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Mind and Body
What this section looks at is the mind and the body as a whole. What one can loose while battling multiple sclerosis (MS) can range from anything within that mind and body. So much of this disease is never seen but it's always making itself known to those with it. The toll that it can take on one person can be enormous and how they respond to it needs to be as targeted as possible.

How does one approach a disease like MS? This is a disease that has on goal and one mission, and that is to attack an individual one piece at a time. This action needs to be taken very seriously, as if it were more than a disease, more than a battle, but rather a war. Now depending on how this war is fought will determine the outcome. Just as in any war, there is winning and loosing, and it's important to understand just where you stand and what you want the outcome to be.

One may find that they begin to forget things, become emotional, and even depressed. MS can bring one's emotions down at times, but that would be another battle won by the opponent and that can't happen. It's so very important to keep one's mind clear and focused that depression can't stay long if it were to visit. Sometimes one may find that keeping a positive attitude can work wonders or possibly the assistance of a therapist or doctor may be needed to get "up and going" again.

It may be that one may be getting a bit up there in age and that could be the reason they can't remember things as quickly as they used to, but then again it could be the damage caused by MS. Cognitive issues are very complex and unfortunately, somewhat common in MS. In the past, some physicians have felt more comfortable denying its existence to their patients. Rather than placing cognitive issues in the same category as fatigue and depression, it now has its own category. Additional, dysfunctions such as language are also discussed.

It's important to stay as healthy as one can while fighting MS. If one looks at their immune system as the soldiers that carry out the battle, then those soldiers need to be kept at their best through proper nutrition, exercise, and a mindful lifestyle. If one's health is as good as it can be, a cold or the flu will probably not last as long as it would like, and not providing MS a "weak" moment to jump in.

MS doesn't care what one's fear of loss might be, it just takes a piece away, bit by bit. MS has no remorse and can't be bargained with. There is no "give and take" with MS, but rather it just wants to take, whatever it can and as frequently as it can. MS is a greedy thing that only wants to complete it's mission and destroy its enemy. The sole job of anyone with MS is to try to keep it at bay and try to regain what they may have lost.
First Thoughts Before a Diagnosis
You at first can't figure out what's wrong with your body. You might be feeling a bit more tired lately and you can't seem to sleep as well. Everything seems just a bit "off" and not exactly "right" these days. Maybe this is how it feels to be in your 30's, 40's, or 50's and nobody told you what to expect. You keep cleaning your glasses and those darn spots just never seem to go away. Your arm keeps falling asleep and tingling all of the time. You have a difficult time going to sleep because it feels like your body is pulsing. Maybe it's just all in your head and there is nothing physically wrong with you, how could it, you are still so young and look so healthy.

Now you might be thinking "I have what? OK, now what? Do I need to change my diet or exercise more? Will I die? Can my family catch it from me? What will become of me? Why me?" You begin to question everything from how to why, and you can't find the answers. This is a moment that can be overwhelming to many, but after taking a deep breath, you should be able to realize that you finally have the answer to what has been wrong with you.

Once you have been informed that you have MS, you think to yourself, how did you get that? It wasn't anything that you did or could have done that placed you in this position. It's nobody's fault and nobody's to blame. It's just the hand that has been dealt for you and you have to deal with it and see it through. It's not anything that you can avoid or pretend that isn't there. From the very beginning when you knew that something was wrong, you have had a choice. That choice is to either deal with it or give up - it's just that simple.
Later Thoughts After a Diagnosis
You need to always keep your doctor informed as to how your body is doing as well as your mind. Your spouse or a family member can be the perfect person to let you know if you are "not all there" or don't have "it" together, and then get you to do something about it. It's important to have someone keep an eye on you, so if you become more "strange" than you might already be, they can let you know. If you can handle all that is thrown at you, then that's great because not many people can. If you can't handle everything, then once again talk to someone, a group, a doctor, anyone. If you can have your mind clear of these obstacles, then you can move ahead with what you and your family needs. What everyone needs is for you to be ready to fight and to keep winning all of the battles that are ahead of you.

For many people, one day they will wake up a realize that this is for real and they had better deal with it right then and there, and feeling sad for themselves isn't going to do anyone any good. Sometimes, it may be best if you simply try to remember: there really is a bright side, it could always be worse, and to keep a smile on your face and say "thank you." Just like with life in general, if you keep a positive attitude and try to be as happy as you can, things just might turn out alright or maybe even a little bit better. You might not win a 10K race or lay on the beach during a hot summer day, but you might find out that there can be so much more in life. Some doors may have closed for you but so many new ones will surely open up, and they may actually be better for everyone.

It's best to always try to keep a good sense of humor and try not to take yourself too seriously. There are too many people out in the world that are so angry at everything and everyone, so try your best not to place yourself in with that group. It's important to be able to laugh at just about anything, no matter how stupid it might be, because there are going to be plenty of times ahead that it will come in very handy. Laughing just a bit might take off some of the load you carry and lighten it up just enough for you to manage. Just like it has always be said, laughter just might be the best medicine.

Now of course, sometimes life can really bring you down and basically stink, but there sure can be some fabulous times waiting for you. Walking fast all of the time might be replaced with slow walks with someone that you care about. Being very active with your kids can be replaced with quiet one-on-one times reading, talking, or discovering new things with them, and in the long run, kids don't care what you do with them, just as long as you spend time with them. This may not be the end of your world but rather the beginning of something better than you could have ever expected.

You don't have to be the person that you were and nobody should expect that of you, but rather be who you are right now. Do your best and you should find that you have much to contribute and hopefully a bit of wisdom may come along with it.
Final Thoughts
Let us emphasize one last time, that it's very important to know that if you feel that life is too much and you can't handle all that is going on, tell your family, or friend, or doctor, or anyone and seek professional help as soon as possible. If you seek professional help, know that there's nothing wrong with that, all that means is that you need to talk to someone and work out some problems. It takes strength to admit that you need help sometimes and then to go and get it, but if you can take that first step, every following step gets easier.

It's important to know that recent findings do indicate that depression may be correlated with fatigue, anxiety, and functional limitations. It's a good idea that all patients need to be aware that certain apparently somatic symptoms, like sleep disturbances, fatigue, or slowing in behavior, may in fact be related to depression.

Now if you ever wonder to yourself, why are you taking the treatments, the pills, injections, or infusions, and is it all worth it? The answer is yes, in most cases it's worth it and there are plenty of good reasons. Unless you're a hermit, family can be the best reason to begin and remain on a treatment, other than for yourself.

If you have a spouse or significant other, that's usually a great reason to keep on track with your treatment and fight this disease. Now children, this could be the best reason to fight since you have such a significant impact in shaping their lives. Family and friends are good reasons as well, but don't ever forget that you have to keep going for yourself first and foremost. Keep yourself strong, mentally and physically, for as long as you can. If you can remain strong, then you can be there for everyone else, if not physically at least mentally. The impact that one person can have on their family and friends just by "being there" for them is an amazing thing.

We are not making light of any mental aspects at any point here, but what we are doing is trying to keep the focus on the problem and if needed, to get the proper treatment. Whether your emotional state is perfectly fine or you can't handle anything anymore, let everyone involved with your care know. If issues arise and medication is called for, that is perfectly understandable and if you are a "pain" in someone's ass, then maybe a "kick" in the ass is all that's needed to set things straight for you.