A Reminder to Self

ratty-old-booksSometimes you meet someone and for some inexplicable reason, you click with that person.  Has that ever happened to you?  It doesn’t matter whether they have Multiple Sclerosis or not.  In the world of mutual admiration, illness takes a back seat.

At the same time, sometimes you meet someone and for some reason they rub you the wrong way.  Getting to know them better, you realize that what you first felt is still how you feel weeks or months later.  Has that ever happened to you?

Then there are strangers whom you haven’t met.  You know what I mean?  For instance, people walking towards you on the sidewalk.  You smile at them and they don’t smile back?  You’ve seen them.  I’m sure you have.  Or are you the type of person that doesn’t smile at strangers?  I smile at them all the time, when I’m out that is, which isn’t very often.  These people look at you and they will react one way or another.

It is evident that something is wrong with you.  Either you are walking with a cane, leaning on someone’s arm, in a wheelchair, or walking like you’re drunk and hanging on the wall of a building.  I know you understand all these scenarios.

I smile.  It’s simply my nature to smile when I catch someone’s eyes.  That’s a weird expression, isn’t it?  (Catch someone’s eyes.)

So okay, I smile at people and some will smile back and others won’t.  Some people will even respond to your smile by uttering a greeting of one kind or another such as, “Good morning.”  Other’s make a point of trying not to look at you.  You can see them glance your way, and then they quickly avert their eyes to something else.  Still there are others who don’t look up at all.  They resolutely stare down at their feet as they walk.

Sometimes the people that you meet have a predetermined impression about you based on your outward appearance.  Aren’t we all guilty of that?  The color of your skin, how fat or skinny you are, tall or short, the way you walk and talk, their perceived intellect of you, pretty or ugly, and the list goes on.  All of these values that people judge each other are subjective, meaning that it is an individual’s perception of these values.

So what am I going on and on about?  I’m not sure!!!  Let me try and remember.  You know what this is like.  Sheesh!

Okay, I’m back.  Have to type fast before it runs away from me again to hide in the dark recesses of my mind, as though playing hide-and-seek with me.

I’m addressing how we react to people when we first see each other and the powerful impressions that are imprinted in heads.  Because of those impressions, we make a value judgement.  Right?

This is highly unlikely with people with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) since many of us are  in wheelchairs, but it’s for the others who read this blog as well.  Then again, some of us with MS also think this way.  Think about it.  We see someone in a wheelchair coming towards us.  Do we say hello or not?  What if the person in the wheelchair is hanging over the side (exaggeration here) and drooling?  Were we going to say hi but changed our minds?  Why did we change our mind? We probably made a judgement decision.  We may not be aware that we did, but we probably did.

We complain about people judging us but I bet if you analyze yourself, you too are judging others.  Practice what you preach?  Yes, I think so.  I know that I am guilty of it but if I become aware that I’m doing it, I make an immediate attitude adjustment or at least try to.

I don’t want people judging me because the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis can be very obvious, as in my case.  What right do I have to judge others whether I’m in a wheelchair or not?

Being ill does not give us justification to throw away decent human principles.  Having Multiple Sclerosis or any other disease does not give us the right to expect more from society at large than when we ordinarily would expect to receive.  Now I’m talking respect and moral issues.  What’s that old saying by ???  I know it’s in the Bible but it’s in other places as well, even older than the Bible.

“The Golden Rule or law of reciprocity is the principle of treating others as one would wish to be treated oneself. It is a maxim of altruism seen in many human religions and human cultures.[1][2] The maxim may appear as either a positive or negative injunction governing conduct: ” (I looked this up in Wiki.)

So let’s not kid ourselves.  If you want to be treated with kindness, then be kind.  If you want that smile when you walk down the street, smile at them.  If you don’t want others to treat you with disdain, don’t do it to others.

If you expect more than what you give, it ain’t gonna happen.  I’ve found the opposite to be true.  If you give more than what you receive,  oftentimes you are met with disappointment.  That’s no reason to clump people into a Rolodex file under “people I don’t like”.

