I was in graduate school when I was diagnosed with MS. I got the news and still finished out the semester with a spot on the Dean’s List. I then went into private wealth management, taking care of the money and affairs for famous people. I’ve always prided myself on my street smarts and my figureitoutitude. And it’s always served me well.
From the outside I looked like a champ. Going out with friends, dating, and having job titles that carried lots of weight. Being brave and upbeat in the face of this horrible illness.
I would never admit to anyone that my life was anything other than the awesome.
But I was living with a secret.
One that I never told anyone for years.
I was afraid that my MS would take me down some day.
I had finally met something I could not outsmart with all my knowledge, degrees and street cred.
And that scared the crap out of me.
Surviving the beginning
The first five or so years of my diagnosis, I had a lot of relapses. Each time something hit me it seemed to be out of the blue. I would get over it only to be hit again.
I kept feeling blindsided.
And I was sick of it.
In looking at how to stop this lack of control I noticed two important things.
1. Each time I had a relapse, I believed I would recover 100% – and I was never far off from that. I believed in my doctors, I believed in the medications and I believed in myself and that I could make it happen.
I’ve had my share of anger, fear, sadness and confusion with MS. But when it comes to the brass tacks of taking meds, exercising, eating well, looking for other solutions, etc., I know I can take care of business.
2. I was pushing myself really hard in work and in play. I was running ragged with people and situations that didn’t serve me. And I was suffering because of it.
Could this be right? Was it possible to have this big disease and be confident that I, along with my team, would figure it out?
But that didn’t mean I wasn’t worried.
It just meant that what worried me the most was not my MS.
What worried me the most was my crazy life creating problems with my MS.
My body consistently proved that it would flare up when I get stressed. So I changed a lot in my life in an effort to get away from the stress.
Quit my full time job and got a part time one.
Got married and moved away from the city and into the ‘burbs.
Even went back to school and changed careers.
But the stress followed me wherever I went. And after making all those changes to minimize stress, I had my biggest relapse yet.
What I was doing wasn’t working. My crazy life was still crazy despite all of the changes I made. That’s when what I already knew in theory finally sank in.
I can’t control stress by getting away from it. Stress is not a situation. It’s not a thing that I can change. It’s a feeling I create and carry with me wherever I go.
To truly gain control, you have to outsmart your MS.
The first thing I did was stop running away.
That meant no longer looking around at things in my life to change.
The second thing I did was to look at why I was running in the first place. It was because I was afraid what I was doing would set something in motion with my MS that I eventually couldn’t get out of.
Once I saw how this fear took away my feeling of control, I started looking at other beliefs I had that weren’t serving me.
I started cleaning house. Letting go of thoughts that kept me in stress, learning how to change my perspective on everything from a failed project to bird poo on my windshield.
This was more than just positive thinking – this was changing how my brain worked.
And I could feel it.
Stress no longer followed me wherever I went. I felt completely in control of how I felt and knew what to do when stress popped up.
How do you outsmart your opponent? Not by stressing out and running away.
You outsmart your opponent by making sure you see her coming from a mile away.
I knew when I was stressed and could get to the bottom before it got critical.
I knew the baby early warning signs when I was pushing myself too much.
I knew how to be clear on a plan and figure out what would work.
And the best news of all – I knew I could do all of this without any huge life changes like quitting my job or moving.
That’s how I outsmart MS – every day.
There have always been moments where I’m scared. Scared of what will happen with my MS symptoms, unsure of a new medication or worrying about how someone I love is handling their life with my disease.
What I’m not scared about anymore is being blindsided by my MS.
I’m not scared about this alien in my body doing something out of left field. I’m not afraid of my crazy life getting in the way – because my life doesn’t feel so crazy anymore.
Are you worried that your crazy life will create issues with your MS?
Are you trying to change things in your life in an effort to feel more energy, less stress and all around happier?
I created my 8 week coaching program just for you.
To help you know what to do with stress, feel more at ease in your life with MS, and to never be blindsided again.
If this resonates with you, sign up for a free discovery session and see how coaching can work for you.
I have that feeling of control back. All my street smarts and figureitoutitude was serving me after all.
If I look at the circumstances in my life, they’re no less crazy then they were before. The difference?
Feeling in control.
Quite frankly, life is too short to not feel this way.