On the 7th of February 2013, I got the proof that I was struggling and there was a reason behind it. I had been given the news that I had Remitting Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis, a neurological disease affecting the spinal cord and brain where the nervous system attacks itself. My family took the news hard and were all really worried about what the future would bring for me; whereas I was initially happy that I finally had a diagnosis and something to connect my daily symptoms to. However, I won’t deny that I had (and still am having) tough days and have at times found it hard to cope emotionally and physically.
Although I am a positive individual, I do have days where I break down and wonder why I have to live with such a crap disease (being constantly fatigued, forgetting things with brain fog and having wobbly limbs and eyesight to name but a few!). I get frustrated when people who aren’t affected by anything medically can throw their life away and not grab life by the balls, when I am sat at home reserving my energy and working hard to stay independent. I want to scream at people when they say the usual quote (invisible illness sufferers, I know you’ve heard this one!) ‘But you look so well!’. If people had a better understanding into invisible illnesses, maybe it wouldn’t be such a shock that people can still look attractive whilst feeling in pain.
I decided if I couldn’t change my future with my diagnosis, there was no point in me being sat worried about the future for myself. Nobody truly knows what is around the corner and I do not believe there is any point in being concerned about what may, or may not happen to you. You need to live for now as best as you can and look after your mind and body.
My amazing mother got very emotional and worried for a long time at the start of my diagnosis. You could often not speak to her without her breaking down and feeling helpless. I sometimes had to give her a talking to and tell her to quit being a worrier. Life had thrown a spanner in the works and it was up to me to find a way around it to make my life as normal as possible. I wanted to be a warrior and fight off anything that stood in my way.
All of these thoughts made me decide to start a blog, to document the days where I was feeling like a worrier and other days where I felt more like a warrior. I hope that in time, people can connect with each other to share their stories and to help each other through their struggles. I am not by any means saying that I never worry and I am always brave. There is nothing wrong with having a bad day, but it is about how you turn that around to be more positive. Pick up tips from other people who also have had crap days and what they did to pick themselves up.
I believe the stigma of support should not only be restricted to people who are in a wheelchair, use a stick or have other aids to help with day to day life that is visible. There is nothing braver than accepting that you need a hand, a friend – some advice; even when you may ‘look normal’.
This modern world should be about supporting others as well as yourself in any circumstance. If I can share worries, basic knowledge, tips and tricks and understanding of invisible illnesses’ with other people, maybe other sufferers can do the same and we can all move forward as warriors.