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How to Avoid Imploding When You Have MS

The difference between the words “explosion” and “implosion” are grammatically obvious even if one hasn’t taken high school physics. An explosion goes out. An implosion goes in.

A MythBusters video on YouTube shows one way an implosion can occur, and it seems a fitting allegory for all of us with MS to consider.

In that video the host tries to prove how and why a thick, heavy railroad tanker car imploded without warning. The cause in this case was a high-pressure steam cleaning of the inside of the tanker, which was then sealed, and as the inside air cooled, it created an extreme pressure difference (not quite a vacuum, but close), causing the normal air pressure of our world to crush the strong vehicle.

How MS Can Lead to a Personal Implosion

Particularly for those newly diagnosed with MS or another chronic disease, or freshly having to reduce their work life, we can see our internal forces wane.

The things that brought us joy and money and a sense of purpose and self can slowly shrink, like the cooling air in our tanker car. Even without the increased external pressures of financial difficulties and social judgment that can accompany the former circumstances, our decreased influence on the world around us can bring the crushing forces of the world to bear.

I’ve often said, “We do what we do until we can’t, and then we find something else — it’s the finding ‘something else’ that’s the thing.”

In the case of balancing internal and external pressures, it’s all about making sure we replace one source of fulfillment and self with something nearly equal as quickly as possible.

From personal experience, I can say that several compartments of my life went through crushing implosions after my diagnosis. When I was forced to stop working in a job that I not only loved, but also from which I artificially identified my sense of self, my self-worth and identity were smashed like an egg.

As I panicked about finances and others’ perceptions of me post-diagnosis, personal relationships withered as I tended to (self-inflicted) crises caused by poor reactions to my new condition.

The important thing to remember here is that the strength of forces around my life hadn’t changed. Rather my internal resistance to those pressures had dwindled.

How We Can Rebuild Our Internal Forces

It’s so important to feed our passions, find new endeavors to fill our time and stroke our egos when MS takes away those we have created and upon which we may have blindly relied.

I think it is also imperative that we remember not to add to any of those external pressures. The everyday stuff can be crushing (literally and figuratively). There is no reason to pile on when the world around us is already heavy enough.

Just like maintaining proper air pressure in our tires is an important factor in keeping us safe on the road, making sure that we keep our mental and emotional selves pumped up to balance the external forces of our lives is a factor many of us may have never thought about or have forgotten along the way.

Be kind to yourself, and make sure you’re feeding your inner self with love and compassion, not negative thoughts and beliefs.

Wishing you and your family the best of health.

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