A good thing we can do for ourselves in every day living is to treat others how we would like to be treated.  It’s difficult but it’s a positive thing to do and it’s medicinal.  Don’t fill your heart with bitterness towards others who treat us unkind.  Instead treat others who are unkind as if they have a disease and they need help!  Then give them the attention that you would like to receive as an ill person.  Remember that what you give is what you’ll get, if not in this world in some other world.

I don’t know what got into me to write the above.  I think it’s because we went out the other day and I encountered two different types of people.  One didn’t meet my eyes, another did and smiled.  There was another person, now that I think about it, who just stared down at the ground.  I felt sorry for them.
My first impulse was to feel indignant at the person who saw me but didn’t smile and the other person who saw me then glanced away.  Then I got to thinking about why I felt this way.  I suppose I’m telling you what I told myself when I hollered at myself inside my head.  I do that a lot.  Holler at me inside my head.
So take this particular blog for what it is.  A reminder to self to be nicer to people and not to expect special treatment just because I’m ill–and not to judge people by their cover because I don’t want them judging me either.

One Comment

  1. Gemma

    Thank you for writing this. I’m pretty sure I have ms. I have most of the symptoms of PPMS. I have had to use a stick to walk for around 10 years now. I’m 42 now and single (the stick has been a complete passion killer. Men just don’t look at you like that anymore once you have a walking stick. It’s a sad fact but ok because I have no libido anymore (another symptom)).

    Anyway despite having so many symptoms, I still have no diagnosis because any brain scans (3x MRI’s, 1x Dat scan, 2x ecg’s and eeg’s) are apparently ‘normal’.

    Last year I developed a new symptom. I can no longer control the muscles needed for speech. So when I try to respond to a comment my words come out all wrong and I slur like I’ve had to much to drink.

    Last year I was invited by the mother of my friend (we have been friends for years but don’t hang out anymore because she’s ‘always working’) who I volunteer for once a week, to go on holiday abroad for her birthday.

    Wow how lovely I thought. I couldn’t believe my friends mum invited me on such a special trip.

    I said I would love to go but it can be very difficult and stressy at the airport even with assisted travel. She assured me that it wouldn’t be a problem so I went (the stresses at the airport with assisted travel are another story for another day).

    So it was my friend, her boyfriend, her mum and dad. And me.

    I was excited to spend some time with my friend (who’s always working). However as each hour past she became more and more distant. To the point where she had very little to do with me. And when she did speak to me. She seemed rude and like she was tolerating me. She hung out with a couple we met on the 2nd day. And 1/2 way through the week they stopped reserving me a sun lounger next to theirs. Without telling me. Which I felt totally excluded me.

    The whole thing really upset me. I didn’t know why this was happening. I didn’t say anything, just kept to myself and read my book.

    Today it occurred to me that the way she was with me was the same way my auntie was with me at my cousins 40th birthday meal. I couldn’t put my finger on it each time but it was ‘distain’.

the feeling that someone or something is unworthy of one’s consideration or respect.”her upper lip curled in disdain”
    2. synonyms:
    3. contempt, scorn, scornfulness, contemptuousness, derision, disrespect; 

consider to be unworthy of one’s consideration.”he disdained his patients as an inferior rabble”
    2. synonyms:
    3. scorn, deride, pour scorn on, regard with contempt, show contempt for, be contemptuous about, sneer at, sniff at, curl one’s lip at, pooh-pooh, look down on, belittle, undervalue, slight;

    Both times I was being treated with distain. Which when I think about it, it is the same way I would treat a friend or relative that had the disrespect to turn up to such an important event drunk.

    I know they both know that I think I could have ms but I haven’t been diagnosed. They probably don’t know anything about ms and their only reference point they have for seeing me that way is if they ever saw me drunk. Which I’m guessing looks the same.

    So now I don’t feel bad anymore because I now understand what that was.

    I googled ms and distain and found your blog. Thank you for writing that. It made me feel I’m not alone.

Leave a Reply