It's always eye opening to see your life through the eyes of your loved ones. This last weekend we had a house full of family visiting including my mom and sister. They both comment whenever they visit that our home is quiet, comfortable and welcoming which is exactly how we want it to be for all our guests. It was also the kind of weekend that hopefully reassured my mom and sister that I'm doing ok even with all the health challenges I face. The both worry about me more than they should so are relieved to see me happy and independent in my own environment. The nicest part of their visit for me is that my mom and sister had a great time leaving rejuvenated, refreshed and ready to return to their own busy lives.
I know that in this politically correct world we live in today, people aren't ever quite sure how to refer to a disabled person like myself. Because of this fact, people tend not to say anything at all which only perpetuates the feeling that I have something to be ashamed about. We have a saying in our family that goes something like this: " Call me anything you want but don't call me late to dinner." I don't relish being called handicapped or special needs but in the end, they're just words. I think it more important that people are just aware of the challenges of the disabled and all the disenfranchised population so that everyone feels like they are welcome and worthy. Here's an interesting article a friend shared on FB which speaks to this subject matter.
Walking into the gym this morning as several people jockey to hold the door for me, I realized that I'm finally becoming ok with and feeling grateful for the little things that people do to make life a little easier for me. I never completely understood why I used to have such a visceral reaction to the kindness of friends and strangers until my 79 year old mom admitted that she still recoils when someone offers their arm to help her out. I guess my mom has handed down that stubbornness and fierce independence to me because it's taken many years for me to finally appreciate when someone is just offering a helping hand. It makes people feel good to be of assistance to others so it's really a win-win situation when you can accept a small kindness. I would much prefer an offer of help than for someone to look the other way when they see me struggling so if you run into me out and about, don't be afraid to offer assistance because I will gladly accept it if I need it.
Constant self criticism doesn't create an environment where your body can heal. I know this from first hand experience because I spend so much of the day everyday listening to the negative self talk in my head. I try not to let my disability hold me back in any way but by doing so I can ignore some of the physical signs that should be a warning that I have pushed myself too hard. This is the time of year when you want to spend as much time as possible outside but the heat and humidity can severely aggravate my MS symptoms so I try to stay inside under the air conditioner. But most days, rather than accept this reality and to avoid being seen as different, I have a tendency to ignore my physical limitations to "fit in." By being more concerned with other's perceptions than with taking care of myself, I continue to live in a vicious cycle of abusing my body, becoming fearful at my loss of function and then creating these worse case scenarios in my head. We all can do a better job of listening to our bodies instead of our heads, especially me. A good reminder for me when I am especially self critical is to remind myself that I would never treat a sick child this way so I need to be kind to that "inner child" and honor my limitations.
Hello World. This is a blog we created to give any one affected by MS in any way a constructive way to communicate with others going through the same challenges.