Something has happened to me over the past few months. I seem to have gone from living in denial about having MS, to letting it cloud everything that I do. I remember distinctly the day I was told I had it. I stood at the front door about to put the key in the lock, and suddenly got a vivid thought: I had a clear choice – I could either respond to my diagnosis with a lifetime of bitterness and despair, OR, I could watch and see what good things God was going to bring out of it. That is a choice, I see now, that I have to make every day. Sadly it’s not a straight-forward one-off thing.
Going to counseling recently has helped me see that I was far from ok with having MS – all I’d done was to deny it, or push down my experiences of it as deep as I possibly could. That kind of worked, but surprising anger and tears would come, for no apparent reason, and I realised that denial was not going to hold all that at bay forever. Now, though, I have started to let myself be angry and sad for the real reasons, and it’s a terrifying place to be. I hope that this is a process, and that my slow acceptance does not turn into a permanent feeling of defeat.
I have encountered many people with health issues, and an interesting pattern has emerged. Seemingly with a stamped on disability, you can either be a hero, or you can be a victim. You can either defy your disability, or you can be destroyed by it – allowing it to map out your life, blind you to the needs of others, and invade all your conversations. Hence this blog: I can let myself be the self-absorbed victim here. But oh how I would love to be a hero.