That was all that kept running through my mind as I sat in the hospital on a stuffy summers day, just after being told that I had Multiple Sclerosis. Is it my fault? Did I do something to cause this? Now don't get me wrong, I probably had a similar diet to every twenty-something person I knew; fags, booze, drugs (sorry to any family members reading this), takeaways every now and then and a lot of snacks - usually chocolate. As all of this crossed my mind, I really did curse myself for not being one of these gym obsessed, smoothie loving, going for runs every day people that are so easy to come across on Instagram these days. Then after being reassured by health professionals, family and friends, I finally realised that unfortunately it is just one of those diseases that has no person specification or preference, it can happen to literally anyone and I am now part of that lucky bunch.
Although I had been told that I had MS, I was also told that treatment could not go ahead until I have another relapse, or flare up as it is also called. Looking back now, I don't feel like this information really registered in my head as the only thing I had taken in was 'I now have this thing, but I'm also fine because I don't need anything for it yet apart from painkillers and some special antidepressants.' So in the following months that ensued, I quit my job as a barber which was my whole career for nearly 8 years, I isolated myself emotionally - I cut ties with people that I still actually wanted in my life, I just didn't want to face the fact that I wasn't handling things as well as I thought I was and they had realised that before me. I went out constantly with friends and kept using the excuse 'I can still have a normal life and go out and enjoy myself with my friends,' which is true, but at the rate I was going, I was only causing further problems for myself and my mental health.
Anyway, fast forward to now (February 18th 2022), the weather is terrible; we are in the middle of storm Eunice, but part of me can't help but to enjoy this weather because it means I get to make the most of how cosy the house is and snuggle with my dogs. Earlier this week, I had an appointment with my neurologist to review how my MS is doing so far and unfortunately it was not great news. I have developed more lesions on my brain, which means that I will have to receive treatment a lot sooner than I was expecting - for some reason, I thought it was going to be at least another year. It scared the shit out of me because I think it has only just started to kick in how serious this whole thing was; I'm going to have this disease now for the rest of my life, so I better start looking after myself where I can. I currently feel like I am mourning this part of me that I will now never get back - the girl that used to go out every weekend, drink vodka like it was juice, smoke fags like I never knew they were bad for you and generally make decisions that I knew weren't good for me, but it didn't matter at the time because I was invincible. I was young, care free, I have my whole life ahead of me, what did it matter?
Of course, a lot of this whole experience has been negative, but it has brought so many unexpected positives. Mine and my partner's relationship is now better than ever, I appreciate my friends and family so much more, I look at life with a whole new perspective now and I really do appreciate the little things. I can imagine that this won't be an easy journey, but it will be worth it.