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How MS made me the person I am today

“Do you wish you could go back to the way you were before you diagnosed with MS?” It’s a question I get asked all the time, but a question I haven’t yet managed to answer.

At first the answer is obvious: of course I wish I could! In fact, the most difficult thing for me now is thinking about how I used to be compared to how I am now. All the sport I could play, all the extracurricular activities I had the energy to do. The answer seems like a no brainer, right?

Appreciating what you have

But then you start to think about how much you have developed as a person since being dealt this hand. For me, there is no way I would be the person I am today if it weren’t for my MS diagnosis.

After being diagnosed with a lifelong illness, you suddenly have so much appreciation for the things you have. Not once was I thankful for something as simple as having working legs before my diagnosis. But once something like that is taken away from you, you can only be thankful for everything else that does still work.

Getting diagnosed with MS at 21

I was only 21 when I was diagnosed with MS. I was young. Making grown up decisions like prioritising things in my life wasn’t how I would do things.
But then you get diagnosed with MS and you have to come to terms with the fact that the body you are living in now isn’t the same as it used to be. This is a massive wakeup call. Your entire outlook on life changes.

You start to really care for yourself and try so much harder to understand yourself. You start to set yourself goals which you’re more serious about achieving.  You start to make a real effort with your physical and mental health. And you start to manage your time in a way that works for you. All things that seemed too grown up for me before, but all things that I am proud of myself now for working on.

Making the most of it

So, whenever you’re dealt with a bad hand that you can’t do anything about, it’s on you to make the most of it. If you do make the most of it, you’ll see that you develop in ways you would never have thought yourself to be capable of.

And sure, it would be nice to be able to run again. But how long was I going to run before I realised I wanted to become a better person?

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