Accepting the Unexpected (and Unwanted)

Everyone’s lives are very different and unique. But when it comes to certain experiences we can all relate to one another in some way. Many have had the unfortunate and shared experience of moments that are unexpected, uninvited, and honestly, unwanted during the course of life.

For individuals diagnosed with a chronic illness like MS, acceptance is not often the first thing on their mind. Questions, doubts, arguments, bargaining, and denial are just some of the pieces that a diagnosis can bring with it. And for some, the journey to acceptance can be long and hesitant.

The road to accepting, (or coming as close as possible to acceptance) can be difficult. But that road doesn’t have to be taken alone. Some individuals choose to shut out the world and the people around them. They feel embarrassed, or angry, or misunderstood, but this can look so different.

On the Helpline we often hear from family and friends of individuals just diagnosed with MS. They’re asking “What can I do to help?” Or “What should I say?” Many do not want to feel pitied or helpless in this time, but asking for help can be a strength and extremely powerful.

Accepting a diagnosis isn’t necessarily an issue only for the newly diagnosed. This can come in waves even for those living with MS for many years. If there’s a new change, limitation, or restriction of some kind that occurs due to MS this can put someone right back to those same feelings that came with the initial diagnosis. Perhaps for some the acceptance came quickly but later on there’s a setback they encounter.

There’s no specific course outlined in the road to take, but knowing that others may be on this same path, walking ahead or behind, can help make the journey feel less lonely. Opening up to others – whether in your circle or through the MS community somehow may make the acceptance piece more bearable.

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