It’s hard to maintain a decent sense of self while simultaneously trying to cope with MS. But it doesn't have to be that way.
Losing ourselves to MS
There are days when life feels so overwhelming it’s difficult to even remember when it was ever fun. We forget that before we had MS, we had a life. We were once happy and interesting. We had conversation other than MS talk. There were places to go and people to see. We had friends.
And yes, while it’s easy to blame an illness for our depressing lot in life, we don’t have to. It’s just easier that way, especially when it becomes part and parcel of conversation. Although we might have to live MS 24/7, that doesn’t mean we have to constantly talk about it. But we do. And people switch off. This is a reason we lose friends as easily as flowers shed petals.
We lose ourselves to MS. And with it, we lose the people we once were before we became self-absorbed in our own MS bubble.
Living life and embracing the shine
But bubbles can be burst. Because the simple fact is that we own our MS, MS does not own us. As an MS Influencer, this is the message I pass on. As I say to everyone who emails me about how to help them break the cycle of MS symptoms, it’s all about the shine.
The shine is what attracts people to us. But it’s usually smothered by a greyness that does the exact opposite. It’s all about living life and not the MS, because that’s where the shine is.
If we spend all our time talking about our MS symptoms, people start feeling pity for us. And that’s the last thing any of us need. We’re better than that.
Pretty shiny people is who we are
With friendship there’s more to life than MS talk, and I should know. The more I shared every detail about my invisible symptoms to prove I had MS, the more my friends were bored by it.
But now, as I’m less social about the illness, my shine attracts and maintains friendships. Although, it must be said, it’s taken virtually all my MS life to get it right.
Now, when I’m asked how I’m doing, I say simply ‘I’m fine’ and move the conversation along. Unless they’re doctors or specialists, friends don’t want too much detail. The fact is now they’re just happy to enjoy the company, as I am. Because when it comes down to it, there’s a whole lot more than MS to talk about if we only give ourselves a chance. That’s the shine.
If I had my way, George Ezra’s song Pretty Shiny People would be the anthem for all of us with MS. Because regardless of all the various symptoms of an illness that lowers our self-esteem, pretty shiny people are who we are. And that’s what having an MS shine is all about.
Martin is an MS blogger and influencer. You can read more of his blogs at martinbaum.co.uk.