The chronic illness I have, that somewhat limits my life, is Multiple Sclerosis (MS). This illness has an unknown cause, at this point in time, although there is much work going on to find a cause, a cure, and treatments to offer to those of us suffering the effects of it. I currently take a medication that is helping to limit the effects of the damage done to my body and mind, I hope, and hoping further for a possible cure at some stage.
In the meantime though, I am taking my meds, eating a nutritionally sound diet (most of the time), and doing the things that I love to do, and that bring me the most joy in life. Creative writing, involvement with community, watching my favourite sports, being with friends and family, doing these things helps me to be happy. That first item, creative writing has been a tool I’ve used throughout my last thirty or so years, writing about abuse, and about this pernicious illness.
I have books about both of these things, the first a poetry collection on sexual abuse, and the second a memoir I wrote quite soon after MS came into my life. When I was diagnosed I looked for books that would help me to find ways to live a good life with MS, but couldn’t find what I as after. I then decided to write that book myself, and it certainly helped me, as I know it has helped others.
Now MS is an autoimmune disease, with symptoms being the result of the body attacking itself, particularly the myelin sheaths of the Central Nervous System. This attacking causes lesions, or scarring, which in turn slows the passage of nerve impulses throughout the body. At the moment, I am more or less, in remission from these symptoms, with only milder symptoms compared to how I’ve been when I have been in relapse.
When that had occured, I’ve suffered from readibly discernable muscle weakness, leading to trips and falls, dropping things, and also leading to fatigue that takes much more than a simple rest for a few minutes to get over. So yes, I feel damaged by this disease, as I also feelk damaged by various bad things that happened to me in my early, childhood and teen years. There has been talk about the way traumas such as abuse, certainly including sexual abuse, can have long lasting effects on the body. I read things like this and wonder, did that early abuse I suffered from as a child and then teenager lead to me getting MS?
I will probably never really know the answer to this question, but I wonder. in this wondering, I read things about it, I ponder things, I write things (on this blog and in other places too). On day, I would like to take my wonderings to a broader audience and talk to other people about these things … Talking to people and sharing stories, these are age old ways community has always had to deal with problems, and I have certainly felt benefits from being involved in such things.
When you suffer, and think deeply about things happening to you, you can sometimes find profound answers to the things that trouble you, and sharing those answers with other people who are also suffer can help both yourself, and those others. I responded to a post on Facebook today with the following thought:
“Only those who can admit to their damage can truly heal, both themselves, and others …”
I sometimes surprise myself with my own wisdom, as in this case … I’d love to know some of your own bits of wisdom, please feel free to share them here, with a comment!