I miss the sound of rain on my bedroom windows. Not one to feel depressed by bad weather, I physically start to thrive once more autumn-inspired weather sets in after those long, miserable months when temperatures were above 17°C.
My Spotify account on my smartphone is bloated with new soft jazz and Norah Jones tunes to accompany me on walks, and I cannot wait for those days to arrive. I can almost feel a tinge of cool air already. Sadly for those sun worshipers looking to add more cancerous rays of sunshine in Ireland, summer has been rather so-so.
Do I mind?
A few months ago, I got back in touch with an ex-colleague, so it’s been happy-reunion-galore since. Needless to say, the topic of the conversation eventually ended up with my illness. You know… That unforgivable affront to my human rights.
That thing that doesn’t take a holiday.
That thing that belongs to me, but the tragedy of it to my family.
That thing that comes with a lot of small print.
I decided to call it, “MS, 50 shady ways of being sick.” It sounded good in that moment. Hell, it almost sounded sexy.
I’ve yet to find 4.9 other ways of being ill though. When my friend therefore asked what I was (relapsing/remitting; primary progressive etc.), I simply said, “What I am? Tired, just endearingly tired, so much so I’m ready for my nappy.”
We burst out laughing and almost wetted our pants, and it ended in a big teenage giggle-fest. Finding solace like this was just what we both needed, followed with that inclination to just get on with life, not willing to trade good for bad. While my friend had been travelling around the world the last few years, I had been travelling the insides of my mental and emotional being, re-evaluating my expectations of that same world.
With retiring from work 5.5 years ago, along came a completely new approach to life, a new way of being in this world. What I found was so easy, so ridiculously easy. Life is a strategic game, and if you are the type of person who loves getting in your own way, you simply need to think. And think deeply.
How can you gain insight in yourself and move forward when you refuse to think about the past and what’s holding you back? Stop saying “Yeah yeah, I’m fine,” when all you do is delay solutions and methods to get better. When you keep yourself from thinking about trauma, it’ll remain a no-fly-zone in your mind, unable to take on new mental challenges. Tackle that beast, look it straight into its eyes and tell it that you’re stronger, smarter, more inventive and yes, even sexier.
Today’s challenge, so?
Physically preparing myself for that first autumn walk; mentally saying that you’re way better than you think you are.
Neurologically challenged by MS and personally by her will to succeed, Willeke is a disability awareness advocate seeking to improve neurological services in Ireland. By highlighting difficult issues that come with a MS diagnosis, she hopes her words and tenacity can bring justice to people most in need of a modern, inclusive healthcare system that looks after every aspect of life.
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