You can feel inspired, purposeful and positive. Whatever your situation or circumstances we can choose to still ‘Live Our Best Life’ and make the most of the cards we have been dealt to find a positive future and live the life you choose the way you choose.
After suffering with the illness for 25 years, I believe Multiple Sclerosis is often misunderstood, and I am on a mission to shrug off these misconceptions and encourage others in my position to live their best life.
Driven by my own life experiences with MS, I have recently launched ‘The MS Show’, a podcast uncovering the truths of the mental and physical baggage that comes along with having a debilitating illness and I am using this platform to inspire others like me to make the most of the cards we have been dealt.
With over 130,000 people in the UK being affected by MS, and 130 people every week being diagnosed with MS, my goal is to help at least 20,000 of those suffering with the chronic illness find their positive future. Underpinning the goals I have set myself, is the belief that those suffering with Multiple Sclerosis needn’t hide and cut out aspects of their life, they can simply adapt to reach their full potential. The MS Show is designed to inspire a community of people with MS, sharing their thoughts, ideas and musings on how to live life to the fullest with a chronic illness.
At the time when I was diagnosed with MS, aged 26, I felt I was just at the beginning of this life I’d planned out for myself. The diagnosis cast feelings of self-doubt and for years I felt as if I had failed at the initial plan I had in mind.
I had settled into a career in financial services, graduated with a Masters Degree, I’d met my husband and this was everything I knew life to be. However, it took the birth of my first child in 2007 to stop ignoring the relapses that I had been consistently experiencing since my diagnosis in 1996. Coupled with postnatal fatigue, it was time for me to accept that the disease was forcing me into taking a break. I remember that this was one of my lowest points with MS, being unable to balance, safely walk and climb stairs but most devastatingly unable to carry my baby.
It was at this point that I needed to re-evaluate my plan.
Self-employment completely changed my outlook on life with MS
I took the step to retrain in something that would fit in my life with MS and self-employment completely changed my outlook on life with MS. Alongside the support network of my family, I built Multiple Success https://multiplesuccess.co.uk/ in collaboration with my group, Multiple Sclerosis Help UK – this has grown and grown to not only be a support network for sufferers of MS but anyone who is feeling stuck in life for whatever reason, be it; illness, family life, disability, feeling unfulfilled…
I realised that a boost from a support network would have been all I needed at my lowest point and now understand I have the power to help others who are struggling at their lowest point.
A common struggle with MS is the positivity of feeling in charge of your future. Due to the nature of the illness, there are many cycles of grief as dreams are lost, adjustments are made before another MS issue presents itself. Resilience is fundamental in this lifestyle.
Helping other people to rise from their challenges is now my QUEST
As the Founder of Multiple Success, I’m resilient, yet understanding because I’ve lived with chronic illness for over 20 years whilst pursuing a successful career, bringing up my children and overcoming the physical and emotional challenges of also overcoming cancer.
Helping other people to rise from their challenges is now my QUEST.
Obstacles to overcome are part and parcel of life with MS, however barriers and obstacles should not stop anyone from running the race. We just need to learn how to get around them.
The MS Show builds on the Multiple Sclerosis UK Help (Multiple Success Community) network as an opportunity for sufferers to share their individual stories, from failures to successes encompassing every high and low along the way. Giving hope to those who are almost finding their balance, those just starting their journey and others who may be in an abyss. In the first couple of episodes; Trishna Bharadia and Caryn Franklin MBE talked to me about their experiences with MS.
3 Top Tips to Life Your Best Life:
- Accept the ebbs and flows – for me, it was when I began accepting the uncertainty of MS that I have been able to build up resilience to when things may not go to plan. There is always another plan and we are all running our own race.
- ‘I Can’t’ – Stop with the limiting self-belief – as soon I received my diagnosis/bad news, I was searching for everything that I couldn’t do “I CAN’T do that” – switch your thinking to focus on everything you CAN do and make the most of this, you will soon find that life is not as restricted as it may initially seem.
- Build your support network – find local groups, online networks, social media communities…. You will find you are not alone and this reduces any feelings of isolation.