There are days when I think I’ve got the measure of my MS and I think all is well, considering.
Expecting the unexpected
Sometimes I kid myself into thinking that because I’ve already run the gauntlet of indiscriminate symptoms that I’m one clued up guy. Then there are days, weeks even, when I realise that perhaps not.
I’ve realised something important after nearly 40 years of carrying this MS monkey on my back: I can never be so complacent as to fool myself into thinking that things are just jogging along. Multiple sclerosis doesn’t work like that. Well, not for me anyway.
My mantra is to expect the unexpected. While balance has been a constant issue for me in recent times, I’d neglected other inconveniences like my speech.
A victim of my own complacency
For no reason and quite indiscriminately, my jaw will slacken, and my voice will morph my speech into something akin to a Rocky soundalike. As always, these things happen. It’s all part and parcel of living with MS.
But sometimes I’m a victim of my own complacency. I forget how I react each time. And in the past I’ve hidden myself away until I sounded less like a hellraiser on a bender.
It’s all about confidence really, and another hurdle to mentally get over. But I decided enough was enough. I had to get over it. I set out to learn more about meditation and make it work for me.
Driving and loss of independence
Take driving. Losing my independence of driving under my own steam only to be driven about by my wife was a different hurdle to overcome. But I did, again through meditation. I've become calmer and therefore less resentful of circumstances beyond my control. I’ve made my peace with it. Why be resentful towards my designated driver for something that wasn’t her fault?
Using my stick was another mountain to climb. For years I was defiant in the face of adversity by holding onto my wife’s forearm for stability instead of using stable aids. But she’s getting older too, and bruises easily. So gripping tightly to prevent myself from trying to defy gravity was causing injury to her.
I stubbornly refused to use a walking stick because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. But that was exactly what I was doing all along, and causing someone else discomfort and injury in the process.
Confidence and rolling with MS
It’s all a matter of confidence, or rather lack of it. In the past I have hidden myself away as if I was the Elephant Man, feigning laryngitis to avoid getting involved in a conversation. But not anymore.
Although I still won’t speak on the phone I no longer avoid face to face contact. It’s not easy as I’m still very aware of how I sound when I stammer and stumble over my words.
As for the driving and walking aspect, it benefits no-one to be stubborn and too proud to accept help. Because having MS means they’re luxuries I can’t afford. But that’s life, I guess. A life that gets easier for me by the day the more I roll with MS instead of pushing against it.
Martin is an MS blogger and influencer. You can read more of his blogs at martinbaum.co.uk.
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