I am not my brain

I just had a healthy five-minute crying session.

One where the afterthought in the back of my mind sounded like, “Well, I should’ve done that a few months ago!

And, one where three minutes later my brain countered, “You know what, why am I even physically hurting my face by crying when trigeminal neuralgia loves to inflict injury by something so mundane as tears? Why, when I’ve proven in the past, I’ve got this MS-thing all sorted out, that I can so do this?”

You bet I can so do this.

Thinking it through, I realised how far I’ve come since D-Day.

Diagnosis Day.

Thirteen years ago, to the day.

In fact, I only remembered it was D-Day while on the road to the hospital.

Shock and awe! I didn’t even think of it when I woke up. Or while enjoying a wonderful chinwag with fellow MS-academy graduates.

It made me chuckle so much my gurgling bronchitis resembled an annoying gentlemen’s cough in a silent library hall.

But, all joking aside, not remembering any sooner is proof that time has special healing powers. It resets the parameters of what was once a sad event by turning the past from a place of residence into one of reference.

“Healing is a matter of time, but sometimes also
a matter of opportunity.”
(Hippocrates)

Vintage clock

It soothes fear when your mind takes you back to that neurologists’ office without your consent.

It might even heal scars you, others, society and most of all, your illness have placed on you, whether it takes you four months, one year, three years, or longer.

But, two facts about that day are not meant to be forgotten.

That short second of self-judgement the moment you realised you’re only human after all. Like a dog clicker, it now serves as a barometer and a way to slow down when pacing yourself always seems something other people with MS do.

The second part was an equally distressing question when you doubted whether you would still be you five years down the line. But, “What’s wrong with my brain?” doesn’t automatically mean, “Is my mind, my soul therefore broken as well?”

MS is an illness of hard facts and few assumptions. Unless a cure is discovered, the clock keeps ticking one second closer to possible degeneration. MS is a mindset that requires a firewall built from several layers of emotions and courage.

Belief and reality.

Choices and consequences.

Resisting negativity and refusing to give up.

Banning anxiety and acknowledging what you are still capable of.

Like others I saw during my neurological check-up, we have to let go of the guilt, helplessness, shame, sadness or resentment towards a shared illness that led us into that very waiting room.

I have MS.

So what?

Big deal.


© Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2018

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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 |

9 thoughts on “I am not my brain

    1. Apologies for the delay in replying to you Cate.

      That is a lovely thing to say; I wished I could have met your mom too, I hope she didn’t suffer too much and/or for too long.

      Lots of hugs, x

      1. Thank you Willeke. My mother is my inspiration. She always had a smile and she did not let MS keep her from trying. I admired her strength and am grateful she had the strength she had as long as she did. I continue to mention my mother, MS, and her strength as it has had a profound impact on my life. Thank you for your kind comment!

        1. Apologies for the late reply, ladies! I am honoured each of you found my blog and that you took the time to reply. You’ve brought me to tears with your kind words and hope I’ll be able to write in a similar fashion for a long time, and that you’ll return as much as you like.

          When I started this blog, my goal was this, “If I can make one person with MS smile, or give a virtual hug, then my goal is reached,” because not everybody’s life with MS is that easy. People like you drive me forward to do more, be more and better myself. Thank you so, so much once again!

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