People with multiple sclerosis may find that the physical, psychological and spiritual challenges of living with the disease can be overwhelming. However, many people living with chronic diseases, including MS, have learned that practicing behaviors that promote resilience is the secret to not just coping with the disease, but thriving with it. Resilience helps create a mindset of growth and opportunities, of seeing obstacles as challenges rather than threats.
“Staying positive is a decision, and that takes perseverance when facing challenges.”
The Society recognized the importance resilience plays on living one’s best life with MS and as a result, developed a program with donor and partner support to address this critical need. The components of this multi-faceted program Resilience: Addressing the Challenges of MS include the following resources which are available through the Society, including print materials, online publications and resources, and in-person programming.
The program brings together experts in the field as well as the personal stories of people with MS—stories of people like Dawnia Baynes who hosted a dinner party celebrating the 10th anniversary of her MS diagnosis.
Baynes and her friends didn’t focus on her MS-related vertigo or the constant numbness and tingling in her feet and hands. Nor did they dwell on the balance issues that require her to use a cane or walker, or the numbness she experiences from her chest to her ankles. Instead, they spent the evening commemorating the resilience she’s developed in the decade since her diagnosis.
“I actually believe I’ve gotten stronger,” Baynes says. “My diagnosis made me realize I can’t just sit back and let life happen to me; I need to make the effort to do things to help myself.”
It's stories like these, told through the Resilience program and as a reaction to it, that continue to reach more and more people with MS every day and help them build their own resilience.
“I really needed this today. I was feeling sorry for myself. This story has inspired me to be grateful for things I CAN do instead of crying about things I can’t.”
Some people may be more naturally resilient than others, but resilience is a skill that can be learned—and one can maximize results by following proven procedures. That’s where the program’s practical strategies for developing greater resilience come in.
“Resilience is not the absence of ever feeling sad or lost or angry,” says Dawn Ehde, PhD, a professor of rehabilitation medicine at the University of Washington. Instead, it’s the ability to not dwell on those feelings and to find a way to move forward.
“To see you happy and living life against incredible challenges give me hope where very little else has.”
Finding resilience in the face of adversity can be a life-changing breakthrough for people affected by MS. Your support of the Society continues to advance comprehensive solutions, including our Resilience program, that help people achieve the personal breakthroughs they need to live their best lives with MS.
“The way you enjoy your life considering your obvious difficulties, and enjoy life so much, is a fantastic example. I fight and laugh with you, Michael!”