When MultipleSclerosis.net contributor Anita Williams wrote “Beggars Can Be Choosy” about what society believes about people living with the diagnosis, she hit a nerve. She brought to light many of the negative stereotypes that are often not openly discussed.
After Williams’ article was shared to the MultipleSclerosis.net Facebook page, it sparked a response from nearly 150 community members. Here is what was shared.
Having MS does not make someone broken
Too often, people with MS can believe the lie that having an illness makes them hard to love or accept. There is a societal belief that having a disease makes someone “broken” or somehow “less than.” This is a horrible lie.
When it comes to relationships, true love is unconditional, not transactional. Loving someone means loving who they are as a person, not loving how many chores they can do, meals they can make, or how much they can do for someone else. That kind of transactional love is not healthy.
“This is exactly how I was made to feel. It is now 4 years after my divorce, and I now realize that I am a good person and not broken. I will be fine and, God willing, I will find the person who can love me as I am. My ex is the one with the problem, not me. He will not ever find the perfection he is looking for because nobody is perfect. He only thinks he is.”
“Two days before I married, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The marriage ended, but not due to my illness. During our marriage, I often heard, ‘Wow, and he still married you?’ Yes, he did.”
Others believe someone with MS is “lucky” to be married
So many community members shared that they, like the author, had been told that they are lucky to have a partner. This is never a kind thing for someone to say, nor is it true. Having an illness does not make someone less loveable. Some community members shared that they do feel lucky to have a partner. But truly, everyone who has a partner is blessed to have found love.
“Ugh, it is true. I do not know how many times I have been called ‘lucky’ to have my partner. I wonder if anyone has ever told him he was lucky to have me. It is doubtful.”
Both partners are lucky to have one another
In a true partnership, both people will feel lucky to have one another. Each person brings their own unique gifts. Both people will give to one another, and both will receive – that is what partnership means.
Many in the community shared that they have no doubts about the value that they bring to a relationship. They know that having MS does not limit their self-worth. They also see that their partner is lucky to be with them.
“My husband is wonderfully supportive, as I am to him. A couple of years ago, he nearly died from sepsis and had to have his leg amputated. It was a dreadful time, and he needed a lot of nursing, which, at first, was hard with the MS. But we muddled through together, and I think we are even closer now.”
“I am lucky to have my partner, and we are lucky to have each other. We take care of each other.”
“In reality, I know I am lucky to have my husband with me, and he knows he is lucky to have me in his life. It does not really matter what anyone else thinks or says.”
“Personally, I think he is bloody lucky to have me!”
“Oh, way to go! I was married over 20 years before I was diagnosed, but I married a man with character, and he knows he is lucky to have me. I am not a victim. MS, nor any other disease, will never cheapen my value.”
Thank you to everyone who shared. We are grateful to hear from so many community members about your personal experiences.