Appreciating Myself and All That I Am

I don’t know if anyone else experienced this, but after my diagnosis, I felt like half a person. I felt like everyone around me could see that I was “incomplete” because of the way I walked, slurred my speech or lost my ability to write my name. Bouncing back from this initial shock wasn’t easy.

Through my journey with MS, I’ve struggled to accept that I will not be able to do certain things all the time. Sometimes my friends want to go hiking on the weekend and my body just says “No!” There are days where I want to accomplish so many things and I have to face the reality that I’m celebrating the fact that I even got out of bed that day. This is reality.

You may wonder what keeps me going or what keeps my spirits so high—having a support system and accepting the things I cannot change have led me to where I am today. I struggle with self-love on the daily, but it does not stop me from trying. Thanks to my loving family’s support, and the encouragement from my friends and significant other, I understand that no matter what the challenge is, I can do it. Nothing in life is perfect, but that’s what makes it beautiful.

For most of my life, I’ve lived for others; this year, I am taking myself into account for the first time. This Valentine’s Day, I am my own Valentine! I’m sending myself all of the mental roses I can to congratulate myself for making it this far. Every single day that I wake up, get out of bed, and smile is something to celebrate. I may have multiple sclerosis, but multiple sclerosis does not have me.

Do yourself a favor this Valentine’s Day and love yourself. On your good days, bad days and those in between; you are fighting your silent battle every single day, so take this day to say “I’m amazing.”
Tags Caregiving, Healthy Living      7 Appreciate this
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Catherine Weston

Catherine is a professional in the medical marketing industry from Long Island, NY. She aspires to show the world that MS doesn't hold her back. She was diagnosed in 2014 and has been striving to help others overcome their fears and limitations since (she also loves sheep!). Keep up with Catherine and her adventures on her Instagram.

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  • C Denney   Feb 15, 2018 3:08 AM
    Good on you Catherine, it's glorious to be your own advocate. It is a bonus to have support of family and friends, but it is you who gets yourself out of bed, showers and dresses and gathers the inner strength to smile at yourself each morning and face your day. Well done, may you have many valentine's days.
  • Franelle Rogers   Feb 15, 2018 3:56 PM
    thank you for sharing this wonderful letter. I have been involved with the Houston MS luncheon for the last 10 years. Happy Valentine and be filled with love and light. Celebrate you.
  • Kristi Strait   Feb 15, 2018 8:53 PM
    What an encouraging word! Thank you for sharing. I was diagnosed at the end of 2014 as well. I have been a stay at home mom for 17 years so no time to stop. I have 4 beautiful children who keep me going and a husband of course too! Teenagers are challenging but day by day God helps me keep the ball rolling.
  • Terrie Dusek   Feb 16, 2018 12:58 AM
    Your message is beautiful and I hear everything you're saying! I was diagnosed in September 2011. It was shocking how I was feeling and what was happening. The right side of my body was very affected. I couldn't use the right side of my body. I dragged my right foot along when I walked, I couldn't hold a cup or spoon with my right hand, I became left handed for a while and still am at times today. I also couldn't eat solid foods. I had to switch to smooth food and liquids. I couldn't remember things - that was freaky. I would take out the milk to have some cereal - I'd let it soak in the milk and I could eat it - but I'd walk away and forget that I was going to eat a bowl of cereal. Later I'd see the milk out and it would click that I was supposed to eat a bowl of cereal but it might have been 2 hours later or more. My short term memory is doing better over time but I still struggle. I used to go to bed every night praying to my Lord and asking him to please make sure I wake up in the morning and I start feeling better and get better all the time. I love myself and continuously tell myself that when I struggle and I congratulate myself by saying sweet things to myself when I do accomplish things each day. Thank you for your blog post. Love it!
  • Ruby   Feb 16, 2018 7:26 AM
    "Self-love". . . a term that is significant to me now. I was diagnosed in August 1998. I take the meds., exercise several times a day, eat right. I thank God that I have the elements in my life of being born in a free country, can still walk with assistance, have food/shelter, still safely drive and a loving support system.
    Not to evangelize - but the most important thing to me is a faith and a powerful, loving God to whom all things are possible.
    The loss is tremendous. I cannot hike, bike or attend some events but I have developed talents, relationships, knowledge that I would not have otherwise.
    I vascillate between self-confidence/love and . . . well, it is a dark place.
    Thanks for the blog.
  • Isabel Kirk   Feb 17, 2018 5:15 PM
    I thank you for your words. I was diagnosed last year with MS and I’m also doing everything for everybody but me and I do too need to love myself
  • Kristen Wilson   Feb 17, 2018 8:25 PM
    Thanks for sharing.
  • David Ruiz   Feb 18, 2018 8:03 AM
  • Kerry   Mar 31, 2018 10:54 AM
    Good for you, Catherine! I was diagnosed in February 1993 and was also a young, healthcare industry, business professional at the time. It was not a very good Valentine for me to get.

    It's normal to use what others see (or what we assume they are seeing!) as a mirror for how we see ourselves. Remember that the people who matter are seeing much more than your limitations.

    You are right to send yourself mental congratulations roses❤!! Remember all the things you CAN do, and celebrate the new ways you will learn to work around the things you struggle to do.

    Love yourself! Happy (belated) Valentine's Day!
  • danielle41  May 8, 2018 8:24 AM
    Hi Catherine,

    How you feel is exactly how I feel right now. I was diagnosed in 2007. It really hit home when I walk. I have what they call the "drag leg"; the left leg that is. I have RRMS and when I had my first relapse, my left side went left. Every thing changed. Especially my walk. I am not able to a lot of things because of MS. I am not able to ride my horses any more because of MS, I am not able to run because of MS, I mean IJUST CAN'T. But, after I accepted it and realized this is the way it is going to be, I don't let it get me down anymore. The reality of it hit me hard at first but now I have accepted it.

    Thank you for sharing your story!