In today’s world, we are constantly being made to believe that something is wrong with us because we have multiple sclerosis. Those of us using walking aids, wheelchairs and braces, for some reason are seen as attention seekers and broken. We move much too slow for this fast paced world and they seem to think something is wrong with that. And those who don’t need assistive devices; the stumbling, pain, emotional moments, and memory difficulties are viewed in the same way.
I can remember when I first started using a cane. I tried to hide it from people. Not out of embarrassment, but because of the responses it invoked in them. As soon as someone saw me walking with a cane, the questions began…too many questions, and ones that required exhausting explanations. I wasn’t ashamed of MS, I was simply tired of the constant ”I know what you need to do to make MS go away” responses and having to explain myself in return.
Now that I use a wheelchair, it’s a bit harder to hide my walking difficulties and I’ve gotten better at handling people’s looks, questions and comments. It still gets to me at times, but I’m okay with most people’s responses. I’ve come to understand that the negative comments made simply shows who they are as a person and has nothing to do with me at all. They are the flawed and faulty ones, not me.
The hardest thing for me is dealing with other MSers or other people living with a debilitating illness who can’t seem to believe it’s even possible to be positive in this mess. I actually feel sorry for them. For their narrow minded, judgmental, opinionated, critical way of thinking. These kinds of people are everywhere too. I can’t seem get away from them but I have learned clever way to respond to their smallness. For me, I let them know that I didn’t ask for their opinions and don’t need their permission to live my life my way. I’m sure this post with trigger some of them and put their thoughts into a tailspin.
It’s sad how negative some people can be. I can say that life is good and they will immediately tell me how wrong I am. I can share a moment of overcoming weakness and they will remind me of how weak my body actually is. I can talk about hope for tomorrow and they will try to pop that hope bubble with cynicism. I can share something positive online and they will twist it into a negative critical way of thinking. It never fails. I have come to realize that negative narrow minded people can’t see any good around them. There is no beauty, no possibility of good things happening, and no chance of a better day tomorrow. I wouldn’t want to live in that world.
One of the most important things I have learned is that multiple sclerosis has not made me less of a person. If anything, it has opened my eyes to seeing the real me and to seeing how broken this world really is. Yes, it takes me longer to do just about everything from checking the mail, to doing laundry, to even getting out of bed, but although I may not be fast at doing things and some things I can no longer do, I can still do a lot. It may take some creativity and some extra help, but I always find a way to do the things that some people think is impossible to do for a person with MS.
Ultimately, it would be wonderful to live in a world where disabilities took a back seat and negative thinking was obliterated but that day will probably never come. Regardless of what the world thinks, I want you to know that you are not broken, faulty, useless, or worthless. You are a beautifully, patched together, work of art covered in scars yet filled with amazing resilience and strength. You are not MS, a cane, a wheelchair, or an emotional mess. You are incredibly you! You can do anything you want to do it will just take some creative thinking and innovation. Don’t let the nay sayers rule the day. You can be positive in the chaos…there are a lot of other MSers who think that way too. Having negative moments is not bad. Living in negativity is.