Living with M.S.

"Living with M.S. is sort of like training for a long race. The harder you try, and the longer you keep at it, the stronger you become.
Eventually, looking back, you may be amazed at the power you possessed, even when you had no idea it was within your reach." (Linda Ann Nickerson)

Friday

Sometimes feeling overwhelmed ain't half bad




Standing strong with multiple sclerosis can be a tall order. In fact, sometimes standing up at all with MS is tough to manage. But maybe that’s when we find out how tall and tough we really are.

British essayist, poet, and playwright T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), who happened to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948, likely didn’t face MS, but he certainly endured challenges in his life. Eliot may be best remembered as the author of The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock, Murder in the Cathedral, and The Waste Land.

Here’s a thought-provoking quotation from T.S. Eliot that seems to fit life with MS to a tee.


"If you aren't in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?"


Maybe Eliot was talking about treading water, not living with MS. But sometimes it sort of feels like the same thing. How many MSers have dreamed big dreams and set ambitious goals for ourselves, only to find we are barely coping with mundane life when the MS MonSters knocks us flat for a while?

Sometimes, the seemingly smallest day-to-day victories over MS challenges feel like grander triumphs than the major mountains we have climbed or milestones we have met. Sure, that decades-old diploma, last year’s career promotion, or last week’s honorary award are meaningful indeed. But getting out of bed and simply showing up during an MS exacerbation may merit even greater self-satisfaction.

When MS seeks to sideline us with numbness, vertigo, extreme fatigue, sensory overload, vision losses, and other staggering symptoms, we may feel overwhelmed. Sure, we do. But we slug right back, as best as we can.

And we grow.

I’m not a tall person. No one would ever describe me as statuesque. In fact, I have endured more than my share of short person jokes. Perhaps that’s another reason I love this quotation from T.S. Eliot. When I stand up to the MS MonSter, I might gain stature, at least figuratively. And I know plenty of other MSers who can claim the same – even more so.

Maybe some of us are taller than we think we are.

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