Coming to terms with a chronic illness is sometimes a little tricky. I change between the ‘old’ me who competed in a triathlon and the MS self who sometimes experiences difficulties doing everything the ‘old’ self did with my eyes closed. Sometimes I just can not function at the level I would like.
Multiple Sclerosis is invisible. It seems to hit people at their prime when they look young and healthy. If you saw me you may not even know the obstacles that I face each day. My youngest daughter once said “people should live with us for a day to see what it is really like“.
Multiple Sclerosis rebels rather than excels at being pushed or being under pressure. I have had to give myself permission to scale back and make necessary adjustments and I am continually adopting new techniques to manage stress. This makes you reconsider what really matters. I live more in the moment and I choose what to use my energy on very wisely.
I am confronted with new unique challenges that require problem solving and resilience. I look at resilience as the ability to regroup after a setback, trauma or grief. Over the past few years I have had the opportunity to really practice my bounce-back-ability. I also know that resilience is not about being happy all the time. I think it is ok to really feel, accept and experience the hard times, as long as you don’t remain in them forever. This week I felt really ordinary after my weekly injection with no energy and a really foggy brain. My bounce back ability was tested until today when I spent the morning in the surf with my son and then we shared a delicious lunch at our favourite restaurant at the beach.
I don’t advocate getting MS but it has made me a better person. As the ‘old’ me and the MS self battle it out to become my new persona I know that I am now equipped with a totally different skill set to cope with everyday life.
Multiple Sclerosis is also unpredictable. Tim Ferguson made me laugh when he recently said in a brilliant book Taking Control by Jillian Kingsford Smith that there is only so many times you can hear “I don’t know” from your Neurologist. So, I don’t know what is going to happen or when, so there isn’t a moment to waste. It is now time for me to design new dreams and a new persona.