Recently I’ve been waking up with completely numb hands, so I wave them around for a bit until they return to normal.
Weeks ago, it was cramps in my legs (I didn’t wave them around – too energetic. And weird).
I use the waiting time to take a few deep breaths and compose myself for the day ahead.
Downstairs, when I fill the kettle, I think about the kettle and only the kettle, after dropping it one too many times. Ditto my mug; my mind is purely on the task at hand.
Fast-forward the day and when I walk to the car, I carefully place one foot in front of the other, ready for the inevitable foot-drop (whoops, there it goes). I am totally aware of my surroundings.
So it was interesting to read an article recently about the benefits of mindfulness for coping with MS. The exercises were spookily similar – being totally aware of waking up and getting out of bed, concentrating on every movement. Yup. Making a cup of coffee – concentrating on every movement. Yup. Walking. Yup.
Whaddya know? I’ve been effortlessly mindful since I was diagnosed. In a way.
I remember telling someone a while back that one of the ‘benefits’ (and I use this word loosely) of MS is that it concentrates the mind – on what is important and what’s not worth bothering about. I started shrugging off earlier niggles and annoyances. I started being thankful for small pleasures.
It helped that my brain went into jelly-mode and could only handle so much information at one time and when you’ve got a limited Brain Space, you just want to fill it up with good things. I did an inventory of my life and chucked out the dreck.
I began to be mindful of how I wanted to live my new life with MS. This is where writing comes in. I adore it. I live and breathe reading books, newspapers, menus, Ikea catalogues, anything. I always wanted to write but always doubted I could. MS created that space.
So I’m trying to use and build on this mindfulness. However, there are still certain things I will never be able to do, no matter how mindfully I apply myself to the task – creating the perfect sweep of eyeliner, using one of those stove-top Italian coffee pot thingies, cutting my own fringe and baking the perfect brownie (just ask The Teenager).