Growing up in a spiritual family, I can remember hearing the words “we are not going to claim it.” These were words of comfort, hope, and support when a catastrophic event was impending. The dictum was to pray, believe in what you pray for, and to “not claim” whatever was going on.
This week’s column intends to explain what I believe is the difference between claiming a thing and accepting the reality of what is.
Over the holiday weekend, I spent some time with my family, which is always a blessing. A roundtable discussion led me to write this column. We were discussing different ailments and symptoms, and I disclosed my current symptoms, feelings, and concerns regarding my multiple sclerosis. I divulged how my short term memory continues to elude me at times. I explained my concerns regarding my present reality, and the implications for the future with MS.
My loved one told me to stop claiming what is happening or what may happen in the future. Each time I hear these words, their effect on me waivers between comforting and troublesome. Let me explain.
I know there is no intention to insult me. Most people are uncomfortable talking about illness. There was a time when I would have avoided further discussion. I realize now that it is not my responsibility to make anyone feel comfortable talking about the disease that I live with. I realize I don’t have to hide my pain and reality to make others feel better. However, I do recognize the emotional toll an illness can have on my loved ones.
“Don’t claim it.” What exactly am I not supposed to claim? My MS diagnosis that has been confirmed by esteemed medical professionals? Should I not claim the results of the tests that substantiate that diagnosis? What about the lesions on my brain and cervical spine? Should I ignore empirical evidence that’s resulted from years of observation?
Please know that I am not writing this column with an air of contention or a condescending tone. I want to explain that it is counterproductive for me not to claim an illness that I have been diagnosed with. It is here. In black ink, verified by my blood, sweat, tears, nerves, tissues, and fluids. Failing to state my reality is synonymous with failing to accept all of me. The antithesis of acceptance is denial, and I cannot exist in that space.
I can stand in my authenticity because I have accepted my multiple sclerosis diagnosis. I can’t fight a battle without identifying the threat. I don’t know my mission if I am uncertain of my condition. Claiming any disease is difficult, yet it is necessary.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?