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photo of Julie Clear

“Poetry helps me express myself”

Hannah Maunder

Mum-of-four Julie Clear writes poems about life, love and MS. She tells us why creativity is an important part of her life.

How did you get into writing poetry?

I’ve always been a fan of poetry and after my MS diagnosis I decided to give it a go. It helps me to clarify my thoughts and express myself. It’s important to me to give something back and writing is a way of doing that - but using less energy.

Is being creative important to you?

I love being creative. I sew, but I lack some sensation in my feet, so instead of putting my foot on the sewing machine pedal I use my hand. My sewing is a bit sqew-whiff, but I enjoy it. I’m also a gardener. My partner built me a beautiful greenhouse with a sitting down potting area.

Who are most important people in your life?

I’ve had counselling, and one of the things I learnt was to ‘put yourself on the same shelf as everyone else’. So, me of course! And my four children, my family and my friends. It’s important to have a good support network. My friends are brilliant. I can’t drive at night so a friend comes and takes me to a sewing club.

Do you have any advice on dealing with family life and MS?

I wrote a poem called The hamster wheel of love which is about feeling that if I stop everything will collapse. I had a bar set and now I’ve learnt to let go. It’s OK if my children wear odd socks. We do have to be organised as a family though, and my memory isn’t that good so I use alerts on my phone and we have a huge wall planner.

What helps you cope with MS symptoms?

Day to day, by resting. I have neuropathic pain and it’s worse if I don’t pace myself. My MS nurse told me: listen to your body.

How are you kind to yourself?

I have the best coffee and good moisturiser! I look after myself. I don’t think I did before MS.

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Julie lives in Galloway with her partner Abram and her four children.

> Read Julie's poems at Hello Poetry. We love It’s challenging managing and Now