Living with MS: Maintain Your Quality of Life
In terms of multiple sclerosis (MS), the phrase quality of life means different things to different people. For example, what’s important in your life may differ from what’s important in someone else’s life. The challenge, however, is the same for everyone who’s dealing with the more advanced symptoms of MS: To find ways to keep life full, active, and satisfying despite whatever symptoms you may have.
Most people agree that in order to feel satisfied and fulfilled with life, everyone needs to have goals and to experience the feeling you get when reaching those goals. The satisfying process of setting achievable goals and meeting them is what allows you to feel productive, useful, and successful. If your MS progresses, you may find that some of your original life goals need to be tweaked or even changed entirely.
You may, for example, need to alter your career ambitions (perhaps by becoming a school administrator rather than a classroom teacher, or a music teacher rather than a performer) or trade competitive team sports for other competitive activities.
The first step in making these kinds of transitions is healthy grieving. In other words, before you can identify and work toward new goals, you need to allow yourself to feel sad about the old ones. After you’ve dealt with your losses, you can begin to think about and experiment with some new possibilities.
The key is to always have something to strive for — a goal that energizes you, motivates you, and taps your talents and creativity. If you start to run out of ideas for goal-setting, think about speaking with a mental health professional to help you get started.