Mind Full?

balloonI don’t know about you guys, but when I wake in the morning, the first thing I do before tumbling out of bed, is mentally scan my body.

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).

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8 thoughts on “Mind Full?

  1. Judy Epstein says:

    I love your writing. I never knew that writing meant so much to you. Thank you for doing it – I enjoy it.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thank you so much!
      I really, really do. My whole life I’ve been a voracious, avid reader and always, in the back of my mind, I dreamt about being a writer. But you know what it’s like – life gets in the way. Well, when MS swept my old life away, it was time to do something about it!
      I’m over the moon to be taking a Masters in something I passionately love, and although I struggle with some aspects of it, it’s worth it. So who knows, maybe if I put my mind to it, I could take it even further 🙂

  2. Tripping says:

    The numb hand thing happens to me all the time. What is that!? Often it wakes me in the night and I hold them in the air until they return to normal.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      It’s most odd! Just started in the last month or so and I have no idea why it happens 🙁 Another MS trick, lol.

  3. Jonny says:

    I second what Judy Epstein says about ‘enjoying your writing’ DO KEEP IT UP !!..OH….before I forget, what is DRECK ?

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thank you!!
      Dreck means rubbish – think it’s a Yiddish/Germanic word I seem to have picked up on my travels 🙂

      • Judy Epstein says:

        I grew up hearing the word dreck all the time in daily conversation as my parents had grown up speaking Yiddish. It seems to have become a part of English, even if not everyone knows what it means.

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