Like many people with multiple sclerosis, my symptoms are mostly invisible. Many days, fatigue overwhelms me and I have pain somewhere. I tingle all over. I have weird sensory symptoms such as the feeling of water rushing down my back, itchy skin, and the top of my ear feels as if it’s being pierced over and over. Does anyone else get that?
From the outside, I look like any other 29-year-old woman. I don’t look sick. I don’t require a cane or a wheelchair. People are quick to forget what I’ve just told them about being in pain or feeling too weak to stand.
If symptoms are invisible, how are others supposed to know that something is wrong with you unless you tell them?
This is MS Awareness Week, but raising awareness is only one part of the solution. I believe it is our obligation to educate others. If people understood what it was like to live with a chronic, invisible condition, would they be more kind?
“Nothing can change until the unspoken is said … ” — Keith J. Cunningham
If we aren’t raising awareness and educating others, nothing can change. Why would it?
Sharing our stories can have an impact on the world. You don’t have to run a marathon or participate in a 24-hour dance-a-thon (unless that’s your jam). Whether you tell a friend, make a video for social media, or shout it from the rooftops, you’re educating others. Sharing your story could influence government policy, improve healthcare, or change perceptions about disabilities. On a smaller — but no less important — scale, it could help someone else come to terms with their condition.
When you start talking about your story, you help those with MS and you show others the importance of being kind. Maybe you’ll start a podcast and share other people’s stories. We never know what’s going on in someone else’s life. We only see what’s in front of us.
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