You retired at age what?

Old clock

So, yes, I retired at age 36,5 and it will never be what I envisioned when I moved to Ireland. I ‘ve crashed and burned, stumbled and found hope in tiny triumphs and friendships larger than life that will stand the test of time.

Read More

Why I love advocacy!

No talking girl

No matter when you were diagnosed, there might be moments when you feel like screaming at the top of your lungs when symptoms take a little too long to disappear, or because people are just getting on your nerves.

Read More

MS News: January 2018

MRI brain scan

Your monthly MS news is back after spending a few months in the cooler. It will continue as before, with highlights, news on research and clinical trials as well as lifestyle, diet and mental and emotional health. If you found an article you want to add to this post, please let me know. Highlight! 5 […]

Read More

The paradox of our time

Is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers. Wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but we have less. We buy more but enjoy it less. We have bigger houses, but smaller families. More conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees, but less sense. More knowledge, but less judgement. More experts, yet […]

Read More

UNCRPD, Ireland’s ten-year moral outrage

Having a neurodegenerative illness that cannot be cured has given me the best gift I could ever ask for, strength and meeting the most inspirational and brightest people with disabilities in Ireland and abroad. Yes, they might “be different” in the eyes of many, but they showed me that not everything in life has a price or a tag. They taught me that disability is about misinterpreted ability because they help other people with or without disabilities within their communities in a time when their government shows signs of deliberate discrimination.

Read More

Books? Great medicine!

Black and white book and milk

All joking aside, I cannot even begin to count the number of books I have read since childhood or how many I handled while working in a library. Books become part of life, a friend I will remember forever, a gateway or hiding place where distraction reigns. Just holding them, turning page after page, waiting to be explored, conquered, talked about and put on a shelf waiting to be taken out again. And so the cycle begins again.

Read More

Man up!

“The more you struggle to live, the less you live. Give up the notion that you must be sure of what you are doing. Instead, surrender to what is real within you, for that alone is sure… you are above everything distressing.” (Baruch Spinoza)

Read More

Health Organisations – Ireland

Overview of health organisations for people with disabilities Health Service Executive (HSE) Department of Social Protection Press Office of the Department of Health, Ireland Disability Federation of Ireland National Disability Authority Neurological Alliance of Ireland (NAI) Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) Irish Medicines Board (IMB) Revenue Commissioners Information on Rights and Entitlements Medical Cards […]

Read More

Ireland Speaks No Language

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ireland speaks no language I cannot hear with my heart. Sings no songs I cannot feel by their touch on my lips. Holds no love I cannot embrace with my thoughts. Ireland listens quietly, Unconditionally. ©Willeke Van Eeckhoutte, 2013, 2016 #1916 #Ireland1916 #EasterMonday #RTE1916 #Easter1916 #1916Rising #EasterRising © Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & […]

Read More

Disable Inequality

It’s been rather quiet down here. The past four to five months, I’ve been involved in disability rights campaigns and had a long much-needed Christmas and New Year’s break. I’m now back to passive campaigning in some form or another while having the flu… it’s never boring in MS-land. With the Irish election campaign in […]

Read More

Whát?! 2015 in review!

The WordPress.com statistics monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog. With a total of 22,599 views from 13,765 visitors in 137 countries in 2015 and with 1,857 followers so far, I cannot be any happier. Writing and posting have been slow the last few months, but I will be back soon enough with […]

Read More

13!

Thirteen years ago today I moved to Ireland. A teenage dream turned reality. Little did I know that 2,5 years later, my life would be transformed in a way I had never imagined. Still, there are no regrets, and where anger could have lived, none is left for two chronic illnesses that could easily have […]

Read More

I don’t miss myself

So… Rugby world cup. At last. England in a fashion faux-pas. Coin toss aside, they resembled players of Wales, China, Japan or Kyrgyzstan (Fijian, red is Fijian). Mum’s nine-day visit to Ireland now over. Visited Dublin Zoo once again. New camera making me rather shutter-slow, hence prevalent photographic bonding with rear ends of several animals. […]

Read More

Older, and dafter too!

Another year older today, and another year dafter too. Kookier. Most definitely away with the faeries. Never one to take myself too seriously unless needed, I am taking my new number in my stride. Having family and friends I love and who in return, seem to like me enough to give me a place in their […]

Read More

William Butler Yeats @150

William Butler Yeats: Irish prose writer, dramatist and poet; Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923. 1865-1939; compiled the Oxford Book of Modern Verse. My favourite Irish author would have been 150 years today. Ireland, myself included, celebrates a man so talented, his words still touches people today. Two years ago, and on my birthday, I […]

Read More

Healthy eating

Eating a balanced diet can be a tricky thing sometimes, especially when temptation is everywhere. I often tell myself, ‘Ah but I’m already doing so much for my health by using my own ‘everything-in-moderation’ diet. Since I don’t consume alcohol or other legal and illegal highs, I something think I am allowed at least a […]

Read More

Some oomph along the way!

