“Our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as being able to remake ourselves.” –Gandhi
In order to make a difference I’ve gotten more involved with my local chapter of the MS Society. We visit legislators to talk about bills that are important to people living with chronic illnesses. We also advocate so that the general person is aware of MS. I want everyone to know just how destructive it can be to not just the person living with the disease but also to his or her entire family.
So, that’s what I’m doing to “remake the world”. Now I just have to remake myself. I love the camaraderie of participating in the aforementioned process as it is helping me deal with some of my own personal issues, but I’ve got to be honest with you, some days are still really hard to tolerate. The times when I resent just about everyone are especially challenging for me. I close the door and shut them all out. But, that’s not who I am. You see these moments are ravishing but fleeting. In turn, I allow myself to truly feel the hurt. Then on my own time, I open my door and slowly usher the world back in.
For me, I find the more I accept the things that scare me the most, the better I am at handling them. For example, when I was able bodied I exercised my butt off. I ran, did the elliptical, and the Stairmaster. You name it. After my last exacerbation I was afraid to exercise because I was so weak. I finally talked myself into trying some less strenuous workouts. Now I can do modified versions of my original exercises but for much shorter periods. It’s a totally different routine than I’m accustomed to, but I do it and it makes me feel good. In keeping with confronting the things that scared me the most (i.e. not being able to exercise), I accepted it, adapted and made it work.
Wherever we are we can remake ourselves. Even if it’s only in the way we view ourselves. I’m sure you’ve heard perception is everything. I definitely see myself differently. Making it to the restroom in time or walking the full-length of a room are tasks I would have never considered difficult pre-diagnosis, but now I check them off as small victories in my daily battle for normalcy.
Sometimes it annoys me to think of what MS has taken from me. I try not to hold on to the anger that boils beneath my surface. I look at my situation as just one of those things I’ve been handed and can’t change. I believe that the universe gives you what you need not what you want. This concept facilitates my conviction that I’m here like this for a reason. I just can’t figure out what it is. I don’t often ask, “Why me?” as if I’m somehow better or some other person should have it. I know that’s certainly not the case. I realize the question I should embrace is, “Why not me?”
But despite how far I have come in my acceptance of this disease, I am still constantly asking myself, “OK I have multiple sclerosis. Now what am I suppose to do with it?”