You have your whole life ahead of you

As a young person I was always told, “You have your whole life ahead of you... You can do anything you put your mind to!” However, after receiving my MS diagnosis I started to doubt that this could ever be true for me. While everyone else around me continued on with their life pursuing their goals and dreams, I felt that my life was coming to a screeching halt and my dreams were slipping away. I became depressed and worried a lot about my future.

Would I be able to support myself? Would I find the right job with an understanding boss? Would I ever get married? Who would want to be with me? The questions in my head seemed endless. I got to the point where I would even tell myself, “It’s wrong for you to even think about having a committed relationship!”

As my mental state worsened so did my physical. Fatigue crept in and hindered my motivation. Looking back, I see how important it was for me to have encouraging people around me. It helped me to think positively and gave me the strength I needed to push through bouts of depression and ill thoughts.

I’ve said before that I might never have regained hope without attending support groups, or without my doctors being willing to experiment to find the right therapy and provide me with resources to help me understand this disease. I believe it is vital to have a strong collaborative medical team. For me this meant taking the time to build a team of professionals that includes my primary care physician, neurologist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, physical therapist and a good pharmacist. It’s important that I have professionals who are passionate about seeing me through – practitioners who are willing to listen, empower me, and allow me to participate in my treatment plan.

Not every day is perfect – chronic fatigue is still something that I deal with daily – but as I mentioned in my speech at the National MS Society Leadership Conference, I truly believe that the rest of our lives can be the best of our lives. I get to tour and play music all over the world for a living! And I’ll be celebrating my fifth year wedding anniversary this March with my beautiful wife, Portia who I love and adore :-)

— Anthony Jones
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The National MS Society

