Hi fellow PLMers! My name is Sean McNeil, a 38 year old male from Sydney, Nova Scotia who was diagnosed with MS in 2005. That was the second worst day of my life, with my first relapse being the first.
I had been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety disorder in 1998 but now wonder if that was a precursor to MS.
I graduated from Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering in May 1995. I worked as a pulp and paper Process Engineer for 8 years. I worked in Northern Ontario where I met and married my wife.
We separated and eventually divorced in 2004. I wasn't diagnosed until a year-and-a-half later with MS.
I went back to school in Nova Scotia in 2004 to pursue my diploma in Instrumentation. Two years later I successfully got my Red Seal in Industrial Instrumentation. I work out in Ft McMurray, Alberta on a contractual basis as a Journeyman Instrument Technician.
My diagnosis of MS in 2005 came at a very fragile time in my life emotionally. A separation and divorce, then getting this news made life very hard. But, I always have been a positive person.
I have learned to be a fighter as I used to be with my fists as a teenager. My battle is now an emotional one, especially with the accompanying mood swings from MS.
I believe that I can still be all that I want to be but the anxiety has been quite disabling and at times has crushed my spirit. It has made me alot less confident in every aspect of my life, from work to relationships to friendships. I have developed some phobias that are social in nature but have slowly been coping with them.
I refuse to ever allow the anxiety to beat me down or ever become agorophobic. Besides, people like me and I am awesome at eating crackers as fast as I can without taking a drink of water. Try it for fun with a coworker or a friend. It is a hard skill to master! I'd say more goofy things but I don't want to get kicked off this site!
The anxiety is part mental, part physically induced by MS lesions on my brain, in my non-medical opinion. Waking up to a certain emotion before my cognitive process has time to influence my mood is a sure sign that MS lesions contribute to emotion, regardless of mindset.
I have had my share of low energy days and an overwhelming mental and physical fatigue unlike anything I have ever experienced before. It tends to happen when I get less than 8 hours of sleep. I take Modafinil to help with the fatigue issue as I am still in the workforce and I plan on doing so as long as my body holds up. I have dreams and goals that require my making a living, like anyone else. I hope to achieve those goals despite the setbacks of having MS.
I have been fortunate that I have not had alot of tingling in my extremities. I was always a fit guy with running and weightlifting so keeping in shape has helped me quite a bit. The tingles have occurred but have not been severe or disabling.
Oddly enough, the anxiety and cognitive issues are the most disabling part of my illness currently. The optic neuritis comes and goes, so I can handle that physical problem and adjust much better than I can to the ever-present fatigue, brain fog, and anxiousness.
I have practiced Cognitive Behavioral Thinking and not dwelling on Automatic Negative Thoughts, or ANTS, as I knickname them in order to combat the anxiety. I have had my bouts with Depression, but have worked through them with both medicine and CBT.
I also struggle with self esteem issues as I question my worth as a human being and a productive member of society (in the workforce). I have fears of how long I will be able to work before the disease becomes too disabling, but I never lose that sense of going forward, nor do I lose my ability to find humor in all aspects of my life. Besides, I love lighting my farts on fire, and it really helps me get through the day.
Life is what you make of it, regardless of what hurdles stand in your way. I love life too much to be a quitter. I want to help everybody on this site as they deal with this brutal disease and support anybody in any way that I can. A wise man said, "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get". lol - Forrest Gump
I want to know that I am not alone. I do realize that but when surrounded by healthy people every day at work, I do feel alone. Thank God for my loving parents, girlfriend, brother, and sister for being my rock.
I am soooo glad that I found this site. I see its potential in the strength that I will gain by reaching out to others and being there for them. Talking about our struggles and finding the courage through each other, but also maintaining a positive, humorous outlook is the only way to deal with this thing, I believe. We should all make an effort to watch the Simpsons about once a week to realize that life is funny and worth laughing at.
I should have been a preacher or maybe a motivational speaker? Well, the anxiety would make the speeches interesting. Maybe putting down my zipper before I give the speech might be interesting. At least I won't get nervous.
I hope to make some contacts on this site in order to help out others and also help myself as we journey through this life with a heavy cross to bear. Many hands will make that load much lighter.