Most people with a chronic illness will go through a period of fear, it’s a natural human response to a terrifying diagnosis. With MS, fear of the future is particularly strong and you find yourself thinking, “Will I be able to work, will I be able to walk…………..”
I can handle fear of the future, I don’t think about it too much and recognise that no two MSers are the same so I have no way of predicting what will happen. Denial is a very handy defence mechanism for MSers when thinking about the future!
I realised last week that what I fear the most is not the future but the present and this is what affects my life the most.
There was a picnic after school to say goodbye to a lovely family who are moving back to India. For able bodied people this is an easy, summer activity. The kids are occupied and the Mums can sit and chat in the sunshine. For me it is terrifying.
The fear started creeping up on me about 2 days before but escalated throughout the day. It would be the first time I had to deal with lifting my scooter out of my car on my own and I had no idea if I could manage it. I’d put off practicing in the driveway as I never felt up to it enough but now I had no choice! I was also panicking about driving the scooter on the grass and began imagining being stranded in the middle of the park with no way of getting back to the path, wheel spinning and sweating while the other Mums looked the other way, twiddling their fingers and whistling!
By the time I picked my Son up from school I was a bundle of nerves, I bumped into two of the Mums and stuttered away at them about where I was going to park and how I was going to manage it. I said, “I’ll just have to leave him with one of you and come back for him later if I can’t manage” and remember feeling relieved that I’d given myself a way out.
They both assured me they would help and promised to keep in touch by phone so I drove to the park with my son in tow.
I parked with no trouble and was just grabbing my sticks and heaving myself out of the car when I glanced in the rear view mirror. My six year old son had opened the boot and was lifting the scooter out easily! He’d wheeled it round to me before I had time to even get out! I was so happy I nearly cried! There was a hairy moment when we realised my Travelscoot doesn’t “do” gravel but a nice man lifted it across the car park for me and saw us safely away!
What was I so afraid of that I nearly gave up and missed out on the picnic? Why did it feel so good when I gave myself a way out? The sense of achievement was enormous and I was glad I went but why do I do it to myself every time I do anything new?
What do other MSers think?