If you read my MS story, you know about the dark place where I was drowning as I fought my demons. This memory is terrifying; I was only a sneeze away from never eating another piece of carrot cake again. Many people deal with depression, feelings of loss, isolation, and despair that fiercely haunt them daily. I have made a concerted effort to ensure I will never return to that land of darkness filled with the vile whispering monsters. Here is what has helped me stand tall against the constant vitriol.
I have a strong support system that is larger than usual due to technology. I no longer am limited to those who come to my house and individuals who do not understand my multiple sclerosis. My circle of friends is now worldwide as computers and the internet has shrunk our globe massively. I have friends who are literally and even figuratively right next door even though they may be in a different state or country. This pandemic in which we are immersed has literally limited life, but these internet MS friends are available around the clock.
Exercise is essential for MS life, and before this virus forced us into lock-down, I was a regular swimmer. I used a local community rec center pool and swam for two to three hours, three times a week. Every time I got out of the pool, the water level dropped by a gallon as I think my skin soaked it up. I felt good after my workouts and could feel my endurance getting better, and when I had to miss my swims, recovery took longer. I now exercise at home using seated Tai Chi videos, fitness bands, or whatever I can do to keep my body moving. While I do these forms of fitness, I eagerly wait for the world to return to normalcy and reopen the pool.
Multiple sclerosis is known for negatively impacting your brain, causing a mental slow down. As MSers like to call, cog fog can come and go or affect us long term and challenge us daily. To combat this issue, I read books and play games to stimulate mental growth and counteract MS mental degradation. My research shows beneficial games can be more complicated, like chess or less complicated like Tetris, and still be helpful. Since I write a blog, I play mostly word games, although now and then, I play Tetris to help lubricate my brain muscles.
The advent of delivery apps has helped expand my existence in this confinement caused by quarantine. I always had to eat very little because I had very little, causing me to become very little in size. Even if I had the money, the delivery options from restaurants and grocery stores were nearly nonexistent, making me fall deeper into the void of life. I now can have groceries delivered from various stores at my convenience, helping me keep my independence. These apps also make my mealtime less limiting by offering a wide selection of restaurants from around town, making me feel normal.
Before COVID-19 threw us into this seclusion dilution, I was active in my church attending weekly services. I joined a small group bible study at the church to enlarge my social circle and expand my friends list. My friend Shakira comes over every two weeks to help me with cleaning, and afterward, we have lunch and watch a movie. This experience gives me more social interaction to shield me more from those venomous voices of long ago. When I hear those whispering words now, I can easily laugh at them and say not this time I am too strong.
Life has significantly changed for me in many ways compared to that darkness of my past. Structure and routine, along with all of the tricks and tasks listed above, helps keep me sane in an insane world. All of the technology that is now available makes the darkness harder to find as it quite literally and even figuratively lights every corner.
My story is not over yet.