the balance.

Practicing restraint may be my biggest life challenge.

I’ve been feeling so, so good. Generally speaking, since my Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. Generally speaking, since I crossed over 40 and my body began screaming for me to go to bed before 11pm and eat less junk. Generally speaking, I have been feeling great.

Around the same time my body began to feel a bit better and a lot less fatigued, a friend of mine gave me a pep talk. We were discussing the many losses of Covid that no one wants to bitch about too outwardly because compared to getting incredibly sick or dying, they seem oh so trivial. But I think there is a time and a place where we should allow ourselves to mourn the small losses alongside the bigger ones. The absence of so many things that bring us daily bliss, like dinners out and travel and drinks with friends and spa days. The loss of stress relievers and coping mechanisms and emotional outlets. My friend and I particularly discussed my utter loss of creativity.

So we vented and we felt better and we went home, and all the while quite simultaneously my body began to feel strong. The next day I woke up and found myself full of ideas. Images and blog posts and support group discussions and podcast episodes. Creativity in abundance. It overflowed. It had been bubbling under the surface this whole time.

But there is always MS, always a catch, forever a catch-22.

I found myself staying up late, waking up early, tossing and turning over the ideas and the elation of their return. Finally, months of creativity literally pouring out of me at all hours. Within days I knew this was not going to end well. My MS body needs balance and rest and a slower, even pace in the world. And more rest, and sleep and more rest. Without it, I fall apart, bit by bit, my brain turning to fog and my legs turning to brick.

So I quickly found a way back to the balance, to the measured, to the steady. The ideas are quieting but the body feels good.

It’s a conundrum – how to embrace rare moments of energy, make the most of bursts of vitality with strives forward, all while holding back and taking it easy and treading lightly. How to know when the cliff is approaching, when I am about to hit a wall of pain, when the stress is almost at capacity.

MS needs me, begs me, to figure out the ideal harmony of it all. And I will. I am learning the skill of restraint, the art of practice, even if there is no perfect.

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