I have always been my toughest critic, which sounds like a cliche, I know. My expectations of myself can often be crippling, as any sense of failure is devastating, distorting the order in my life that I crave so much. I find it hard to see past my own sense of defeat to see any external factors that could have contributed to my lack of success.
Last year, in my third year of university, I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. News such as this would floor anybody, as we always perceive disease as something that happens to someone else, which means we are never really prepared for the revelation that it isn’t someone else, it’s you. From that moment, I have felt that my life has collapsed and at times it has seemed as though this sickness has infected every part of my life: it has thrown me off the career path I believed I was following, made my relationships with loved ones difficult at times and has made me truly hate being me.
Although I was diagnosed around 18 months ago, I haven’t come close to accepting that I have MS and still expect a letter to come through the door telling me that there’s been a mistake. At times I feel like I have failed at life by becoming sick, which sounds ridiculous, I know. I can’t help thinking that I have done something to let this illness creep into my body and take control of its functions. I often ask myself “how could I have let this happen?”
But I am not a weak person. I am a fighter, always have been. I have made a commitment to myself that I will not let this invader defeat me. I will not allow myself to become a victim, as I believe that the second you let yourself fall into that mindset, the war is over. MS has won.
It may have taken over a year, but I have finally realised that I am still me. I am still ambitious and hungry for success. There will be challenges to deal with, but I can face them.
I’ve started this blog for two reasons: as a way to empty my head of deafest thoughts and to maybe help other people with chronic illnesses see that a diagnosis may be hard to swallow, but you can’t give up.