminably bleak, the days long and dark, the nights longer. And darker.
Acceptance – After the awful depression, I had a choice. Either to go under or create a new way of living. I was fed up waking up every day under a cloud of misery. Rather than focus on what was lost, I looked at what I could do. What had this whole process taught me? After facing a vortex of fear and terror, the only way to look was up. The alternative was unthinkable.
Grieving allowed me to survive this change in my life and come out more positive and stronger within myself. Change comes in many guises, mine just happened to be MS. It shook my life to its foundations, but the resulting re-building is more secure and solid than before.
And the best thing? I had overwhelming support support from you, through this blog. Thank you.