Patient Focused Priorities: Birgit’s perspective
“Communicating clearly saves time and helps everyone to understand where you’re coming from”
Birgit, Living with MS
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is life changing. Nothing new there. Whether it’s about your first diagnosis or new symptoms and episodes occurring, we’re forever facing new challenges. It’s a never-ending cycle. Before you even know it, you can find yourself trapped in the middle of it all, losing yourself in a vortex. For me, it’s always been a challenge not to get lost in the chaos that is MS, and not to be just another patient, but also Birgit. A woman. A person.
Ask me about my priorities now and there’s really just one answer: me. You might think that sounds rather selfish, but it’s true. We have to live with MS and if one thing’s clear, it’s that it’s not always plain sailing. That’s why it’s so important to maintain some sort of very personal balance of your own. Being mindful of yourself and your life. You could say that’s my Patient Focused Priority. We all know that stress and MS aren’t the best of friends, so maintaining that balance is really important. It makes me happy and, for me, that is balance in its purest form. It hasn’t been easy to achieve and keeping hold in times of crisis is always a challenge.
But I’ve learned not to do certain things when I realise I’m not doing so well. Big events are a good example. They’re exhausting, and with MS, simply not always feasible. Everyone’s disappointed when a friend cancels on you, but that’s why it’s so important to explain yourself. Talking is so important, even if it can be a bit awkward at times.
My solution is to get straight to the point. Without any overly-complicated or incomprehensible explanations, clear communication will save time and help everyone understand where you’re coming from. Something that also works very well for doctors and other experts, too. Short and sweet communication helps others tell me everything I need to know.
So it’s worthwhile putting yourself first and living your life consciously and more self-aware. That way, you can set goals for when you’re doing well, whilst creating a life that makes you happy. This will lead to a better quality of life and may, over time, help you expand your horizons and set even bigger goals and achieve them, with MS, and with being yourself.
That has to be worth it, right?
Inspired to Demand More from your life with MS? Create your own Talk to Your Doctor Guide to help communicate your priorities to your neurologist at your next appointment.