Choosing the Colors on My Life Canvas

  • by Judy R.
  •   October 17, 2016

Judy R. is a paid Advocate for Teva Neuroscience, Inc. 

Each day, I get to see the world through my artist's eyes. It can be pretty crazy in my studio, with paint on my hands and in my hair with hopefully a fair amount of pigment on the canvas.

Then came that day when relapsing multiple sclerosis (RMS) appeared, uninvited (nor planned for) on my life canvas. It was a very scary time.

All I could see, feel or think about was the dark areas and negative spaces with absolutely no light in sight. “Muddy” was the painterly term that came to mind. When a painting is overworked and over thought out, the paints run together; their original colors are lost. 

At this point, my mind was permanently set on "fast forward". Everything negative and sad about anyone with MS was a constant moving picture in my mind. Hearing "you know there is no cure" was interpreted in my mind as "you know there is no hope." 

I was standing too close to my life canvas. I had lost all perspective and was miserable. When I am painting and need a fresh look, I step back to get a new perspective. I step back to see the big picture.

Hmmmm. "Art imitates life" came to mind. I was spending all of my energy focusing on each activity that I loved and thought I would have to give up due to having MS. I was extremely busy robbing myself of any joy in my life.

So I took a deep breath, prayed and stepped back from my dark life canvas. That is when I saw the beauty in my support group; my husband, my kids and my friends, were all there for me. I focused on the lights of my life canvas and not just on the dark areas. I gradually added more lights made up of things I could and would do right next to the darks. Each new highlight brought my life into perspective. 

Sure, there are more than enough dark shadows or challenges on my MS journey. I remind myself daily—or hourly, on some days—that without the darks, there would be no lights. 

And I realized that I get to choose the colors on my “life” canvas. I choose to wear more color! I choose not to stand so close that I get lost and lose focus. I choose to stand or sit just far enough away that I can see the big picture, and it works!

Judy R.
RRMS Patient

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