Think before we speak

Since returning from overseas I have been wonderful. Health wise I had a one month break from my injections for MS and feel so good that I have decided to continue my break. My head feels clear, my legs are working spectacularly well and I just feel great. Don’t worry I am not acting blindly I have discussed all of this with my MS nurse and will seek advice from my Neurologist. At the moment I am just enjoying feeling good.

This week I decided to do a strenuous deep water running class at my local pool. It went  for an hour and I was so impressed with myself when I finished. At the end a lady said to me “did you enjoy that?” With excitement I answered “I have MS and I am really excited that I have found a good exercise that I can do and keep cool“. The lady then spoke for the next ten minutes telling me all about her best friends fifty year old brother who has suffered with MS and they have just made the decision that they can no longer help him and that she will travel to Sydney for the funeral.

I have two questions for you:

1) Did this person really think before she spoke?

2) What was the point of this story?

Looking for approvalI actually wanted to say to her “how do you think this makes me feel?” Was intentionality involved? Did the lady mean to be unkind? Absolutely not. She was simply letting me know that she also knows someone with MS. As a widow and someone with MS I am continuously bombarded with somewhat inappropriate remarks and I can mostly brush them off but for some reason this one hit a raw nerve. Maybe it was fear? This lady was standing in front of me telling me my worse case scenario. To have a break from my injections is a major decision and maybe I was feeling a little insecure about it. I am simply listening to my own body and need to feel confident about this decision.

On reflection I also have to ask myself two questions:

1) Why did I mention I had MS?

2) What response was I looking for?

It is too emotionally expensive and damaging for us to remain too ANGRY for too long. The anger has gone and just a little bewilderment remains. I understand that not every story is joyful and inspiring but I think it is good to consider your audience.

Tonight I retold this story to my children and reminded them to follow the simple rule below.


 Maybe we all just need to think a little before we speak sometimes. This might just be a timely reminder for me as well.


6 Replies to “Think before we speak”

  1. I find that whenever meet someone new it’s almost immediately that I tell them about my son with ASD. I’m not entirely sure why I do this but I think it might have something to do with accepting it myself and not being afraid of it. Maybe this is why you mentioned your MS. Who knows really. I’d be surprised if the lady you spoke to would be happy with herself upon her own reflection of your encounter. People say silly things all the time. I think it’s how we react and deal with what’s been said that shows our strength rather than their silliness.

    1. Alys,
      Thank you so much for your comment. I was even in two minds whether to write about my encounter but thought it was a good reminder. I am definitely not immune to saying an inappropriate comment myself but am trying to be much more mindful. Trying to put myself in the other persons position without making assumptions is always a good start. Melissa

  2. Okay here’s my two cents worth: you told her about your MS because you are proud of what you have accomplished. And you should be very proud! She told you about someone she knew with MS because she wanted to connect with you. Unfortunately her story had the opposite effect. I find most people who, when they hear about MS, want to help even if it’s only by connecting with a story. I rarely mention my MS anymore. But it’s not done intentionally. I’m in a wheelchair so there is obviously something wrong and most of the people in my circle know I have MS. Quite honestly I don’t think about it. I have been living with this disease for almost 30 years. I’m pretty sure you’ve got quite a ways to go. The important thing here is that you’re doing something, you are living your life to the fullest! Congratulations!

    1. Thank you so much for your response. I am definitely at the beginning of my journey and possibly even trying to figure out the role MS plays in my life. You are absolutely correct though, at the moment, I am just embracing what is right in front of me.

  3. Hello Melissa, First I want to say I love the beautiful colours of your site. Bright and cheerful. I am Ann’s sister-in-law, you and I have meet a few times over the years. I am so happy you enjoyed your trip and to be able to enjoy your exercise is all that matters. Yes, we all say something at some time that we wish we could take back or re-run. However, as you obviously know, is that we only have the present moment and you are putting 100% into making the most of it. Good for you. Mx

  4. Oh my goodness, how totally deflating for you Mel. You looked glowing and radiant when I ran into you in Woollies just before you headed for the pool. You would have been so excited after finishing the class and understandably wanting to share that. I am really sad that your joy was so flattened. I love reading your blog – you inspire us all, so hopefully what happened this week won’t make you less willing to share whatever you’re feeling, whether it is joy or sadness. What a fantastic holiday you’ve had. Travelling not only teaches us about the world – I think we learn most importantly about ourselves and our ability to survive and cope. Hold onto that feeling and feel it again on the hard days. You are brave and beautiful Melissa! Love to you all and your Mum and Dad too. xxxxxx

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