The Multiple Sclerosis Community And Letting Go Of Anger
“One of the most courageous decisions you’ll ever make is to finally let go of what is hurting in your heart and soul.” ~Brigitte Nicole
Growing up I enjoyed listening to people’s stories, trying to help if expressly asked. When I went back to school for my patient advocate certificate one of my courses dealt with something I already knew: listening with empathy and compassion.
When I write or speak I apply these principles at every corner.
But I’m troubled whenever I hear negative comments within our own MS community about each other. It’s true that MS manifests its ugly head in each of us differently. We can be envious that Sally can walk and we can’t, or Jane can afford the gold standard of insurance that we can’t. That’s understandable.
That’s human nature.
We want a better quality of life, we’re tired of living with the monster and want to have what someone else has that makes their life better.
But if someone else has the ability to do something we can't shouldn’t we feel good for them instead of feeling anger?
Wouldn’t we want people feeling good for us if we were doing well?
If someone can walk, work or travel do we have to harbor anger toward them because that’s not our life, and we refuse to acknowledge any happiness for them at all?
When I was first diagnosed I decided to lead a support group for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. They were in need of a leader for a local group and I thought I’d be perfect for the job. I scheduled some wonderful speakers who were MS specialists. My fiancé (now husband) and I went to the meetings together.
After three meetings I threw in the towel.
Why? I was the only MSer who walked through the door; the others had wheelchairs, walkers and canes. They told stories of husbands and boyfriends leaving them after their diagnosis, and they repeatedly whipped their caustic comments at me. Their anger was palpable.
Did I deserve that?
In those early days of living with my MS I was made to feel like a pariah because I could walk through the door. Because I had a fiancé. Because I didn’t need an assistive device.
I felt horrible.
It’s difficult not to feel anger about our MS. I’d love to travel, not need to take long daily naps, be more productive and feel my legs again.
It’d be nice not to catch every cold that floats through the air, feel awake and vital after 5 hours of sleep and not worry about my million bathroom breaks every day.
But I refuse to be upset if another MSer lives a better quality of life than I do, experiences small MS victories that I don’t, or gets more exposure because of fame, wealth or ability.
We’re all on the same team. We all deal with our private brand of MS no matter what the media reports.
I love the MS community. They empower and inspire me every day. You ALL inspire me every day. Let’s continue to empower and inspire each other. We deserve that.
How well do people around you understand MS?