As someone living with multiple sclerosis (MS), I have dealt with stigma, and other people’s judgments and opinions. What I have found most effective in dealing with this aspect of life with MS is to focus on the things I can control—and not worry about the things that I can’t.
Through the years, I have taught myself that what others think of me is none of my business! I realize that as a person living with MS my energy is limited, both physically and spiritually, so I choose to ignore the judgments and perceptions of other people. Their opinions are just not worth my time and energy.
I understand that it does not always appear like I have MS. I am well aware of the looks and stares that I get when I choose to park in a handicapped parking space. I am fully prepared to explain my condition to anyone that might want to approach and say something negative.
I have found that sometimes the best way to handle negativity is with positivity. I have found that if I remain hopeful and think positive thoughts throughout the day, people tend to respond with the same positive energy.
Through it all, I have chosen to focus on living MY best life, regardless of what others say, do, or think. I choose to focus on my inner strength, and I try hard to remember that I can only control my own actions and my own words. If I am able to educate or share my disease with someone to increase understanding and compassion on their part, then that’s what I do!