Surrounding Yourself

By Doug Ankerman

Okay, I hear you saying “you got this”… “no problem”… or the hackneyed, overused phrase “I have MS but it doesn’t have me.”

Yeah, I hear you tough guy/tough gal.

I hear you because I used to say the same. When I was diagnosed back in 1996, I thought MS didn’t know what it was messing with. I didn’t need any help. Didn’t need advice. Didn’t need to talk about it and burden someone else with my belly-aching.

Boy that was dumb thinking.

Truth is, you need to do it all. You’ll need help. You’ll want advice. And it is good to talk about how multiple sclerosis is affecting you. Get it off your chest.

At my diagnosis, I figured I would handle MS like the common cold – take something to clear up my runny nose and I would be good to go.

But MS doesn’t work that way.

MS hits from all angles. All sides. Pain here. Tightness there. Numbness everywhere.

Weakness. Blurriness. Forgetfulness. Enough ness’ to fill a medicine cabinet!

Best bet, you need to swallow your pride and accept help offered. Listen to others and do what is best for you.

Surround Yourself with Positive PeopleSurround yourself with positive influences. People, sights, sounds, words, music, food and activity that makes you feel good.

Eliminate or at least minimize negativity. Try your best to avoid people, places and things that bring you down. (Easier said than done, I know.)

It has been said in previous posts, but I’ll say it again, MS affects not only you, but everyone in your circle. Your job is to make sure your circle is completed… FILLED… with people who encourage, listen and stand with you.

Don’t be the tough one.  You got this… with a little help from others.

*Doug pokes fun at MS and other stuff on his humor website 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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