The Emotional Struggles of Dealing with RRMS
- by Shauna F.
- June 04, 2018
Shauna F. is a paid Advocate for Teva Neuroscience, Inc.
The emotional struggles associated with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) can be difficult. I was diagnosed with RRMS at 32 years old. At the time, I had a three-year-old, a one-year-old and a newborn baby. I considered myself to be young, healthy and in the prime of my life, but after experiencing optic neuritis, my diagnosis was confirmed. I was not only scared for my future, but also for the future of my children. My emotions ran wild for the first few years that followed my diagnosis. I remember looking in the mirror some days and wondering who was looking back at me. I felt lost, hopeless and afraid.
I thought, how could this be? One moment I'm a healthy young mother of three and the next I have a chronic illness. The advice my doctor gave me was to hope for the best, but plan for the worst. I remember going home and feeling sorry that my children had a mother with a lifelong disease.
I also experienced emotional distress associated with my RRMS, as the impact of the disease was not “visible” to my friends and family. I worried my husband would see me as unattractive and undesirable. He had no idea I was feeling this way—no one did—because I internalized my emotions, which I now understand was not healthy. I decided to reach out to my doctor to discuss how I was feeling, because I realized I needed more support. My doctor assured me that the way I felt was not uncommon for people living with RRMS.
For me, seeking help and learning ways to manage my emotions really helped. I joined support groups where I shared my RRMS story with others and realized my lack of knowledge about the disease played a huge role in my emotional uncertainty. The more I conversed with others living with RRMS and read resources, the better I started to feel.
Ten years after my RRMS diagnosis, I’ve realized life goes on, although a bit differently; it can still be great and fulfilling despite living with a chronic illness. As I continue on my “soul-searching” journey, which includes support from my family and friends, I feel hopeful for the future and what lies ahead.
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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.