Adaptability ~ the ability to change and adapt to new circumstances.
This is a trait that I find very unnatural as a human, yet very important as someone living with MS. I find that in order to keep moving forward and staying positive, two very important factors to staying happy, I need to adapt as new symptoms come and go. Being able to do this, and do it well without too much anxiety, is a key component to accepting and living with MS. This is not a trait only helpful with MS, but a trait worth developing for life in general, as there will always be changes.
One of the things I have had to adapt to in order to keep my life a pleasant experience for those around me and myself is learning to ask for help. I have always been such a physically capable person, that it is not at all natural for me to ask for help. For most of my life, I have been a leader in physical activities. I am one of those people that can do just about anything I decide to do, and yet now I find I have some limitations to what I can do.
I have gone from the captain of my HS and college cheerleading team, to someone who needs help walking across a room sometimes. The key to making this work for me, this need of help, is to be able to ask for the help without embarrassment. If I don’t ask for help when I need it, I find that I become so tired at the end of the day I cannot remain a pleasant person to be around, and this is unfair to my friends and family. If I just ask for help when I need it, then I can do more. This is adaptability.
I have had to adapt my workout schedule multiple times through out the course of my disease. I used to workout whenever and however I wanted, mostly running. I could pick a marathon or half-marathon and sign up for it, train for it, and run it. Now I have to take time off if I’m having a relapse, and I can only work out in the morning, as that is the only time I have energy. Although I have never liked mornings before, I found that I could really embrace that time and make it a perfect and wonderful start to my day. This is adaptability.
And it is not just the big things that I have had to adapt, I have had to adapt to not being uncomfortable asking my husband to cut up my meat for me at a restaurant and I have to ask for help from various people putting a lid on a coffee cup, or any number of menial tasks we don’t think about and take for granted.
Adaptability can make all the difference between loving and hating your life. If you don’t learn to adapt, the changes will still happen, you will just not be a happy person anymore. If I gave up on working out, or walking across a room when I can’t walk straight, or drinking coffee because I can’t get the lid to go on, I would not be happy, nor would I be doing myself any favors in the health department. I have to adapt to remain as healthy as possible, both mentally and physically. I have to, so I do, and you can too!