MS and lost confidence

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MS and lost confidence

Postby reece » Mon Jan 19, 2009 12:42 pm

Hello all, I am new to this site. As someone who was at one time fairly athletic and intellectual, I struggle with the fact that I am unable to do many of the things that I once loved to do. My wife tells me that I seem to have lost much of my confidence and while it hurts to hear this, I am sure it is very true. Here is my question to other MS'ers - is this typical for most of us and is there anything we can do about it?
It just seems to me that when you lose the ablility to do something that was once so much a part of your life, it's only natural that your confidence would dissappear. I want to be a confident person even with this bs disease.

Thanks for any feedback!
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Postby harveythewonderhorse » Mon Jan 19, 2009 12:56 pm

yes, there may be some things you can no longer do, but there are plenty you can, try and focus on what you can do. (Easier said than done)
horse of a horse!
Diagnosed 2001, r/r.
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Postby Loobie » Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:28 pm

That's one of the biggies. How do you redefine yourself and "strongly" still do what you can? I always felt like I was coming from a position of strength. It simply takes a whole bunch of time to even start to get used to it. Hell, for two years (no kidding), I didn't recognize myself in the mirror. I mean not literally, but your self perception takes a major hit. And since I was always very comfortable in my own skin, it was/is really hard to deal with for me. I don't have it all figured out yet (and probably never will), but it seems like some confidence comes back as you slowly start to redefine yourself. All this psychobabble bullshit like "redefining yourself" and "your sense of self" really pisses me off since I like things I can touch and feel and grab a hold of, but I must admit I had no idea. It's not all bullshit, and you realize this as you're trying to figure out what to do with yourself.

I always absolutely loved my Sunday morning routine. I was out of bed before anyone in the family. I would do the morning ritual and then head out on a long bike ride, a racquetball match, a long run, anything physical. And then I'd be showered and ready to go before anyone else barely got rolling. Now I dread showers due to the dizziness that results, I can barely work out at all, let alone a "long" workout. So I ended up with so much time on my hands since I was always so incredibly busy. Hell, after the workout in the morning, I'd work outside all damn day most of the time.

So filling up all that formerly productive time is very challenging. How can you make a whole day productive when you can't do dick? That's what I continue to struggle with but am getting better. I had very good self esteem because I felt like I was uber productive, and when I wasn't doing that, I was doing something for my health. So now I can read, watch TV, talk with people, play games, yada yada. Nothing hurtful, but nothing like I'm used to and nowhere near as productive. I struggle doing all the laundry sometimes due to having to go downstairs and carry baskets up.

I think anyone who has to change their routine, their likes, basically all the things that becoming a successful adult entail, will do a number on anyone's self esteem and self image. So now I have to pull all my image boosting 'stuff' from places I've never been. I don't know how successful I'll be, and I definitely don't feel like I'll ever get back to being as content as I was, but I just know that recognizing it and, at the minimum, trying to get some self esteem back is in every way preferrable to the alternative. You've asked a very important question that can sort of be summed up by "so now what?". I mean we still have to strive for happiness. I just don't know what it looks like anymore, but, at least for now, I won't stop trying.

I hope that helped. I know I didn't give you any "you need to do this and this" because I don't know what those things are, but Harvey is also right; change your focus to what you CAN do, not what you can't.
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Postby RedSonja » Tue Jan 20, 2009 5:03 am

Well, yes, sort of downsize. They also serve who only stand and wait, as it were.

For example: I can't ski any more but I can do Nordic Walking, as long as hubby understands we will be having a rest after 45 minutes. Karate is also out, shame, but I did a starter course for Tai Chi and will take it up properly when the sports centre changes its times.

I used to be brilliant at playing the clarinet. Well, I am still pretty good, but only when my left hand feels like playing. So I got myself a saxophone (sorry, sax players, but it really is so much easier) and beep away in the cellar and sometimes in the big band. In fact I like it so much I got a bari sax to keep it company. Also I took up singing, don't need left hand for that!

I simplified the garden a bit, no more annuals. It still looks fine. In summer I potter for an hour or so on a Saturday, that's enough. If I don't get finished I continue next Saturday, you have to be relaxed about this.

When I help out at fund-raising dos - we do a lot of that - I volunteer for standing around with a clipboard. So I don't rush off getting stuff, I look on the list where it is and send someone to get it. I trained the butcher and baker to deliver directly to the stands. Actually this is much more effective than it was before!

And so on. It's not just MS, one does get older, you know. Take time to watch the birds bathing in the pond. Sit down and listen to your kids. Read those books you always intended to. You now have time instead of energy, invest it.
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Postby msmything » Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:29 pm

I don't know if I could ever do 'dick' ..but I'm sure I can't these days LOL
Oddly, I sometimes have days that the one thing I know I'm really good at is having MS.
I still get up with a smile albeit unsteadily, I do what I can and then some.
It's amazing how quickly your body adapts and compensates for your increasing deficits, that's kind of interesting to see. And it also renews my hope in a sense.
Just maybe I've got enough functional brain cells to take over where needed. No one can accuse me of being graceful or coordinated, but I don't fall as much, and practically stopped cutting my fingers off while preparing dinner.
Believe it or not I recognize these small things as success, I wonder what else I CAN do.[/i]
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Postby catfreak » Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:29 pm

After having gone through many highs and lows, especially when my job requires so much use of my mind and there are days when I can't even remember how to turn a computer on. I have learned a lot of my limitations - I can't tolerate heat at all, my head hurts alot, the aches and pains just drive me crazy. So I just have to watch what i do each day and pace myself.

I also consider myself an intelligent, hard working person. I have always found jobs that challenged my knowledge and really made me think and used my brain. There are days when I think I am just to stupid to keep working and I get really down and lose my self confidence. But something always happens to let me know I am still in the game.

You just can't let MS get the best of you everyday. Some days it will but most days it won't. Hang in there!

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Postby reece » Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:25 am

Thank you all for your great advise. As discouraging as this disease is, it is great to hear how others are fighting through the bad times and doing the best they can to continue to keep their heads up. I think the hardest part for me, is that MS is a tough disease to have in a world that is very external-based and judgemental. It's unfortunate that our culture and society instills this in us from day one. The only good thing that has come from MS is that I think I am now much more compassionate, and less judgemental and critical towards others.

May God bless us all with a cure someday!
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Postby notasperfectasyou » Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:34 pm

First - Welcome to TIMS!
Second - Read stuff here. You have happened upon one of the few sites that actually includes a lot of folks finding ways to help themselves feel better. Meaning, many of us are fighters and are finding ways to meet this thing head on. Flip around TIMS and the various boards and you'll find a lot of effort in this regard.
Third - Share. Post stuff here. Don't be afraid to ask, suggest or rearrange to new thoughts. This is a vibrant neighborhood of non-quitters.
It would be really nice to be able to put links in here

If I have included a bad link, google the word "Scholar", click link for "Google Scholar". Search for the name of the paper and author in Google Scholar.
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