Relationships when you’re living with MS are like ladders; sometimes you have to climb up or down to meet someone in the middle. Occasionally you have to know when to stand your ground and stay on a particular rung of the ladder. There might be times when you must abandon a ladder because of the buzzing hornets’ nest at the top. Better to wait until later when the “hornet” has calmed down a bit. Or, if you do start to climb the ladder, make sure you are properly armed and prepared for the potential to get stung. Hopefully the pain from the sting will pass and you will feel stronger and more positive for overcoming it. When you’re living with MS, supportive relationships are vital.
My golden rule is to decide whether the issue is important enough to take a firm stand on the ladder. When it is a moral issue I do exactly what my morals dictate; stay where I am. With other issues, I might climb up or down to meet the other person halfway. Sometimes even all the way down the ladder if it’s important enough.
Although I always try not to make a big deal of small things, I have to admit being born in November, the Scorpio in me sometimes has the upper-hand. You can imagine how quickly a very insignificant issue can escalate into something huge, especially with MS in the mix as well. To get back to where you should be and would like to be on the relationship ladder afterwards can then be much more difficult.
Knowing when to climb up or down, when to stay where you are or when to stay away from a relationship ladder completely is the tricky part. Different relationships, different ladders, will require different actions.
The view from the top of the relationship ladder can be absolutely spectacular when you’re standing there together, holding hands with your loved one. For example, on some days, receiving a red rose could make a girl’s heart bounce with joy, and send her and her loved one straight to the top. But sometimes getting to the top together might be not so easy. You might need someone, a friend perhaps, to hold the ladder steady and enable you to get where you need to be. And then sometimes you might have to hold that friend’s ladder steady in return.
With little kids, relationship ladders are easier. All you need to say is “get down from that ladder and come to Mommy!”. As kids grow into teenagers it gets a little more complicated: “Get down from that ladder and come here!”, “Why?”, “Because if you don’t, I will deduct pocket money”. There might be a little more to-ing and fro-ing up and down the ladder, but you will always come back together in the end.
As far as the rest of our relationships ladders are concerned, all I can say is start climbing. Each and every one of these relationships are worth it. In the end, the gift is being together, knowing that you love and care about each other. Whether it is the love of your life, your child, grandchild, family member, friend or colleague, you will know where on the ladder you need to be; just listen to your heart, your mind and your MS.