I had a questioned posed to me recently about my living with MS..."Do you feel trapped?" The question was quite unexpected and what’s more, even I was surprised by my answer. Within seconds I responded "sometimes". Perhaps if I were to dwell more on what I am unable to do physically I would have immediately answered yes. But really, one of the most important things I've learned since the mobility issues of MS have worsened for me, is that the more enjoyable activities to me are much more cerebral than physical, in fact it as always been this way. And the truth is, I had not pursued those things of interest due to “traps” which were not physical. You know, the things that have deterred many a person from pursuing their dreams. Things such as fear. Fear of success or fear of failure and all that goes along with it, like self-doubt. So you see, I came to the realization some time ago, that the original traps which have affected my life the most were born in my mind from experiences long ago and not from my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.
In this hectic and “you can do and have it all” lifestyle that is promoted these days, there are so many folks claiming they are indeed trapped. We all know at least one, or even several of them. They’re trapped in a crummy job, or a dysfunctional relationship with a mate or with family members. There’s even the trap of living in an unhealthy and neglected body starving for proper nutrition, and believe me I‘ve been there too. Yep, trapped they are, at least that’s what they believe. However, being stuck is sometimes, even frequently, a result of our very own doing or thinking, and very likely we have the power to release ourselves if only we will allow our mind to free us. That's the tough part. Quelling the negative or incorrect messages we give ourselves. Daily this is a routine thing for me in dealing with MS. Reminding myself continually that those things I can do and could aspire to possibly do, make me who I am right now. Realizing that I am a vital, interesting and driven person in many ways that are not physical. In fact those qualities have nothing to do with those formerly demonstrated physical abilities. Nothing at all other than the fact that in my new found inability to do them I became compelled, even forced in some cases to examine embarking on interests I allowed myself to become distracted from previously. Yes distracted for the reasons mentioned above.
MS is most definitely a tricky, tricky condition. It may have you thinking not only that you've changed, but that you are no longer you and all that encompasses because you lack ease in movement, or an even more severe physical or cognitive disability. This unpredictable trickster can also deceive you into believing that you cannot reinvent yourself, by adding some of the new MSer experience that has no doubt made you a more knowledgeable and enlightened person, and merging those additional parts to your original self, the core of you.
Ultimately, I've learned that having an open mind which is nurtured to believe in possibilities is a powerful ally in battling a disease that seeks to trap not just your body but your beautiful mind. Please, please my friends do not let it.
On an average day, how would you rate your level of anxiety related to multiple sclerosis?