It’s in the Contract

By Doug Ankerman

Mental wellness? Wait. When given my MS diagnosis years ago, all talk centered around the physical side. No one mentioned anything about the mental challenges of MS.

For this reason, I renege my contract with multiple sclerosis! (Wish it was that easy, right?)

Mental wellness with MSFact is, in my experience, mental wellness is WAY harder to manage. I have AFO’s to help with foot drop. A rollator to help with balance. And a wheelchair for mobility—but I have nothing to tame the dark thoughts of failure and worthlessness swirling about my head on a daily basis.

You too? Well together, first and foremost, let’s realize how we handle our mental wellness is up to us. And only us. There is no magic gizmo/gadget to strap on our heads to make things all bright again. We must work on our mental wellness as hard as we do our physical side.

How do we do that? For starters, I suggest you read the tremendous posts in this blog by Lauren Kovacs (“I Can Try”) and Scott Cremeans (“Booting the Mental Devil”). They detail many different ways to boost your brain box. Pick and choose to find what works best for you.

Me? I like to journal. Writing out my feelings in a blog or simply in a letter to myself. I also like to exercise my way to mental wellness. Sounds crazy (Oops, poor word choice, sorry), but when I feel better physically, I think clearer and more positive as well.

What have you found that works best for you? Please tell us your side with a comment. You’ll feel better sharing your success… and you may just help someone else too!

Whatever you choose to do, make it an important part of your day. Be diligent. Don’t slack. And don’t give in.

Remember, whether it is physical or mental, multiple sclerosis is a relentless bugger. It never stops pushing your limits. Push back with all you can muster. You’re a fighter… it says so in the contract.

*Doug writes about MS and other silly stuff on his humor blog at

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About MSAA

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is a national nonprofit organization and leading resource for the entire MS community, improving lives today through vital services and support. MSAA provides free programs and services, such as: a Helpline with trained specialists; award-winning publications, including, The Motivator; MSAA’s nationally recognized website, featuring educational videos, webinars, and research updates; a mobile phone app, My MS Manager™; safety and mobility equipment products; cooling accessories for heat-sensitive individuals; MRI funding; My MSAA Community, a peer-to-peer online support forum; MS Conversations blog; a clinical trial search tool; podcasts; and more. For additional information, please visit or call (800) 532-7667.

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