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Finding Happiness With Multiple Sclerosis

“Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you; but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.” 

Happiness is like a butterfly

This quote is my inspiration for this week’s post because it so perfectly sums up my journey from when I was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

Chasing my past happiness

Finding happiness in my life began when I stopped chasing my past.

When I was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I was trying to reclaim the happiness I had felt in my past. The life I was living before the onset of my illness. A moment in time that was now impossible to get back.

As well as trying to restore my past I would also torment myself with thoughts of why this had happened to me. Wondering what I had done to deserve this diagnosis. Of course, I hadn’t done anything to cause my MS, but I still felt like somehow it was all my fault. Maybe I could have done something to stop this from happening. I was chasing someone or something to blame. My chronic illness is not my fault, and nothing is to blame. It’s just one of those things that happen, and the best we can do is learn to adapt and move forward.

Being so concerned with changing something I had no control over was hindering my ability to move on and be happy. When I finally managed to let go of my past and accept that I could not change or control what had happened to me. I finally found peace and stillness in my life.

This was not easy for a self-confessed ‘control freak’, and I needed guidance to be able to achieve self-acceptance. I went to therapy for some time, and I battled for several years with depression. In the end, I think this period in my life made me a strong and resilient person. Having gone through this terrible time in my life made me who I am today. And for that, I am thankful.

Living in the present

Once I stopped chasing my past and began to focus on the present. Everything in my life started to fall back into place.

Instead of focusing all my energy on regaining ‘how things used to be’, I turned my attention to new things. I went back to university and studied nursing.  I changed career and worked in an industry that fit my new life. When I could no longer work or study I found new hobbies such as writing. And although my writing can bring back memories of the past, because the past cannot be completely erased from our consciousness. I can now control when and how I process my memories, rather than them flooding back uncontrollably. And with each memory I write about, I find that it comes back to trouble me less and less.

So now after so much chasing, I’ve come to accept my present and just be. And in the stillness and calm of accepting my new reality happiness has come to me.

Ms JenY

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