The MS blame game

It’s been another fun week of sorts. One of those where you start with ten ideas and finish… None.

Zero. Zilch. Nul.

First I was warned by an astrologer – I know… what was I thinking – that I was about to enter the most significant period in my life. In fact, it would be so intense, that I would need to keep my eyes open.

Like…

Wide. Open.

It didn’t finish there.

Oh no.

It would also be three months that would be immensely rich in chances and opportunities romantically; financially and professionally.

Sure.

I’ve heard that before.

(Just in case, I have extra Provigil tablets to keep my brain awake at all times because I don’t want to miss anything).

My non-existing love life could indeed do with a shakeup. My finances, ditto. And while I retired due to MS seven years ago, I am still dreaming and working very slowly toward that elusive book deal.

Being hyper-aware, however, Mrs Astrologer, goes against my laisser-aller mindset. I tend to see where life and its many twists and turns take me instead of assigning scary assumptions to every word or event that might happen. My life is about doctors, hospitals and medication schedules, so please forgive me if I want to fill in the blanks in all the above myself.

Don’t get me wrong, analysing what goes on inside my mind is fun, but currently to be done in small pieces while I am studying CBT. Seeing how flawed the human mind is, drives me because quite often, we sabotage our thinking.

One of these ways is playing the blame game because it’s easier than finding a solution to our problems. Realistically, though, the blame game is equal to not taking responsibility.

Earlier this year, my right eye behaved erratically because of a significant amount of stress that led to ongoing optic neuritis. My eye doctor recommended several times that reducing stress levels as well as cutting back on laptop, smartphone and TV use would be beneficial.

For about a week…

Which turned into eight.

8.

EIGHT!

Needless to say, during my last neurological checkup a few weeks ago, I was visibly frustrated. My brain was still in the same cavernous space it occupied before – always happy hearing this – but the same good intentions uttered by my neurologist sounded like that annoying, buzzing tinnitus noise.

“No staring at bright screens!”

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph!”

“That means I can’t even watch the microwave when I want to eat something in the middle of the night?!”

Instead of doing as advised and taking responsibility for the ongoing issues with my eyes, I blamed the warm weather.

Objectively, you could argue that indeed, Uhthoff’s symptoms could have prolonged my vision problems, as heat-induced neurological symptoms are common when temperatures rise, or when you eat hot food or take a warm/hot shower. What I didn’t do, however, was read my notes to self that said, “Switch off!” If I want to see Rome again next year, or if I want to catch Romeo waltzing past my front door, I need 20/20 vision!”

In the end, I had to admit that vision issues are serious enough to make you take responsibility but my eyes and MS do not define me. Likewise, my neurologist doesn’t have to determine what happens to my future. In English: I am where I am in life because of my decisions, not because of my circumstances.

Stripped bare, while there is no known cause yet for MS, assigning blame for its symptoms is refusing to see where my responsibility begins, and where it ends.

Or, as William Ernest Henley wrote in his famous poem ‘Invictus’: “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”


© Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2017. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are 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.

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Writer of irelandms.com | Everyday Health Top 10 MS Blog of 2018 | Feedspot Top 50 MS Blog 2017, 2018 | Ireland Blog Award Finalist 2014, 2015, 2017 | Contributor to MS Ireland community blog | Contributor to Living Like You, a Novartis sponsored MS blog |

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