I just saw this picture on a dedicated MS Facebook page. It says “YOU WILL NEVER KNOW WHAT PAIN IS UNLESS YOU HAVE MS!!”
Well excusez–moi, please, but that is just OTT.
Life is NOT A CONTEST of who has more pain than the other, it’s not a game of showing people how sick we can be. So forgive me for sticking up for others who are otherwise seriously ill, because statements like this only give people the wrong idea of what having MS is really like.
I am all for raising awareness of what MS is but I definitely wouldn’t go as far as saying that only people with MS know what real pain is.
My life with MS started with trigeminal neuralgia and nerve pain on one side of my body and it eventually turned me into a chronic pain patient myself, but pain is relative. What is really painful to you might only be a small annoying thing to me, and vice versa.
Some of us are in a lot of pain and I am the first to acknowledge that fact, not because my pain levels would surprise some, but because there are people who are in much worse pain than I am. I know them, I see them and I know they go through things I have no way of understanding. And let’s not forget, people without MS can also have excruciating symptoms on a daily basis.
Reality check so: we energy to be positive instead of negative and try to live normal lives. Statements like the above make people without MS believe that we are wallowing in our pain.
If you’ve read my blog before you will also know how I feel about the term “MS survivors”. The word ‘survivor’ in relation to MS makes me cringe. Similarly, calling MS a “MonSter”, sorry, I’m just not programmed that way. Remember, what you think, you become (thank you, dear Buddha, for the kind words).
Suffering as a word is so negative and for the time being, I try hard not to use negative words or connotations that would suggest I am in hell and I that can’t get out. My nerve pain can be maddening but I’m good at hiding it. Positivity is quite important because it’s helping me through the day with a giggle.
Raising awareness with such a quote does not serve anyone well. It shows an unwillingness to see beyond our own illness.
So please, let’s not turn having MS into a privilege.
We want awareness, not pity.
Not sorrow, but understanding.
Not negativity, but a bright outlook on life, no matter how painful our days are, or might become.
© Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2012. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.