Wednesday February 13th 2013 . The day before my 25th birthday. ‘You have Multiple Sclerosis’.
I was asked the other day how long it took to accept my diagnosis, and my answer? ‘right now. This very moment, after 8 years’. I say that because it wasn’t until that moment that I was able to answer this question confidently, honestly, and outright own my response, FINALLY! It wasn’t until last year that when everything was finally put into perspective for me; one good thing to come out of lockdown was all of the extra thinking and self-analysis of one’s self. A guilt free year off to spend time with me, myself, and I. The events of the past year have changed the world so much, as well as my little world. I am sure that we have all said at one time or another that we ‘just need the world to stop for a bit to check in with our selves’, and that is exactly what happened.
Whilst I have always been vocal about having MS, and I am fully aware of how serious it is, it has still taken 8 years for me to fully accept it within myself. Despite all of the treatments that I have gone through, support groups attended, countless hospital visits, a few counselling sessions thrown in there, or the purchase of various mobility aids including a scooter, there was that hint of denial still. I was just plodding along ‘putting up’ with it. I had accepted that this is my life, but I hadn’t quite accepted the reasoning of why it is. A denial that was masquerading itself in a cloud of smoke and a puddle of alcohol this whole time, a self-medication for me to escape that one thing that I ‘came out’ about. I did do the same thing with coming to terms with my sexuality, whilst I knew I was Gay, did the whole ‘coming out’, it was something that took until I was 32 years of age to fully accept, embrace, and be proud about. TO OWN IT.
I have always had mental health issues , especially during my early twenties, which then just became something that lingered around like a bad smell; a God awful smell that lingers around in your washing machine or shoes but no matter what you do it just wont shift unless you tackle it in the appropriate way or just learn to put up with it. I needed a Calgon for my mental health, or to start wearing socks to protect my brain, so to speak. Although, if it was approached and openly spoken about as it is today, I know this wouldn’t have been the roller coaster of madness that I endured until my early 30s. Then again, I also know that I wouldn’t be doing what I am with my life at the moment, writing this, and the person that I am proud to be today without that time of my life. Over a decade of utter chaos to be brutally honest.
The reason why I have brought up my sexuality and mental health issues is because this was an existing package that I was in possession of before an MS diagnosis was added to this in 2013, and then 4 years later a PD diagnosis. The package had already split open and had bandages of time all over it, but that is it, it was only a temporary fix. There is a fine line between coming out and acceptance. I say this because whilst someone may be out about something in their life, it doesn’t always necessarily mean that they have accepted it.
I am Hannah. I am disabled. I have Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinsonism . I am Gay. I like cheese on my banana bread. My past and present. I own it all.