Bravery

I’m overwhelmed by how amazing everyone has been since I made the decision to be open about having MS.

I spent so long wondering if I should tell people about my illness. I’m not quite sure what I was scared of, maybe I was afraid it would make it more real, that people would treat and look at me differently.

The weeks following my diagnosis were lonely and a constant rollercoaster of emotions. I felt like I was carrying around this big, dark secret all the time. But getting it out there in the open has been the biggest relief. I know there’ll be tough times ahead and the illness is always lurking around the corner, but I’m learning more about it every day and telling people has given me some control back. It’s like a weight has been lifted and I hope that being open about it will allow some good to come from it, be that through raising money for charity or just reminding other people that they’re not alone with whatever it is they’re facing.

People often use the word brave to describe someone going through an illness, but I think that bravery is in us all if we’re forced to look. It’s the ability to keep going, to keep putting one foot in front of the other despite the death of a loved one, despite illness of any kind, despite anything that makes life that little bit harder. We just keep going – but it’s easier when you realise you’re not alone on that journey.

I’m not going to pretend I’m some sort of overly optimistic person who hasn’t been affected by this diagnosis. I have days where my body just won’t work like it used to and I just want to cry and hide away from the world, or I want to cry just because, because you don’t always need a reason. But I find it easier to deal with if I focus on the positives, no matter how small they are. When I end up needing to rest because I’ve inevitably overdone it again, I’ll always lie in the bed with the curtains and windows wide open, letting the sun stream through and the breeze rush in. It reminds me that I’m still alive and the world can still be a beautiful place.

I’m more determined than ever to seize the moment because none of us truly know what’s around the corner. So if it’s even for five minutes a day, stop and think about all the good things in your life, count each breath, each step and make every single one of them matter.

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