Stop and Smell the Coffee

Karen O’Shea
Written by
Karen O’Shea

Here I am sitting with a steaming hot cup of coffee watching the world going by. The house is completely silent, and I have absolutely nothing to do. I never have nothing to do! It’s the first day back after school holidays and I’m indulging myself a little by having a quiet day sitting around and relaxing. This may seem normal but for some people, but for me it is far from it. Whether I’m walking the dog, petting the cat, putting away clothes, or making the bed, I always have to be doing something. I’m not the kind of person that likes to “take it easy.“ At least, I wasn’t until multiple sclerosis came into the picture.

When I was diagnosed with MS nine years ago, my whole world changed. To say it was a shock is like saying a river of volcanic liquid coming towards you is just a trickle. You could try to describe it but no words would give it justice. At the time, I was so determined that I would not let it change my life in any way that I probably made a rod of sorts in my own back. In my head, I was going to be the exact same as I was before MS came knocking. Was I able to keep going as normal? Of course not. Fatigue got me on a regular basis, emotion found me hiding under the bed, and gravity has defied me so many times it would be impossible to try and quantify it. Do you think I’ve learned? That would be a big, fat no. . In my head I know that I need to sit down and relax everyone once in a while, but it’s often difficult to avoid all of the chores that need to be done.

What is different about today though? Today I’m going to listen to my body, and you should too. I’m going to sit here and take a break because my body and my mind need it. It does not make me any less of a person. The problem with taking a stance is sometimes people think that you don’t need help, that you are managing just fine. However, I’ve come to the realisation that everything isn’t the same anymore, and I could use help every now and then.

As people living with MS, it is important to know that we’re not perfect. We all fall down, cry, laugh, love, and ultimately are fallible. Although I’ve been completely headstrong since my diagnosis, I knew that I needed to make a change and learn to relax. MS is unpredictable, and we all need to accept that. Although we have no control over our MS, we can do things to adapt to it- we rest when we need to, we cut out stress, and most importantly we ask for help when we need it. It only took nine years for me to get to the place of being able to sit down and enjoy my morning coffee, but now that I can, I realize that change is good!

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