As time has moved on and I’ve learned about multiple sclerosis there are a few ‘truths’ that I have recognised in my experience and in the experiences of others.
When I was diagnosed with MS, I had a more profound sense of uncertainty about the future. This comes with the changes to our lives. Some of us may have to leave full-time employment, deal with changes to our abilities without the support we need, learn the hard way about how fickle lovers can be and manage life differently. Whatever happens, we are confronted with things we never expected.
I knew nothing about Multiple Sclerosis, so it never even crossed my mind. I never thought or imagined being diagnosed with MS even with the weird symptoms, because it wasn’t part of my everyday experience and vocabulary.
Since then, flexibility is my friend! I’ve had to adapt expectations, fundamentally overhaul my ‘being’ and become something else. Emerge from my cocoon if you will. It hasn’t meant losing out on life. However, it does call on me to reassess my plans, adjust to a new way of being and strategically deal with my life ahead. This is not managed in isolation; it is important that partners, friends and family are all part of the strategy for living this life. We have choices in life, BUT it is up to us to make the choice.
This time last year, 2012, I looked at my life and I was ready to give up. I was ready to take those pills, to leave this sodden planet and die . But then I thought “I will never get to see what I might be. I know there is something; there is a purpose to my life, Hold on”. I reached out to someone I trusted and was put in contact with an excellent counsellor. Anne reminded me that I had all I needed in my ‘Toolbox’ of life-skills, education and experience. We talked, I cried, raged, misunderstood and finally I’m here.
But it is so hard to see when you’re in that darkness. Everything was poisoned, even my vision. I saw ugly, devastation, a worthless shell, a liar behind a mask, who was soon to be found out. I lived day-to-day but what other way was there? I couldn’t see a future, something for me to look forward to.
It took discipline and dedication to lift myself away from the dark depression that had engulfed my life. I read and read, meditated, did yoga, ate well and slowly things changed. I have a purpose and though my spirit seemed to have drifted away, slowly, it has come back.
Over the years following diagnosis and living with MS, I have had to dream new dreams, change my perspectives and develop a vision about what I can accomplish. Through dealing with relapses I am learning to maintain that vision regardless of what happens. The challenge does not lie in avoiding the difficult times in life but in overcoming them.