Emotional Changes and MS: Lauren’s Story

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My name is Lauren Hyland. I am 39 years old. For me, it came on very suddenly. I had gotten married, and within six months, one morning, I just woke up, and my vision was completely gone in one eye. For anybody who's just been diagnosed, you're going through a grieving process. In essence, your body has betrayed you. It's attacking itself. Denial, sadness, anger-- I definitely went through self-pity and still go back to self-pity an awful lot-- the why me, you know. I was so healthy. I did everything that I should have done. Living with MS is constantly adapting to a new normal. You'll have one day where you're feeling perfectly fine, another day where you're completely fatigued, another day when maybe your legs aren't working as well, maybe your arm isn't working as well. Cognitive challenges have been difficult. I used to rely heavily on lists-- even more heavily, now. I actually have to write down everything I need to get done. I've learned that I can't multitask. I absolutely need to listen to one person at a time, do one task at a time. Otherwise, I'll realize that an entire conversation has happened, and I've missed it. - Yeah, OK. No running. Look both ways before you cross, buddy. See that car?
A lot of people with multiple sclerosis struggle with depression. I have never fallen into depression, but I have been depressed. And there are times where it takes a few days to get out of that. When I've noticed myself falling into a depressed state, I just find people I can talk to. The thing that has made me able to deal with this is looking for the positive way out of it. - Nice! Ah! - Careful.
There's a feeling of empowerment to being able to control the things that are within my control. This disease takes a lot from a lot of people, so why wouldn't we just attempt to control those things we can? And never take for granted that that could change any day. Exercise has been really important. I go for a walk because I can still walk. I'm able to run. I'm going to continue to do those things, keep myself active, to keep myself appreciating the fact that I have my mobility right now. Spending time with my family is absolutely the thing that I live for. We love playing outdoors. Being a mom is challenging all the time. Being a mom with MS is really tough. I have an incredibly supportive husband, but he can't do everything for me. One of the hardest things has been having to explain to my son, no, I can't play with you right now. I really have to lay down. So when those things click, and I'm able to be out there with him, those are the best. Just being positive is the thing that drives me. It keeps me smiling. It keeps me feeling like each day is worth living. - Mom! [LAUGHING]