facebook twitter
 photo toppost.png

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How Do You Cope With a Loss of Independence Due to MS?

A commonly heard phrase now echoes throughout my house: "Honey, can you open this jar for me????"

I have always been an extremely independent (some may say stubborn) individual.

I detest feeling dependent on others, especially my close friends and family. In fact, one of the first thoughts I had after my MS diagnosis was: "I refuse to be someone's burden!" 

There are little things that happen each day, my inability to open a jar, my inability to drive at night, my fatigue in the afternoons. Then, there are larger issues such as my ability to earn a living the way I used to, the missed children's football and soccer games due to heat and flares, and the emotional impact this is having on my husband and children. How do you cope with this loss of independence? It is almost inevitable that this diagnosis goes hand in hand with increased dependence on others. 

The MS patients I have met in the last few years are just like me. Have you noticed that? Most of us are very strong, stubborn, independent individuals who feel just as I do. I find myself feeling guilty every time I have to ask for help. Apparently, this is my life lesson, my challenge, my big obstacle to overcome. 
My Life Obstacle: Dependence on Others

As I examine my motivations and feelings more closely, I realize that a lot of these feelings are purely my ego. I gain self esteem from being independent, and I always have. I have had a constant little voice in my mind throughout my life asking "would you be okay if you were on your own completely? If you lost everyone you know?" My answer was always a resounding: YES! However, now I realize that this was not a healthy mindset. Now, I have much to lose.

In the past, I mistakenly saw my lack of dependence as strength. I thought that because I had nothing to lose, I was untouchable emotionally. No one could ever hurt me if I did not care that much. I needed nothing from anyone, and I liked it that way. Boy, was I wrong.

We need to feel supported by others. It is a basic human need.

The question then, is: How do you do this? How do you accept your small (or large) losses of  independence? My answer is that your loss may actually be your gain.

When you ask for help you:

1. Show that you are trusting of another human being.
2. Show that you are in need at the moment, but not forever.
3. Develop a bond with another human being.
4. Form the foundation of a long, connected relationship.
5. Create an opportunity to help someone else in the near future.


How great would that feel? To know without a doubt that your friend/spouse/caregiver/family member will always be there for you? No matter what? This is what I gain when when I lose. I may need a hand opening my next jar, but I have a lifelong bond with my spouse that is strengthened each time I need a hand.

Do not mistake needing help for weakness, or independence for strength. Strength comes from building a strong relationship with those closest to you. This is where our true strength lies.



 photo envye.jpg
envye blogger theme