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  • Rhonda McVicker   Feb 13, 2014 11:27 AM
    I appreciate and respect you and your post. Having said that...the reality is that some of us do not have the insurance to cover chiropractor, accupuncturist, physical therapist etc. My depression started just as you said. The self talk..exactly! I gained weight, did not socialize, my attitude kept people away and I ended up seeing a therapist for 2 years while on antidepressants and antianxiety meds. I finally have dug myself out of the rut of despair, got into a silver sneakers program that my insurance DID cover and lost the weight. Of course I had to get into the right attitude, get out of my own way and some days close my eyes and make myself go out the door to the gym! Fortunately I started feeling better, looking better and that is what got me up and out the next day. Those of you out there who are still in the rut of can and will get better. Get to a therapist, some support groups are helpful if moderated by a professional therapist, but don't rely on medications to get you there...only through it. I weaned myself off and got onto supplements and changed my diet eventually. The worst feeling is thinking you are alone in all are not. Peace!
  • Joani   Feb 13, 2014 12:01 PM
    Thanks for sharing. I have found that positive attitudes and positive people are a must. Not only with MS but in anything we do. In my 22 years of knowing I have MS, I have always tried to be positive.....when I fell, I too was blessed with dear friends, family, and wonderful Drs. to pull me back up.
  • Laura   Feb 13, 2014 4:41 PM
    Thank you for sharing with us! new to all this and it's nice to read the positive words!! :)
  • Theresa   Feb 14, 2014 3:12 AM
    After I was diagnosed I went through periods of up and down, my daughter was 13 and I was more worried about her future. I did equine therapy for 11 years which helped, horses understand more than we give them credit. I do a lot of outside activities, the sun does a body and mind some good. I read a lot of motivational books, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and Deepak Chopra. I turn off the TV, too much negativity on it. I eat right, workout and take supplements. Yes there are days that I feel down specially in the winter, those days I sit on the floor, meditate and do some arm work with weights. Need to keep the mind and body active. I am 59 years old and was diagnosed in 1997. Keep the faith
  • Bernette   Feb 14, 2014 3:29 PM
    I believe that a cure for MS is in the very, very near future. Keep the faith and stay positive.
  • helena   Feb 15, 2014 4:56 AM
    That s the spirit!
    thank you for sharing!You give us strength!
  • Angela   Feb 15, 2014 2:22 PM
    My daughter was diagnosed nov 11 at the age of 30 it was a difficult time for her and the family. She has shown everyone that this disease won't get her down by being positive, attending all appointments, constantly taking her medication, exercising every day. Yes it can get her down on some days and although her life has been changed I am so proud of her for not giving up. Please don't give up there is help out there, if you havnt got family or friends to help then pick up the phone and ask, there is help for those who ask.
    God bless.
  • Janine Pamintuan   Feb 15, 2014 9:11 PM
    Hello! I'm a physical therapy student from the Philippines. We have this activity at school, wherein we are to contact real Multiple sclerosis patients. I would really appreciate it if I any of you can share their story to me, from suspecting that something was wrong, to going to a doctor for check-up, to diagnosis up to his/her present condition. It means a lot to me. Thank you! :)
  • Brenda   Feb 15, 2014 11:38 PM
    Thanks for sharing this post. I too have a lot of these same thoughts. I have so many single friends and we all talk through social media. Every once in a blue moon, we get together, and one or the other would say, "I will never find the right guy- what do I have to offer?" Can't have children anymore, all I do is work, then I have my children, tired all of the time- then the eye hits me, and "Oh Brenda, stop it!" I guess you can tell by the look on my face that I am thinking, "I wish that was all I had!" I am at the diagnosis stage, but I have long had a history that precedes this that starts a downward spiral. I really don't think about yesterday, as it depresses me. I don't think about tomorrow either. Just today. The hardest for me is I, like Jeanine mentioned, have a 13 year old daughter with her whole life ahead of her. I am slowly becoming less a part of it because I have to depend on others so much. It's a very unforgiving process. I hope I find positivity at some point.
  • Ian Groom   Feb 16, 2014 11:45 AM
    MS is tough. You have to be tougher. Prior to my diagnosis I was a "work 65 hours type, come home, make dinner, walk the dogs and go to bed while only sleeping 5 hours a night. On the weekends I would always fill my time with something exciting or time consuming so I never had a minute of downtime type of guy." Obviously that changed with a diagnosis at 32 years age and over 3 years ago when I was just where I wanted to be professionally and personally, and what I have learned is that the more down time you have, the more depressed you can feel. Although I am tired more often and need much more sleep, I still find that keeping busy and having a wonderful wife at home that fills my life with positive quotes, always looks for new medications and doctors, looks for support groups, and makes sure I am safe and happy and loved every day is what keeps me positive and keeps me going. Even though I had to give up a career that I thought was my life and many other things that I loved, there are always new things to love and MS is just one more challenge just like your career that you can be good at. Keep pushing yourself and keep setting goals so you dont slip into deep depression that is more difficult than the MS itself.
  • Gerri Ballas   Feb 18, 2014 7:25 PM
    Never give up. Financially, seek out help. It is out there. Keep social and as active as possible. Keep your brain enlightened. Lots of prayer too.
  • Renee Harris   Feb 20, 2014 1:53 PM
    I appreciate such positive WARRIORS of this WAR called MS, I was diagnosed in 2008, after deciding to get a divorced after 26 years of marriage, Thank you GOD the best decision EVER!!, so I believe my MS was laying dormient waiting to rear its Ugly head, but my Motto is and always has been "I have MS, MS does not have ME" if this makes sense to the majority of the people here, then you get it, and no matter how hard the day is, just remember if you wake up, open your eyes, and you are breathing, then the rest will take care of itself, WE ARE WARRIORS OF THIS WAR MS!!! Stand TALL !!!! and learn to have a BALL enjoy LIFE!!!

