Power of Positivity

Since I was a child, my mom has always said to me, "thoughts become things – pick the good ones." Whether I was tackling a problem at school or going on a job interview, she would tell me to visualize what the result would be and say out loud what I wanted to have happen (if even to myself). "They're going to hire me," I would say with conviction and soon enough this type of exercise became routine.
What I learned much later was that having a positive, optimistic attitude was powerful. Far more powerful than I even realized. It may not have been the direct cause behind finding a solution or getting a job but it helped build confidence and gave me the strength to fight for what I wanted and to go after it. It allowed me to believe that what I was striving for was possible and I was capable of making it happen. 
When I was diagnosed with MS in January of 2015, I decided to tackle the disease in the same vein. It would not win; I would take control and determine my destiny by simply telling myself the result. I wouldn't let it ruin the life that I loved or my hopes and dreams for my future. Instead, my attitude would guide my steps forward and I would develop an action plan to fight MS to the best of my ability with my head held high. 
Believing that you'll be okay is half the battle, but I know firsthand that it's not easy to get to that place. I know this because initially, I faked it. Within two weeks of my diagnosis, I pledged that I would tackle MS and not let it win. In fact, I didn't just say it quietly behind closed doors, I said it publicly to everyone I knew – before I even believed it. By putting it out there, I was setting up my own fate just like my mom had told me to do. I was choosing my destiny, and because I made it so public, I knew I would have everyone holding me accountable.  
There's a reason for the phrase, "Mom knows best," because it's true – they do. If it weren’t for my mom and what she taught me about positivity, I don’t know if I would have tackled this head-on. But, because of my attitude and determination, I've had the ability to move forward and face this disease. I've even decided to help other people as a result of it. And you know what? It took me a little while, but eventually my heart caught up with my head and now I do believe that I will continue to be able to live an active and full life without MS bringing me down. 
Words are powerful and I can't stress that enough. Even when you feel weak or defeated, saying you're going to make it through may be the first step towards that happening. And remember, thoughts become things – so pick the good ones.
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Angie Randall

Angie is a new mom to Chloé Renee and Oscar the Shih Tzu, and wife to Bill, her husband of two years. She’s a health and wellness enthusiast, who loves cooking, home decorating, and traveling the world. She was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS in January of 2015. You can also follow her journey at WellandStrongwithMS.com and on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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  • Saadia Mughal   Oct 11, 2016 11:21 AM
    Being Positive is Very Important.
  • Gloria   Oct 11, 2016 1:44 PM
    Angie, your mom must be aquainted with God!
    Your attitude reminds me of a Scripture that kept me going through many of my own life's challenges - 11 Corinthians 4:8.
    Thank you for the reminder :)
  • David Maskalick   Oct 11, 2016 2:38 PM
    YES! A positive attitude is very important to help us deal with the challenges we face as we learn to understand the ramifications of our MS diagnosis.
  • June Taggert   Oct 11, 2016 6:11 PM
    I wish you well - I really do. I have had ms for 20 years. I have tried keeping a positive attitude, along with every pill, shot, therapy, etc. I have little use of my left side, virtually no stability and much more to write. I fell twice today alone. It sounds cruel but a positive attitude doesn't help me get to the toilet in time.
  • Helen Proctor   Oct 11, 2016 7:31 PM
    Nice blog. I reminds me of my first couple of years after being diagnosed in 1992. I was determined, just as you to address MS with positivity and did for the first 10 years. It worked in terms of keeping me on my feet. I was able to pursue thing that I wanted in life. I hope the same for you.
  • elizabeth winzig   Oct 11, 2016 8:30 PM
    Excellent essay that is very thoughtful and engaging. Thank you for your thoughts that many of us have but find difficult to express in writing. Touche!!!!
  • tfs   Oct 12, 2016 9:33 AM
    Angie: thanks for taking the time to write the reminder to be positive. All our feelings need to be acknowledged (including sad and anger and despair) and we also have a great number of things to be grateful for. I think you are in a wonderful part of your life with your beautiful family, and it is wonderful that you are enjoying this special time. Keep going because You Are Worth It!
  • Kim Southworth   Oct 12, 2016 11:29 AM
    Excellent blog post! Very encouraging!
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    STLJoe  Oct 12, 2016 3:39 PM
    Good for you Angie! I wish you all of the best. You are young and strong. You and your doctor should be able to control of your disease very effectively. You would be short changing yourself and your family to feel anything less than alive, vibrant, and positive.

    I have had primary progressive MS for 16 years and I have become severely disabled. I get in and out of bed, on and off the toilet, in and out of the shower with a ceiling track system and someone to help me. I don't have to worry about making it to the bathroom on time because I have a " supra-pubic" catheter that drains into a bag belted around my calf. All of that and even more!

