Creativity as a means of identity and increasing fulfilment for people living with MS
Written by Jacobo Santamarta
Being diagnosed with MS sure is something difficult to live with, but it’s necessary to find ways of dealing with the disease and its symptoms. What creativity and art offers those with MS is a different method of coping with the psychological and the physical symptoms of MS.
How do you feel an MS diagnosis affects a person’s sense of identity?
When you’re diagnosed with MS, it’s natural to think about the things you feel you won’t be able to keep doing. But this may not be the case for everyone. MS has not stopped me from doing all of the things I enjoy. There are certain symptoms that may keep you from doing things you once enjoyed but facing physical symptoms can fight against the cognitive ones, too; symptoms that are not so visible.
How do you feel creativity helps those with a diagnosis face MS?
Through art, a person can express their own feelings, this can also be done through exercise. For some people, doing specific exercises for the brain and learning new languages may be the right thing to do. Even learning the language of music, because getting close to a mix of artistic disciplines may be both healthy, and mind opening.
Creativity can take many forms, what have you found helpful?
In my experience, expressing emotions through literature, and sharing my experiences with others through the form of poems and stories has been beneficial.
If a person wants to learn how to play an instrument or continues to play an instrument they are familiar with, I think this helps form some kind of a routine. Plus, the language used in music is still a language afterall! Drawing or painting may also prove both beneficial, as it allows you to reflect whatever you see and feel.
What other forms of creativity and art are worth considering if you live with MS?
Consider dancing for example, another form of creativity that could help work through worries or emotions you’re struggling with externally. So can acting which is a very good way of leaving your troubles and insecurities behind; and makes you feel part of something bigger. It’s also something where others rely on you, this can in turn make you feel a sense of importance and value to others.
What impact has creativity had on your MS?
Personally, I have tried some of the artistic disciplines I mentioned earlier and know which of them I can and cannot do. I’m not so good at dancing, singing or playing certain instruments. But poetry and writing have proven to be very helpful for me; and have allowed me to continue living well with my MS.