Navigating Life With MS: Daily Coping Strategies
- by Veronica H.
- May 01, 2017
Veronica H. is a paid employee of Teva Neuroscience, Inc.
Navigating life with MS, one step at a time.
Let’s face it; no one says MS is easy. It’s not. But redefining YOU and living a courageous life can be a helpful strategy for dealing with the emotions that come with MS.
Here are a few strategies that may help you navigate life with MS:
Tune your personal radio! Silence the negative self-talk.
- You know that voice—the one that whispers in your ear (or maybe for you, it’s not whispering, it’s SHOUTING), “Why can’t you remember why you walked in this room?” The next time your inner negative voice goes off, SHOUT BACK with something positive. “I might have forgotten why I walked in this room, but I walked in! Next time, I’ll make sure to write it down.” Replying to your inner voice in a calm and positive way can help turn your day around to more positive interactions.
Let’s be friends! Find others to whom you can relate.
- Support. We all need it in various forms, but finding the right support can be difficult at times. Your family and friends outside of the MS community may try and understand where you are coming from, but it can be difficult. “I had such a bad day; my hairdresser had to reschedule my appointment. How was your day?” “My day was pretty good; my physical therapy went great, and I went a whole day without any muscle spasms! Too bad about your hairdresser though.” We can all relate to a missed appointment for some reason or other, but finding others who can relate to living with MS can be challenging. If you’re looking for support, you may consider checking out the Lift MS® Facebook page. It is filled with people like you living with or caring for someone with RRMS. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society also has information available on ways to find and join local support groups.
Be the STAR in your story!
- Redefining who you are after an MS diagnosis may be difficult. Maybe you were the guy who everyone went to when their car needed fixed, or maybe you were the gal who volunteered for all the school activities. After an MS diagnosis, you may begin to wonder who you are, because you may not be able to do everything you once could. Praising yourself for what you can do instead of focusing on what you can’t is a great coping technique. “I can’t work on your car, because my hands are numb today, but I can tell you what I think the problem is.” “I wasn’t able to sign up for three events for the school carnival, but I am proud of the one event I was able to attend, and being there for my kids felt so good.” Focus on the CAN and not on the CAN’T. You’re the star of your story! You are amazing! Don’t forget it.
Form a game plan with your neurologist and other healthcare providers.
- Ready, set, GO! Form a game plan with your doctor regarding disease modifying therapy, symptom management tips, and dietary and healthy lifestyle choices. Stick with your PLAN! If something changes — for example, a new symptom or a change in insurance that may cause a delay in therapy — SPEAK WITH YOUR DOCTOR. A good game plan involves active communication between you and your healthcare provider.
There are many other strategies for coping, and what works for one person may not feel like a good fit for another. That’s OK. Part of coping is finding what works for you. If you try something and it doesn’t work or feel natural, then it might not be for you. Remember, this is YOUR journey. You write the story. You are the star, the hero. Finding ways to get through the tough chapters is part of the challenge of living a courageous life with MS.
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Shared Solutions® Nurse
About The Author
Veronica H., RN, MSCN is an MS-Certified Nurse working at Teva's Shared Solutions® with 6 years of experience, 3 of those years dedicated solely to multiple sclerosis.
COPAXONE® (glatiramer acetate injection) is a prescription medicine that is used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), to include clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease, in adults.
Do not use COPAXONE® if you are allergic to glatiramer acetate or mannitol.