After being diagnosed with MS in 2019, I began the journey of re-evaluating my life and accepting what was and wasn’t possible for me anymore. My symptoms present themselves as weakness in my legs. I’ve become a wheelchair user which presents many challenges and obstacles.
Before this point I’d been very active in the community, and a considerable amount of my time would be spent volunteering for different organisations. This was one way I felt my duties as a citizen and as a good human being could be met. However, I quickly found out that voluntary work was one of the things that had to change under my new circumstances. My values still naturally encouraged me to volunteer, but my new task was figuring out in what capacity I could now volunteer.
I began searching online for initiatives I could possibly volunteer my time to as someone with a physical impairment, but a part of me still didn't want to accept my circumstances and so taking the step in getting involved in anything was daunting. I would excuse myself by telling myself I had a lot on my plate with studies, but that had never stopped me before.
Blogging as volunteering
Eventually, I looked to the MS Society to see if there were any opportunities to get involved. I came across the blogs of so many people who were also living with MS. The titles of certain blogs would catch my eye and I found myself reading dozens of them and finding comfort in hearing the experiences of others going through similar struggles to me.
I decided that with the limited physical ability I had, writing a blog would be a straightforward thing to do, and so I got in touch with the MS Society, and started writing.
Just like any type of volunteering, there are so many benefits, not just for those you are serving, but also for yourself. First and foremost, I sincerely hope that my blogs might help the readers in the same way that other people have helped me, but on top of that, I also feel as though I’ve gained so much from writing them.
Blogging for myself
Studies have shown the benefits of writing blogs for the individual, and nothing proves this more than when you do it yourself. Above the improved writing skills and networking opportunities that have come with blog writing, is the opportunity it has given me to reflect on my circumstances.
Articulating your feelings and experiences in a written piece and giving it your undivided attention while you write it is an opportunity for reflection like no other.
For me, blog writing is a new type of volunteering while sharing my experiences has become a new coping mechanism (more on this in another blog).
I would highly encourage the reader of this blog to give it a go! Unlike writing an academic piece, this is all about your experience. People love hearing about other people's experiences. Get in touch with [email protected] and let them know you want to write!
From blogging, like Ayad, to campaigning, fundraising and taking part in vital research. There are lots of ways to get involved and help stop MS.