They’re just words. A series of letters written on paper, typed on a keyboard or said out loud. They can’t throw punches or fight you to the ground, but that doesn’t mean they can’t hurt. “Billie… smile!”
Brutal pain in face because of trigeminal neuralgia… smiling however painful in a majestic way.
“Billie, this is a business company, not the beach!”
Sitting in front of PC at work with sunglasses on because of facial and eye pain. Same as above… Argh!!!
“Oh Bee you’re such a bad dancer!” My balance has gone totally out of whack the last ten years or so, and it therefore makes me fail to stick to the rhythm of the music… Pppfffttt…
“It must be great being sick so much, it’s like a long holiday!”
Oh yeah, I just ab-so-lu-te-ly love feeling like I’ve been railroaded by a heavy hauler on ice skates while being cooked inside out while my brain is in a fog and my eyes and face are being pulled left, right and centre on a daily basis… Holiday my bleep!
“Look at her, Monday morning and still drunk!”
I nearly fell between the train and the platform one day, even with standing behind the yellow line, because of loss of balance when the train whooshed by… even a teetotaller like me can look drunk without actually being so.
These words might just be background noise to some, but to a person with a neurological illness like multiple sclerosis, those very words can cut like tiny slithers of glass.
It’s true that if you let them, past experiences can build up and shape further patterns and life experiences. Some of those patterns can have a deep impact, and I guess it’s fair to say that I have been cut by glass-like words more than I would like to admit.
The trick is not allowing these words to impact how I see myself in the present. And how I will live in the future. I know it’s up to me to choose the kind of value I attach to these words. After all, we’re all the creator of our own reality and I am still the boss of what goes on in my Brain (capital B because it often feels left out these days). Occasionally though, having been the victim of bullying in a previous life, little trinkets still manage to enter my consciousness
What I have learned, is how to take ownership of not just my illness. I took ownership of how I allow myself to feel when others just say words they – more than likely – never really dissected before saying them. I cannot blame those who say things that hurt when they don’t know about MS. And I have learned how to react when I hear them again. Without blame, without anger, just a quippy little internal dialogue. While I can fill books about the way people react to others living with a chronic illness, especially those who do know about MS, there’s no point in rehashing old news. After all, I am still the CEO of my own brain and there’s no way I’m retiring from that role any time soon.