Season of independence
July begins with Canada Day, which is quickly followed by American Independence Day and then France’s Bastille Day.
This is clearly the season of independence, so I want to talk about the way people living with multiple sclerosis attain, maintain and celebrate independence.
Lean on me
It takes many of us some time to realise that relying on something (such as a cane, crutch, walker or chair) or someone (that’s rather obvious), can create a feeling of liberty.
While it may feel like a loss of independence, such reliance can actually help us retain and even regain the ability to do things by and for ourselves.
I could not walk around the neighborhood without my cane (and some days more assistance). Some might say I ‘depend’ on a cane. My perspective is that I have the independence to get around because of it. Do I ‘depend’ on the woman who comes in to tidy our home for an hour each week? You bet I do.
Giving over to pride and doing the housekeeping myself would tap my already limited energy reserves (as well as my total inability to multi-task any longer). Consequently, I wouldn’t be able to participate in so many other parts of my life.
Asking for charitable or governmental ‘assistance’ does not take away our independence. Such services exist because ourselves and others have paid taxes and donated to places like the MS Society.
They are there to do just what their title suggests: assist. They are not intended to rob us of our independence.
Sense of self
If you are in a bad place right now, please don’t think that I’m sugar coating the difficulties we all face in keeping our identity. MS steals much from us and sometimes independence is also sacrificed to the monster.
Within each of us, however, is still a spirit of self and the need to do certain actions for ourselves. It is how and what we can do for ourselves that may change due to MS.
It is also important that we each find something new that we can do or something which we will fight to hold on to, in order to keep that sense of independent self.
On the days that we feel bound and dependent on something, let us declare our independence and avoid focusing on what we have lost.
Let us celebrate what we can do once we give in to our need for assistance from a thing or a person, and move on to the next hurdle that multiple sclerosis will throw in our way.
Because it likely will.
Wishing you and your family the best of health.