Many women will agree, and perhaps a few men also, that great shoes have a way of lifting your mood. My left foot, in fact, stopped yelping shortly after I was told that Dr Martens boots would substantially improve my old and new Achilles tendon injuries as well as my gait if I added a […]

Read More

#strongerthanms with MS Ireland

“So, how’s the book,” friends often ask me. “Oh, it’s getting there,” I joke. “I’ve finished one page, the one with the title and my name!” I don’t lack the ambition to keep on writing, but I have an overabundance of low energy levels, so I must ask people to use their patience… patiently when […]

Read More

The love revolution

Vox populi: Turnout: 1,949,725 Yes: 1,201,607 No: 734,300 62.1% vs 37.9% Today, Ireland turned a corner by becoming the first country in the world to approve gay marriage by popular vote. A corner a lot of people have been struggling with for decades. A fear that many were afraid of voicing, afraid of a Catholic Church still […]

Read More

Kick-Ass Ireland

Some days I sit still and think about how my life became a dream full-circle. There’s William Butler Yeats, James Joyce and Brendan Behan. Seamus Heaney, Jonathan Swift, Samuel Beckett and George Bernard Shaw. The Lake Isle of Innisfree, Land of Heart’s Desire and Yeats’s grave. Dubliners, Ulysses and Bloomsday. The mountains, lakes, Dublin, Sligo and […]

Read More

Books, Ireland and a few blanks

“To see the real Ireland, the sea, the ocean, the mountains, the patches of green under constantly changing shadows, is to know its people. Despite trying to give Ireland the best of both worlds, it ended up taking up part of me. Lex talionis not applied, I abide by its spirit and ever-welcoming mind.”

Read More

Identity crisis

WordPress Daily Prompt: Say your name Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself? Photographers, show us YOU.” My name is a story of yes versus no, of not liking it, to being […]

Read More

2015: Year of the Pen

We’re a few days into the New Year already, and I’m looking forward to sitting down in Starbucks Ireland once again. Parker pen, a large latte and carrot cake to take me through the thoughts in my mind while a new notebook waits for thoughts that sound like words; with emotions that sound like sentences […]

Read More

Ireland, still here

“Ireland is still the protagonist in my life that runs away with its stories, and drags me along in its clear chants and rebel songs. I hear tears falling on the sound of uilleann pipes; I feel the waves when I read Seamus Heaney’s ‘Lovers on Aran’. I’ve walked with James Joyce and listened to William Butler Yeats. It feels as if my heart came home. In my mind, I was already part of Ireland.”

Read More

How to wrap friendship

Friendship image

Friends reply less when words fall between the cracks of self-censorship. When they decide to stay away, it’s up to us to never think any less of the friends who stay away. I consider it a justified reaction. I’m also on the other side of the scale where I chose to stay away from certain people because of their words.

Read More

12 years of poetry, books & dreams

12 years ago, on this very day, I moved to Ireland. Sometimes it still feels like a dream within a dream, of seeing, hearing and feeling new stories, of meeting wise and old, playful and young. Thinking back, I always have William Butler Yeats in the back of my mind. He is definitely my favourite […]

Read More

Resilience

“Most of all, though, I had once again come to the realisation that I unfortunately need more sleep than the average, healthy person. At this stage so, I must start considering my continuous fights against tiredness and “forgetfulness” about needing a lot of sleep, as a pure character flaw.

Perhaps I should also consider this forgetfulness a deliberate act of personal terrorism because who doesn’t like being busy? Who doesn’t like being able to get up in the morning and continue to work and stay awake for the next 12+ hours without falling asleep after 2 hours?”

Read More

Volunteering, a worthy cause

“In fact, for anyone interested in volunteering, research shows it can be beneficial in improving mood, self-esteem and quality of life, and in reducing stress, pain and depression. It also shows that ill people who volunteer, become better at managing their own illness in turn and volunteering can strengthen their immune system.”

Read More

Thank you

No man’s an island, we weave connections through waves of emotions, through faith and happy occasions. This month, I’ve been very lucky to have found waves meeting others, and to have found people with the kindest of hearts, the softest of voices but the strongest of minds. This is for them. Joan, Aoife, Niamh, Karen, […]

Read More

World MS Day 2014 in Ireland

Wednesday, May 28th is World MS Day. All over the world, people will organise events, wear orange, volunteer, work and/or attend conferences to raise awareness about an illness that so far, still cannot be cured. While 2014 is the ‘European Year of the Brain,’ this year’s World MS Day theme is ‘Access.’ Whether this means […]

Read More

The first day

Change is good. So they say, anyway. I totally agree, in fact, I welcome change with open arms. Afraid of new challenges? No, not me. Because change is good.

Read More

Irish Selfie

Weekly Photo Challenge: Selfie: “For this challenge, snap a selfie with your camera phone or camera.” Photo was taken in 2004, on Inish Mór, one of the Aran Islands, Ireland. A selfie, one of the few I take really. ©Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2013. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material […]

Read More