The Emotional Struggles of Dealing with RRMS
- by Shauna F.
- June 04, 2018
Shauna F. is a paid Advocate for Teva Neuroscience, Inc.
The emotional struggles associated with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) can be difficult. I was diagnosed with RRMS at 32 years old. At the time, I had a three-year-old, a one-year-old and a newborn baby. I considered myself to be young, healthy and in the prime of my life, but after experiencing optic neuritis, my diagnosis was confirmed. I was not only scared for my future, but also for the future of my children. My emotions ran wild for the first few years that followed my diagnosis. I remember looking in the mirror some days and wondering who was looking back at me. I felt lost, hopeless and afraid.
I thought, how could this be? One moment I'm a healthy young mother of three and the next I have a chronic illness. The advice my doctor gave me was to hope for the best, but plan for the worst. I remember going home and feeling sorry that my children had a mother with a lifelong disease.
I also experienced emotional distress associated with my RRMS, as the impact of the disease was not “visible” to my friends and family. I worried my husband would see me as unattractive and undesirable. He had no idea I was feeling this way—no one did—because I internalized my emotions, which I now understand was not healthy. I decided to reach out to my doctor to discuss how I was feeling, because I realized I needed more support. My doctor assured me that the way I felt was not uncommon for people living with RRMS.
For me, seeking help and learning ways to manage my emotions really helped. I joined support groups where I shared my RRMS story with others and realized my lack of knowledge about the disease played a huge role in my emotional uncertainty. The more I conversed with others living with RRMS and read resources, the better I started to feel.
Ten years after my RRMS diagnosis, I’ve realized life goes on, although a bit differently; it can still be great and fulfilling despite living with a chronic illness. As I continue on my “soul-searching” journey, which includes support from my family and friends, I feel hopeful for the future and what lies ahead.
Sign up to get updates with blog posts like this sent directly to your inbox.
Jennifer | June 22, 2018I have been living with RRMS for over 20 years. Sorry to disappoint my fellow MSrs it does but NOT get any easier with time, but the positive side is that you find an entirely bold different self. I'm a mother of two grown sons but it was a very interesting road I was on. Doing this journey alone I do not prescribe (I was a CNA) That is Certified Medical Assistant. I worked in doctors' offices,etc
Gene | July 19, 2018Hey Susie, Me too.