Thursday May 11 2017 12:01 PM
This week Aoife Kirwan articulates her many MS related fears and why she thinks MS is a bit like Ramsey Bolton!
When I first thought about a blog dedicated to fears, I was a bit reluctant to start it. I do have many MS related fears but I don’t often give myself time to really think about them. My mind wanders, one thought leads to another and as they travel, rationality gets lost along the way. It’s difficult to articulate my fears into some sort of logical order that you might be able to read and make sense of, because quite often I can’t make sense of them myself.
I know that MS has the potential to affect me far more than it does now. Knowing the possibilities doesn’t cause fear for me; it is in the not knowing that the fears originate. I like to be informed. I feel more in control when I know the possibilities with MS and I think of information as a sort of armour. The more I know, the more I can do to help myself, to protect myself. Since diagnosis I have been lucky in terms of my relapses, I haven’t really had many and anything that I did have was quite minor and disappeared as fast as it set in. I do feel a bit like a fraud at times- I have MS but I am pretty symptom free (apart from fatigue and concentration issues). Although I am aware of the possibilities, either I have deluded myself or I have mindfully created a ‘safe bubble’ as a coping mechanism to protect me from unexplored fears in my mind. My mind contradicts itself. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have MS, but I always know I have it. I always know the reality of the situation.
I’m sure some of you have watched Game of Thrones, and for those of you who haven’t watched season 6 yet *spoiler alert* skip to the next paragraph - MS is a bit like Ramsey Bolton. The scene where he is shooting arrows at Rickon Stark as Rickon tries to run to safety reminds me of how I feel about MS. I am running, hoping, but also knowing that MS has a long reach and I will eventually be hit by that arrow. Worse than Ramsey killing Rickon Stark, it was how Ramsey dangled freedom in front of him, having him run towards it and then killing him anyway. I am moving through life, carrying on – but the fear of being struck by the MS arrow looms over me because I never know when it’s going to happen. At least knowing the possibilities helps me protect myself, that’s what I mean when I say that information is like armour. If I’m well informed I can help myself, keep myself well and give myself the best chance possible. I just want to do so much with my life before that arrow hits.
I fear not being able to live an ‘ordinary’ life. I look at people my age and often think about how it must be so easy for them not having this extra baggage, but everyone has baggage of some sort! The society we live in is very false. Social media has most definitely had a huge effect on me and people my age.The likes of Instagram and Facebook are filled with pictures of people's seemingly incredible lives. People seem to push the positive things forward, and I am no exception to this.
I know that people get to where they are going in their own time, and that there are no timescales for achieving life’s dreams, but when you fear being out of the work because of MS, the urge to succeed in a short timeframe escalates greatly. I fear not living my life fast enough, not achieving what I want while I can. It's important not to feed into this but its difficult.
Then, I remind myself of this quote I read a while back, ‘A flower doesn’t think of competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms’. Just bloom.