    MS WARRIOR! lets fight the battle, so we can WIN the WAR!!
  • deb   Feb 20, 2014 2:00 PM
    I got this life ruining disease in 1988 and have done more wishing and praying every day would be my last!!!
    My life is garbage since that day I was told by a CNA I had the disease.
    My husband left on advice of his family who didn't want him stuck with this imperfect, my 8 1/2 career ended with my position suddenly becoming not needed and new friends in my new house, 5,000 miles away from my hometown where I moved with him, don't want to be associated with someone in a wheelchair!
    I could go on but who would care?
    Yeh, right.
  • KStone  Feb 20, 2014 4:11 PM
    Hey Deb, people do care. I care. Seek out some support. People with MS (and without) are ready to help. What do you have to lose? Sounds like things can only get better. They can, little by little. Take a chance and believe it. Maybe there's a way you can help others, too. That's the best way to feel like life has meaning again. Please keep us posted.
  • Arnetta Blocker   Feb 20, 2014 5:07 PM
    I have had M.S. for the 15years and I have learned to turn lemons into lemonade and my life is a lot less stressful. Enjoy life.
  • kathy hart   Feb 20, 2014 5:44 PM
    I have had ms since 1995 at first I did not want to go on but after learning as much as I can and good doctor ms no longer has me I have ms . about three year's my daughter was told she has it also . she is going through what I went through but with god in my life we will be ok.
  • Sue Jackson   Feb 20, 2014 7:36 PM
    I have a beautiful daughter who has had MS for about 20 years. She has had relapses, but battles through them like a real trooper. She has never said "poor me" or "why me". She never complains and always has a smile for anyone she meets. She has a supportive husband and family and gives back as much as she receives. I could not be prouder!
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    Darian  Feb 25, 2014 5:30 PM
    Suffer the same thing. I'm 20 and wonder will I get married will anyone love MS and all. Will I get the cognitive ability to be able to be a full time student?? Depressing thoughts
  • Cedric Hill   Feb 25, 2014 10:30 PM
    I was diagnosed with MS 4 years ago.......Doctors believe I've had it 15 years prior, due to numbness in my right hand, just to name a few.....Had periods of depression every now and then.....I attempted to date, but have had no success at all..I do my yoga and work out with the weights weekly. It helps a great deal.....I'm 64 and have been told that I'm very handsome, but at the end of the day.......I go home by myself......MS is a bear!
  • Linda Johnson   Feb 27, 2014 4:50 AM
    I'm a 60 yr old female who has had MS for 30 yrs. I use a cane due to balance problems. I still drive, cook and I live alone. Unlike most everyone, I have never been to a support group meeting. My first symptom was in 1983. In 1988' I was diagnosed with mild MS. There is nothing mild shout MS.
  • the hospitalArthurDixon   Mar 2, 2014 12:05 PM
    Im 44 got ms and homeless .i dont wont to die. The hospital put me out after i told them i have no where to go
  • Richard   Mar 3, 2014 2:44 PM
    Im kind of lost and have just found out at the age of 48 that I have Ms and my medical care is through the VA hospital in Milwaukee where the care moves slowly some one please help me I have many questions and concerns
  • charmaine   Mar 10, 2014 4:43 AM
    I feel like many of you. Will I ever get married and will someone ever live and understand me with this MS monster in me. I try everyday to think good thoughts but my future does scare me sometimes. It's the unknown of it. Where will I go, howcan I work again, it's really hard because you're mind is in constant concern about your life. I never thought I'd have to adjust my life this way, now everything has changed and I need help figuring it all out. I know my God has the final determination. He has blessed me tremendously in spite of everything I'm going through. It never stops; the pain the worry and fear. ..But I have faith and am trusting in the Lord.
  • Catherine   Mar 14, 2014 6:11 PM
    I am currently getting my Master's degree in Counseling, which involves learning about different illnesses/disabilities and how to provide resources to those living with them. My fiancé's Dad died from MS and while most research on MS questions a genetic influence, some do not. As such, we are a little worried about the fact that he now suffers from chronic fatigue and whether it could be a symptom. Watching his Dad live and die with MS, he refuses to be tested, believing it is a death sentence. I enjoyed reading some of the blogs on this site, and was happy to read many of your optimistic and encouraging messages. As someone who has not experienced any of this first hand, I hope I can still express how amazed I am by some of your experiences and how you have managed to stay positive.
    I hope you continue to spread your message for others like me who cant understand your struggle.
    God Bless
  • Andy   Mar 27, 2014 5:41 PM
    I find this a very positive story and God bless you. I, like many of you, am having a tough time of it. Diagnosed 18 months agao, I fell I don't have a good medical support group. Luckily I have a good chiropractor who keeps thing from getting too painful. I am a top level career man who is still trying desperately to hold on to the job. I try to remain positive though. Just finally coming to this website is a sign that I am ready to move on. I always wanted to be a cook...