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4 Gifts That Living With Multiple Sclerosis Has To Offer

Written by: Lucie Petrelis, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Living with a chronic illness such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS) often seems like an insurmountable challenge, filled with daily uncertainties and physical and emotional discomfort. It's understandable to be surprised that there could be anything positive about such a condition. However, as someone who has been living with MS since half my life, I have come to realize that there are hidden gifts within this experience.

Before introducing to you some of those amazing gifts, let me take you back in 2002 and share with you how I experienced the very first months of my diagnosis.


Reevaluating Life


When MS entered my life at the age of 22, I was caught off guard. It happened suddenly, a few days after I returned from an exciting snowboarding trip, only to find myself temporarily unable to walk. It was a pivotal moment that forced me to start over and reconsider every aspect of my life. The future I had envisioned was suddenly uncertain, and I found myself grappling with questions about who I was and what my life would look like going forward.


Fear of the Unknown


Initially, I felt lost and powerless, as if I had no control over my own life. I was confronted with a new reality, and the person I had become was unrecognizable to me. I used to be a joyful adventurer for physical activities only to witness that now reaching the bathroom was my new target. The fear of the unknown was very overwhelming, and I realized that this was the first time in my life that I truly didn't have all the answers – or even any answers.


Shattering Illusions


It made me realize how we, as human beings, are often surprised when life takes an unexpected turn. We live in a world of daily uncertainty, yet we often cling to the illusion of control until circumstances shatter that illusion. Living with MS has been a powerful reminder of the unpredictable nature of life and the fragility of our health. Since I understood the rules that come along with MS, I often have the correlation in my mind on how life and MS are identical: My own will and influence are limited.


Despite the complex challenges, living with MS has also offered me unique gifts.


1. Appreciating Every Moment


MS has allowed me to see life with a newfound clarity, appreciating the moments that truly matter and breaking free from the autopilot mode of existence. It is a constant reminder that every day is a gift, and it brings me to the present moment, empowering me to make conscious choices.


2. Self-Awareness and Strength


The power of this awareness is truly incredible. I used to associate power and strength with external accomplishments—careers, wealth, social status, studies, number of people surrounding me, and grand adventures. However, through my journey with MS, I have come to realize that true power lies in being self-aware of my body and mind. When my body feels tired, my strength lies in acknowledging that fatigue, prioritizing self-care, and putting me to bed.


3. Self-Compassion and Well-Being


Why is this so important to be mindful about how our body is feeling? Because our bodies are all we have. By recognizing the signals our bodies send us, we can practice self-compassion and take the necessary steps to support our well-being. True strength comes from honoring our bodies and listening to their needs. Fatigue is not a random occurrence; it is a sign that we have exceeded our energy limits and need to make changes. Will we pay the price of pushing ourselves too far, or will we take these signs seriously before irreversible damage occurs?


4. Finding Beauty in Simplicity


Another profound lesson I have learned from MS is the ability to find beauty in simple, everyday moments. The sky above us, a heartfelt conversation, the sound of my dog snoring in my arms, or the words "I love you" from my life partner—these seemingly small experiences take on a whole new significance when we are open to notice and appreciate life's simplicities.


My journey with MS has not been easy, as anyone with a chronic illness can attest. But amidst the challenges, there is also immense personal growth and positive transformation. These experiences have led me to become a certified life coach, leveraging the power of my own journey to support others in transforming their perceptions of challenges and finding joy in their everyday lives.


As a life coach, I am here to support you approach any limitation you may have in a different way and unlock the gifts that living with MS has to offer. Reach out to me today, and together, we will embark on a path of empowerment, growth, and true self-discovery.


You might also want to read: MS And ADHD ‒ 3 Common Realities


Here are some resources that provide valuable information about MS:

I focus on raising awareness on MS – Multiple Sclerosis, ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, sexuality and gender identity topics, and on how to redesign our reality in a way that makes sense to us and brings us joy every single day.


Follow me on LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


 

Lucie Petrelis, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Lucie Petrelis is a certified life coach supporting individuals with ADHD and MS to redesign their life in a way that makes sense to them, and that is based on their needs. At 22, she temporarily lost her ability to walk and was suddenly diagnosed with MS, forcing her to rethink her life’s perspective and priorities. Twenty years later, her diagnosis of ADHD gave her the gift of finally understanding the root of so many of her challenges. Using the power of her stamina, positivity, and proven methodologies, she inspires and drives others to take their life into their own hands, re-structure it, re-prioritize it, add a lot of joy in it, and above all be proud of who they are. Her motto: Your challenges are valid.

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