I’m Broken, So What?
At this point in my life, I’ve been living with a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis for a significantly long time. Throughout the years, I’ve experienced a lot of the common symptoms like pain, numbness, weakness, fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, and depression. I’ve remarked in the past how all of this has made me feel much older than I actually am. But saying I feel old isn’t the only or even the best way to describe how I often feel. No, there’s another word for it, one that even fit during my early days with the disease. Broken.
Well, I kind of am, right?
It’s pretty easy to see why I feel this way. I feel broken because, well, I am broken. I have Multiple Sclerosis, which makes my immune system attack my own body. That’s not the way the immune system is supposed to function. My body is broken. The break of my immune system has led and continues to lead to more breaks throughout my nervous system, leading to problem after problem. These days, it feels like every part of me is broken. Physically, my body just isn’t what it used to be. It’s also not what it’s supposed to be, at least not like others my age who don’t have MS. My legs, arms, eyes, brain, just about my entire body, feel broken. That’s not all though, all those breaks have led to something else that often feels broken: my spirit.
Not all breaks are physical
Feeling that you’re broken and need fixing is horrible, especially when you know there is no real way of fixing you. We live in a world where comparing ourselves to others is the easiest it’s ever been. Social media and technology have made it extremely easy to see everyone at their best at any minute of the day. It’s impossible not to make comparisons. It’s not solely about measuring ourselves against others though; there is for sure a feeling of being broken. A feeling that your body and mind just aren’t working the way they should. You can feel that even without measuring yourself against others, you can feel that when you are alone. You can feel that something just isn’t right, something isn’t how it should be. I wish I could say this was all because we compare ourselves to others. For me, the biggest issue is comparing myself to the person I used to be. The guy who had a successful career, played hockey, and trained for marathons and who is now on disability and falls just trying to go to the bathroom at times.
Fighting a chronic illness day in and day out is mentally exhausting. It gets old pretty quickly. Trying to live as you once did, trying to live as everyone else around you lives, is difficult. Thinking about it is even more difficult. It can be a constant fight to keep your mind straight and happy, a fight you will absolutely lose on many occasions. That mental fight to keep it all together is every bit as exhausting as any other part of the disease. That mental exhaustion takes its toll and amplifies that broken feeling.
Nothing wrong with being broken
Ugh, another article by Devin that’s depressing right (I prefer realistic)? Well, let me try to turn that around. Here’s the thing about being broken. There’s nothing wrong with it. There are a lot of things in this world that no longer function the way they were intended but still serve their function, some even better than if they worked the way they were designed. That’s important to remember. I admit it, I’m broken (and boy am I broken!), but who cares? I adapt and keep on going. I try to remember that, hey, I was broken from the very beginning, and that didn’t stop me. I was still pretty great even with that original issue, so I’ll keep on being great with the added breaks. I’ll just adapt (maybe use some duct tape) and you will too. Very few things in this world ever stay factory fresh for very long, and that’s not a bad thing. All these breaks build character, they build experience, they teach us how to really enjoy the small things. I’d rather have that then a pristine body that still works with all the factory settings and hasn’t really truly lived. So we’re broken, most of us are, who cares? Celebrate it, because some breaks, some wear and tear, at the very least means you’ve lived, you’ve experienced life. It takes experiencing the bad to appreciate the good. Remember, not all broken things need to be fixed.
Thanks for reading!