You would think a night in bed would be helpful for someone with multiple sclerosis. It would be amazing to have the energy in my body build up overnight like that. This way by the time I wake up I would have the strength needed to pull the covers back and drag my legs over the side of the bed to start my day but many times as soon as my feet dangle over the side of the bed I’m ready to go back to sleep.
It would be wonderful to be like one of those online game characters who gains lives for taking a break. You would think I could gain more strength than I do with a night of sleep, but I think that would mean I would have to actually have a night of sleep.
My nights are normally not filled with restful sleep. They tend to be moments of tossing and turning, pain, muscle spasms, and an overactive brain that won’t shut up. It’s kind of hard to sleep with all that going on. At least I’ve eliminated the multiple nightly bathroom trips by having a catheter but I haven’t had a restful night of sleep in years, and the times I do actually sleep, it seems to not help as much as it should.
But just because my body is lacking strength at the start of my day, just because I can’t run a marathon or even walk into the next room, that doesn’t mean I’m powerless. Most of the time when I have exhausted myself doing the simplest of things at the beginning of my day like preparing for a morning shower or even getting dressed…I stop to breathe. Breathing is good.
Like this morning, I sat on the edge of my bed exhausted and worn out saying to myself “in through the nose, out through the mouth.” I don’t know why, but it calms me when I remind myself to just breathe. I figure as long as I’m breathing, I’m fighting…and since I’m fighting, I’m not powerless.
I’m not my illness. I’m not my disability. I’m not useless, hopeless or a lost cause. I’m me, and that goes for you too. You are not multiple sclerosis. You may be weak and exhausted even at the start of your day, but you aren’t broken and you definitely aren’t powerless. You’re just a little banged up, cracked and bent in a few places, but that just adds character.
If I can get up in the morning and keep pressing on, I’m not powerless. And even when I can’t do all those things on my own, I’m still not powerless. I’m simply me hoping for a better day today than I had yesterday. Hang onto your determination and courage to keep going…and fight. No quitting allowed today.