If you had asked me 2 years ago if I ever thought I’d be writing a blog on life with MS I would have laughed.
In fact, when I was first diagnosed the last thing I wanted to do was tell anyone about my MS. I’ve always been a strong willed kind of guy (most would call it stubborn), so when it came to illness my mind-set was that I just needed to man-up, forget about it, and get on with my life.
Ok, so that worked if I was suffering with a cold. Even the occasional stomach ache I could man my way though.
But MS was a different beast entirely.
The keep calm and carry on mentality didn’t do me any favours. When it came to trying to make adjustments because of MS I was a locked door. The way I saw it, if I made any life changes because of my MS then I had immediately lost the battle.
I refused to tell anyone about my little secret. Only my closest family and friends knew (thanks guys). I hid it from my employer, my colleagues, and my wider family. I thought if they knew that they would think I was weak. Like having MS made me less of a human being. I didn’t need to be treated any different. I didn’t need anyone’s sympathy There was nothing wrong with me?
It took almost 2 years and my second relapse for that to change
In June 2017, I had my second relapse. This was a bad one! Getting out of bed each morning was exhausting, I lost a big chunk of my vision, and could barely walk without holding on to something. There was no way that I could just ‘man up’ and deal with this one alone. The deeper in I got, the more out of control I felt.
I not only had to deal with the relapse, but I had to keep lying to my friends, family, and work. Had to keep inventing excuses for why I wasn’t in the office, or why I couldn’t go out on the weekend. Juggling these made me even more exhausted. My mind was a mess.
There must be an easier way?!
Turns out there was. It had been under my nose the entire time. The only thing stopping me from getting at it was me.
This was the hardest adjustment I’ve ever had to make in my life. I needed to adjust my attitude.
I started small, let’s follow some #MS on Twitter, see what’s going on in the news. That quickly grew, and I signed up for all sorts of MS newsletters. Pretty soon I was doing my own research, What could help me feel a little better? I was now willing to try anything!
Yoga three times a week, daily meditation, removing gluten and dairy from my diet.
The more action I took, the better I felt, the more in control I became.
I told my friends, my boss, my wider family. All of whom offered a supportive hand and a friendly ear.
And now here I am. Writing about MS every day.
Who’d have thought it.
I realised that it takes more strength to admit when you need help, than to go it alone and suffer.