Like a lot of people I’ve spoken to over the last few years, coping with something life-changing such as MS puts things into perspective. Life is constantly throwing up obstacles and no one ever said it’d be easy.
But isn’t that the point? We expect things to tick along nicely – the fulfilling job, the blessed marriage, the nice house, the well-behaved kids – and in striving to achieve all that security, we bring the stress into our lives. When things go wrong, we can’t cope.
I read an article the other day about the American philosopher Alan Watts, who wrote ‘The Wisdom of Insecurity’, a radical approach to dealing with anxiety. He writes that in uncertain times, we respond by chasing after security in order to make the worry disappear, but the struggle to feel secure is the very thing that causes anxiety.
He puts the case that life is inherently insecure and the only way not to feel insecure is to dive straight into reality, with all its uncertainties.
Blimey. Mind-bending stuff for my MS brain, but I think without realising it, it’s the way I live now. I have struggled over the last decade to create security for me and The Teenager and it’s been a daily uphill slog. My anxiety levels have shot through the roof at times. And then one beautiful, sunny day, MS crashed into my life and smashed it to smithereens, unveiling the stark reality that there was in fact no security in my life at all.
So, post MS-devastation, I have handled this unexpected accident pretty well. It happened. It’s grim. But there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it and raging about how this has yet again brought chaos and uncertainty to my life won’t do me any good. Life is never secure and anyone living with MS knows that, so why not turn it to our advantage?
Forget the roses, I’m just like bamboo now – I sway with the wind but I won’t break.