Is it time for bed yet? That was my first thought as I woke up this morning. I glanced at the clock and it was proudly displaying 6:30 AM. That’s way too far away from the sun going down and me climbing back into bed. I yawned, tried to stretch and yawned some more but only seconds passed. Now the clock says it’s 6:31 AM. At least it’s one minute closer. Maybe I can just lie here for another 720 minutes.
Some days I wake up already knowing how my body is going to behave, and I can already tell that mine is going to be moving slow…turtle slow. I have yet to wake up feeling refreshed and chipper, even after my morning cup of coffee. As a matter of fact, I haven’t felt rested in years. I’m not even sure what it feels like anymore.
I used to hate the kind of people who wake up immediately bouncing around with gusto as soon as they open their eyes. Right about now I wish I had a teeny tiny bit of their morning pep and bounce.
So, how do you function when your body won’t function? What do you do when you have to drag yourself through the day as your body rebels at any and every form of movement? How do you eliminate stress from a day that is the perfect example of being filled with stress? How do you win the fight with your own body?
People don’t quite understand that kind of MS dilemma and how difficult those questions are to answer. They see our bodies and think that nothing is wrong with us. If only they could take a look at the damage hidden beneath our skin and tucked away in our central nervous system. It would tell a completely different story because that’s where the chaos lives.
When your legs are having trouble placing one foot in front of the other to take you where you need to go or your hands contain zero strength as everything you hold comes crashing to the floor, don’t let your inability to do something keep you from living your day.
There’s more to living than walking or holding onto things. Sure MS gets in the way of just about everything we do and tends to add stress in places we didn’t know could be stressful, but don’t let it steal the one thing that will help you through your day…hope.
Hope for a better today than you had yesterday. Hope for more strength when you are at your weakest. Hope for a day of less pain and smaller struggles. Hope for the tears to be dried up and smiles to take their place. Hope for real, genuine friends to become a part of your journey. Hope for hope!
Be kind to yourself today. Don’t push too hard, too fast. Know your limits and say “no” to people demanding more. No is not a dirty word. It’s a word that will save you from many stressful and unnecessary situations. You are in charge of your day. You are the boss, the head honcho, the big cheese of your body. You get to set the pace, no matter how slow it may seem to others.
Remember, being slow isn’t a bad thing. Don’t forget about the tortoise and the hare. Both set off to win a race which the hare should have had no problems in winning, but the tortoise crossed the finish line first. Be the tortoise today. Use your smarts over your body’s abilities and cross the finish line at the end of the day a winner.
*Penelope Conway was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November 2011. She is the author and founder of Positive Living with MS (positivelivingwithms.com) where she uses humor and her own life experiences with MS to help others navigate this unpredictable journey. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day.