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Monday, October 7, 2019

MS & Socializing: A Few Things to Remember

#MS&Socializing

By Devin Garlit · September 17, 2019

While a disease like multiple sclerosis has a different effect on everyone it afflicts, universally it has an impact on your ability to socialize. Perhaps you are disabled and can’t drive, so you are unable to leave the house much. Maybe you are still doing fairly well, but fatigue still ends your day early. Maybe you can even hold down a job and survive but you aren’t well enough to actually thrive. When it comes to MS, there are many scenarios that can inhibit our ability to socialize with others. Like many things I write about, I struggle in this area as well, however, I do have some tips to help improve your chances of experiencing that crucial time with other human beings.

MS & Socializing: A Few Things to Remember

Remember it’s important
You’ve probably heard the phrase “humans are social creatures” a number of times in your life.  There’s a lot of truth to it, humans have evolved to be around other humans. Even the most introverted among us require time with other people. The psychological effects of not allowing humans to interact with others can be severe (you can simply Google “solitary confinement” and see how it is often viewed as cruel and unusual punishment). I could go into depth about why you need to see and interact with other human beings, but if I did, this article would be way too long. Besides, I’m pretty sure most people will agree on its importance. No matter how introverted you are, you have to remember that it’s beneficial to be amongst other people. No matter how different you feel they may be from them. People with chronic illness have a tendency to isolate themselves, and you have to consciously fight against that. It’s important to think back to the times you have been around people that it felt good, focus on those moments to help get yourself over the hump.

Plan!

I’ve written before how I tend to thrive more when I follow a routine and go to familiar places. Getting out is difficult for me, so I often set aside a standard day every week to get out. I have a set plan to go to a local bar and play trivia with a group of friends. I know I’m doing it every week, so my body is prepared for it.  It’s also at the same place each time, so I’m familiar with it, I know how the temperatures run, I know where the bathrooms are, etc. Familiarity makes getting out with a chronic illness much easier.  Even if you aren’t going to a set event every week, simply going to a place you know well can be of huge comfort, whether you realize it or not. If someone suggests meeting at one place, and you are uneasy, suggest somewhere you know a bit better. To go along with the planning theme, budget the appropriate rest time before and after activities. Knowing you have that time set aside can be very helpful.

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