By: Stacie Prada
The personal growth that can come after an MS diagnosis affects our relationships drastically. In facing our fears, the unpredictability of MS, and grieving the future we envisioned, our relationships can’t help but change. The experience reveals the dynamics that no longer support our mental and physical health or the future we now need. A friendship or marriage can blossom, or it can crumble from the magnitude and pace of change. And the outcome doesn’t dictate the value of the relationship, determine the efforts taken to maintain it, or judge each person’s character.
I may have been on a life path where my way of interacting would have evolved this way without an MS diagnosis, but I think the diagnosis definitely accelerated my need to take care of myself.
I don’t relate to people exactly the same anymore. I strive to notice when I’m contributing to a poor dynamic, own my words and actions, and distinguish between my issues and other people’s issues. It allows me to have some control over my life instead of unconsciously reacting to circumstances. It also reduces the stress that comes from feeling responsible for other people’s feelings and actions and trying to fix everything.
Some people saw this as rejection or abandonment. Others embraced it, and our interactions flourished. To me it felt like I was supporting them with new behaviors that weren’t at my expense and inviting them to join me.
I appreciate all of these relationships regardless of where they are today. These people are all a part of my life and history. I want to support them in their own life paths that are best for them whether our paths continue to cross or not.
*Stacie Prada was diagnosed with RRMS in 2008 at the age of 38. Her blog, “Keep Doing What You’re Doing” is a compilation of inspiration, exploration, and practical tips for living with Multiple Sclerosis while living a full, productive, and healthy life with a positive perspective. It includes musings on things that help her adapt, cope and rejoice in this adventure on earth. Please visit her at http://stacieprada.blogspot.com/