Leaving Fear Behind and Learning to Trust

Leaving Fear Behind and Learning to Trust
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My eyes are closed. Both arms are in a loose “X” across my chest. I feel my heartbeat quicken as I lean back. I fall. For a moment in time, I am afraid. But before fear takes over, a dozen hands cradle me instead.

A trust fall.

This team-building exercise, in which a person deliberately falls and trusts members of a group to catch them, was done during a three-day workshop. Self-discovery and self-improvement involved relinquishing control. The fear of hitting the ground was eclipsed only by the rush of being caught. I let go and my team had me.

That was two decades ago. One decade before my diagnosis with multiple sclerosis (MS). So much has changed. Can anyone trust fall with a disease like MS? I could say the right thing and offer platitudes. Yet I am left to wonder. I have a loving husband and family who are very much there for me. They are caring and involved. They are supportive.

But this is MS.

I cannot trust fall. This disease is unwieldy. I am afraid to let go. I am unable to close my eyes. I am unwilling to trust. I refuse to fall. I am scared to fall. But that does not preclude me from doing so. It only creates a fear-based reality. My God calls for more. He calls for faith. That faith leads me from fear into acceptance.

This is my MS.

Multiple sclerosis is a disease. It has zero emotional context until we apply such. If we apply fear, we create that association. Similarly, if we hope, we create that. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. We can experience fear without creating a narrative. I am often uplifted by this reminder. I choose to live with my disease rather than fear it. This cognitive choice has saved me from me.

It is easy to fear, and far more difficult to hope. So much about our symptoms elicits fear. Foot drop, pain, numbness, “cog-fog,” and relapses are scary stuff. We wonder if they mean progression or further disability. That association is propagated hearsay and selective literature. Take those same symptoms and admit fear, yet allow hope. Go bigger and allow faith. Hope and faith are more difficult to substantiate. Each is intrinsic and infinite. Each slays fear and accelerates well-being.

We did not choose MS, but we can choose how we coexist. This does not necessitate a trust fall. It requires a leap of faith.

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Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Jennifer Powell is a health writer and weekly columnist on Multiple Sclerosis. She is also an active advocate in the MS community. Jennifer imparts her hopeful optimism into real-life challenges facing the MS community. Prior to writing her column, Jennifer freelanced for several online periodicals including WebMD. When not writing, Jennifer enjoys volunteering with animal rescue, traveling and spending time with her Golden Retriever.
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Jennifer Powell is a health writer and weekly columnist on Multiple Sclerosis. She is also an active advocate in the MS community. Jennifer imparts her hopeful optimism into real-life challenges facing the MS community. Prior to writing her column, Jennifer freelanced for several online periodicals including WebMD. When not writing, Jennifer enjoys volunteering with animal rescue, traveling and spending time with her Golden Retriever.
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