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)

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.

(PS: Please check in here on Wednesday when I start new disease-modifying treatment to hear the ups and downs of changing medication. Side effects, beware! My bark is as loud as my bite!)


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

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