If you are living with a disability, or a chronic illness like multiple sclerosis, how do you choose to approach life?
Some people will say “You must” or “You must not” do this, that, or the other. But, in my opinion, they are wrong. I will only urge you to do certain things, no more. No, ‘you must’ or ‘you should’. Not from me.
We are all individuals and need to form our own opinions and make our own decisions. The human race is not an actual race, not a contest. We are each unique and do not benefit from comparison to other people.
Therefore, what follows is not a list of rules to follow. They are just things that I do, that I would urge you to consider.
Focus on what you can do – and do it. I put what I can no longer do where it belongs. By that, I mean as a happy memory from my past.
Keep calm. By that I mean, when faced with a problem or difficulty, I think about how to overcome it. It’s important not to panic, I take my time and think my way through it.
Don’t worry too much about the future. Sure, if there is anything that can be done to make life better, then by all means I’ll do it. However, in the words of an old song, “Whatever will be, will be, The future’s not ours to see”, so there is little point worrying about it. Perhaps it would be better to consider what we do with our lives now, rather than what might, or might not, happen in years to come.
Grasp opportunities in life
Live life to the full. I grasp every opportunity that presents itself. In the past six years, I have divorced and remarried; gone to the most northern point of mainland Europe; visited Hawaii, New York, and Moscow; crossed the Atlantic by cruise ship; and moved to live in Spain. There’s an adage in the business world that is perfect for us. And that is not to see problems as insurmountable obstacles but as opportunities to be taken. In other words, turn a negative into a positive.
Live your life as you want to live. While I urge you to live positively, ultimately how you live your life is your own decision.
Accept the love of those nearest and dearest to you, and make sure you show your love for them in return. Think about it for a moment, where would we be without their support?
No man is an island, so the saying goes, and that is true. Whether or not you have a disability, isolation is not an easy choice. While I prize my independence, as I am sure you do, sometimes I do need help. You will too. At such times, we don’t need to be too independent or proud to accept assistance – or even ask for it.
Value yourself. Please don’t fall into the trap of believing that your disability makes you worthless. You do have value as an individual with your own opinions, as a member of your community
Live your life, speak your truth. While speaking out will come easer to some than others, it is important that we speak for ourselves. We need to be our own advocates; no one else can do it as well as ourselves.
Happy New Year.
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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.
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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. I am not a doctor and cannot and do not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely my own unless otherwise stated.