It’s fun to think that we can not only lead normal lives but that MS, or any other disease for that matter, is a blessing – creating a stronger bond with your partner leading to a deeper love than any “normal” person would understand.
Forget that such a huge number of marriages fail (I would have taken the easy route and used a real number like 50% but there really isn’t one since different areas report it in different ways). It’s a little like saying you’re going to be a movie star or a singer in a band when you grow up.
It does happen, yes, but we only focus on the successes – the fairy tales – and don’t care about the fact that statistically, it’s not going to happen. If we failed to dream, we’d all just give up and become garbage men.
It would also make it pretty tough to sell stuff. Stuff like disease modifying drugs or the magazines they advertise in that promote these dreams.
Being in a successful relationship is work and even then, even when both parties want it to work, it might not.
Oh – and then there’s the physical problems. Maybe they’re mechanical. Like if you have scaring on your spine or some other injury or illness that affects your lower extremities.
Maybe you’re like me and your hands don’t work well, if at all. There’s nothing quite like a romantic dinner when you’re wearing a pair of mittens, is there? The physical problems are bad enough but the mental anguish that goes along with it puts it over the edge.
Maybe there are psychological barriers. Do I want to commit to someone that I’ll have to take care of for the rest of my life? Do I want to put that burden – that expectation – on someone else?
I have always been known for positivity – for looking at the bright side. There’s a fine line, though, between being positive and being unrealistic.
I feel very strongly that having a great attitude puts you in a better mental state, which puts you in a better physical state. It’s scientifically proven. Your immune system, which has an obvious and direct impact on your health, is tied to your brain and impacted by your outlook. Dreaming is what makes us improve, or at least not get worse so fast.
Is being positive letting everyone else off of the hook, though? If I can make lemonade out of my situation then it’s really not so bad, right? If magazines don’t push the fairy tales, will drug companies keep giving them money?
Attaching the possibility of a normal life to their products sure helps sales! So we have to decide. Like The Dude once said – “Fuck it.”
“Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar eats you.” – The Stranger (The Big Lebowski)
The moral of the story is that our disability has put us at a disadvantage. In order to move up the food chain, we need to not compound that disability by acting helpless.
Don’t apologize for anything. If you do, you’ll always be self-conscious. Be completely intentional and matter-of-fact about everything you do. It’s not your responsibility to make their decisions – you have enough to deal with.
I say keep it to yourself. If your disease is progressive, don’t say anything. It’ll present itself when the time is right. Just have a good time and don’t burden yourself with fairytales and “what if’s.”
If you look for the bad – you’ll find it. If you expect the bad – it’ll happen. Be your best and don’t worry about what anyone else is thinking.
“I’m not the type of person who’ll disrupt things just so I can shit comfortably.” – Dante (Clerks)
Don’t be Dante.