    Yet through all of it, I wake up with a purpose every morning, a smile on my face, and a kiss from my wife. It is what it is. It becomes what I make of it.
  • frieda wenn   Oct 15, 2016 4:41 PM
    Thank you for sharing your story now i have learn to stay positive. I'm also diagnosed with MS in 2014
  • michris1  Oct 16, 2016 5:58 AM
    Thank you for sharing. Much needed. Diagnosed 4/2016
  • Sharon Sell   Oct 19, 2016 2:09 PM
    Thank you so much for your message on 'Positivity'!!! It has really helped. I became a widow 2 yrs. ago. I still have unresolved issues & your message really hit me!! It was telling me that I must get these issues resolved & NIW!! Thank you again!!! Sharon Sell
  • ranbagga  Oct 20, 2016 11:42 AM
    Totally Agree. All in mind. Recently I read one of the article on PatientNextDoor.com and that was very inspiring as well. Mindfulness is all we need!
  • IrishNinja   Oct 25, 2016 8:13 AM
    I can't remember where I heard this, but a long time ago someone talked to me about having my "insides match my outsides." It made sense because even though most days I feel pretty crummy or I may be in pain, I don't allow the world to see that! I usually have a smile on my face because I feel the power of positivity makes me feel better & if I choose to walk around w/ a scowl, for me, I will feel worse! I'm not going to lie! There are days when I don't smile no matter what because I don't want to! But I figure, I already have this crummy disease, so why not thumb my nose at her & smile instead of cry if I can!
  • Sandi Hallmark   Oct 25, 2016 8:34 AM
    I truly believe this and think it is why I've been able to be fairly well throughout my 6 years of actually knowing I have MS. Listen to your body and be positive!
  • Anne   Oct 25, 2016 10:07 AM
    Positive thinking is a good thing, but, I agree with June Taggert, it can only do so much. Each of us is on our own journey with MS and the assumption that positive thinking is all that is needed to get through is naive.
  • jazzsk8r  Oct 25, 2016 11:00 AM
    Thanks for the reminder. The disease has taken a turn for the worst and I'm barely walking with a lot of stiffness and pain. I will think good thoughts😀
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    sheribadzik  Oct 25, 2016 11:26 AM
    Thank you! You speak my "language." My friends call me positive and perky! Your Mom sounds like a saint!
  • Joanne Chapman   Oct 27, 2016 2:07 PM
    I am a mummy with RRMS and was diagnosed just over three years ago and have been living with symptoms for nearly 5 years. I live in York in England.

    I started a blog called poorlyparents which you can find on Facebook and WordPress. I write it from a perspective of being a mummy of a toddler as well as having MS. I related to your post because you're also a mum and your mention about "believing you're okay is half the battle".

    I find connecting with other MSers difficult as I don't know anybody locally but there are people online through forums. Plus I'm assuming you're from America as you said "mom" so it's great that I can connect with you as we are so far away. This website is great! I really related to your post, thanks for sharing.
  • Jeremy Still   Oct 29, 2016 9:24 PM
    Thanks for this! I've been diagnosed with RRMS two years ago and I'm experimenting with diet as a management for symptoms. Been looking for examples of MS success stories. I'll follow your blog.
  • Tom Tyler   Nov 9, 2016 12:19 PM
    After 20 years of MS getting worse and the depression that goes with it, I decided I would do whatever it takes to get better. I did a lot research and a lot of different things and over the next 20 years I slowly recovered all the functions that I had lost to MS. My neurologist, Dr. Doug Stuart of the MS Center in Atlanta, called my recovery amazing.

    When my 16 year old grandson asked me at what point did I start feeling better, I thought, and then answered him "the moment I decided to beat MS."
  • Arisu   Jan 15, 2017 7:39 PM
    I believe in denial. When you deny a rare disease to dominate your life, your life has infinite possibilities. My experience with MS is generational and 3 members of my family received the diagnosis. The oldest family member diagnosed was told to quit work, retire and live life as best as one can with MS. This was before the ABC drugs. The next member participated in the Copaxone trials and when its effectiveness diminished used Gilenya which really improved her MS outlook. But all along denied MS a central role in her life and continued to work and travel internationally. After 17 years trying to find out what the disease was, she was relieved to know what it was that was causing her strange symptoms but even knowing what the disease was did not change her positive outlook on life and desire to live life to its fullest. I also struggled for a long time with strange symptoms but persisted with my theory MS was genetic. I have exceeded my expectations in work, life and parenthood that I never thought I would be fit or capable enough due to MS but I did not want my daughter growing up with the experience of having a mother who couldn't deal with MS. Lead by example. Deny the disease from taking the joy, happiness, competence, pleasure, and love from you. I do not have benign MS and each year functioning is harder but I have learned how to deal with the challenges with creativity. Best of luck with your challenges and perhaps you may one day find as a member of my family said, "MS is the best thing that ever happened to me" because I do stop and smell the roses. She had MS pain and the full spectrum of MS symptoms but she realized she wasn't living to her potential until the diagnosis.