The Little Things

Last updated: October 2022

When you live with an illness like multiple sclerosis, there are a lot of big moments and situations that seemingly dictate your life. Sometimes they are terrible, like getting your diagnosis. Other times, they call for celebration, like when you get MRI results and there is no new or worsening activity. While it may seem like the larger and more important moments are the ones that have the greatest impact on our lives, it’s the smaller ones that often sit with me and give me a reason to either smile or frown.

Steady as she goes

Perhaps I’ve had this disease long enough that the major catastrophes and moments of celebration don’t affect me that much. I’ve learned the hard way that any good news can quickly get replaced by a new tragedy. Similarly, I’m able to deal with any new setback or catastrophe with the thought that, okay, this will either pass or I’ll deal with it. Just one more thing.

Good moments don’t last very long, but neither do bad ones. I carry on. I survive. I’ve been through enough, and at a far younger age than my peers, that I’m usually able to keep a steady mindset. In a lot of ways, my illness has aged me and given me experiences with parts of life way before I should have lived through them.

The little things when living with MS

While I’m usually able to handle great news and terrible times with an even-keeled approach, I sometimes get completely derailed or overjoyed by what should be the most trivial of circumstances.

My numb hand drops a cup, spilling my drink everywhere; though a minor inconvenience, it can be enough to drop me to my knees and make me start crying. I’ll bump into a wall because of my poor coordination and fly into a fit of rage, despite it being a common occurrence.

On the flip side, I may step outside and a cool breeze will hit me, and it will be just the perfect weather for someone with MS, I will get almost misty-eyed by such a minor moment. I’ll be out and have a sip from a fresh IPA and it seems as though time has stopped as I close my eyes and let the piney and resinous hop flavor linger in my mouth. These smaller moments in my life can feel life-changing.

Trying to make sense of it

Maybe these small things impact me more because deep down I know that it’s okay to let them. If you get too high or low based on a major incident, it can be either harder to survive or make the next one extraordinarily worse. Or, maybe I’ve had so many major changes in life that things are built up and only get released when something small becomes the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Perhaps the smaller moments affect me more because subconsciously I know it’s simply safer that way. Maybe it’s because the less-than-important situations are really how the big moments express themselves. Who knows?

I like to think though, that the small moments matter the most because that’s really what our lives are about. No matter what major situation we find ourselves in, good or bad, it’s those smaller everyday moments that make up our journey through life.

Thanks so much for reading and feel free to share! As always, I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

Devin

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