The early days are the most ‘challenging’ as in it is like a dirty dangerous whirlwind where emotions, words and all sense of self goes whizzing around. The day I walked into Mullingar Accident and Emergency room, I was wearing my jeans and a t-shirt that had seen better days. Two weeks later, not only was that t-shirt gone, the Emma who walked into A&E had disappeared, stepped into a bizarre place of chronic illness and dis-ease.
Multiple sclerosis- multiple scars? I had brain damage? Those fifteen seconds, when those words went from the consultant’s mouth to my ears, a little part of me died… I picked up the pieces of my broken heart but I still think of old Emma sitting on the edge of the hospital bed and the new Emma, getting up and stumbling, in a post-traumatic shock way, into a new life, a new way of being.
My identity, the idea of myself turned upside down and inside out. I was given some vague information about the MS Society as well as some local groups but every day that week with the pieces of my heart rattling round my pocket, I drove myself to hospital, got my meds and drove myself to work. There’s no doubt, it has been raw, it has been ugly with cursing and swearing, lost relationships dodgy decisions. But I everyday I make peace with myself, I give thanks that I have another moment to live. Because there were times when I didn’t see any hope. I was soaked in blood, sweat and the tears of a thousand years.
I didn’t realise it but that was a magical time when the days came and went, health dripped into me in the form of Solu-Medrone and care from the nursing staff. It was also the worst time of my life when I fu*ked, cursed and got angry as hell and contemplated ending it all.
Now, eight years on I’m still here. I was transmogrified not to someone new, but to my authentic self. I never expected to have to talk to strangers about the life I live. But stories are transformative and we humans are wired for narrative and prose. It is when I recognised the power of authenticity, of whole-hearted living that I learned the power of sharing it with others. We can all do this, in good time, and gradually we can positively affect the lives of the people we work with, our partners, wives, husbands, family and friends. Do it daring greatly.