Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Writhing On Paper

As American teeth clattered under the inauspicious halo of an "arctic vortex”, and as Southern England was soaked till the water came up again, I was having a meteorological meltdown of my own. It was in my head and it’s still raging.

Pathetic fallacy aside, I’ve been feeling irredeemably low lately. My body has become a piece of cotton being tossed about by impersonal and unrelenting winds, an empty wooden vessel carried by the water underneath.

I’d never felt this helpless in all my adult life.

Perhaps my slowly subsiding health had something to do with it. Whilst my head played reluctant host to ever-entwining intrusive thoughts that were mostly negative (the rest I consign to the Unspeakably Bizarre category), my body gradually weakened till it became quite a struggle to move without a grimace or a groan.

It’s as if my kneecap were replaced by a jello-laden sheet of plastic: any movement hurts. Some movements more than others, but each and every single time I move my knees, it hurts. I guess I’ve become so used to the numb pain that it doesn’t hurt or burn the same way a freshly open wound hurts and burns.

What I need is a release.. and what better way to channel one’s pent-up frustration with Nature’s impenetrable might than to write. I realise that it won’t make the pain any less real, but it’s a chance to articulate it, understand it, and, hopefully, give those around me a way of understanding what I’m going through. I won’t be writhing on my own. Rather, I’ll be writhing in writing, which sounds –and feels– considerably better than squaring up my illness in a solitary, invisible fashion.

That said, I’m not entirely sure whether it’s helpful to relive the challenging physical and mental conditions that I began this piece by subtly alluding to. I don’t think a limb-by-limb account of what I go through is essential. The idea, I hope, has been conveyed.

What I worry about sometimes isn’t whether I’ll be able to walk or talk in a few years’ time. I don’t look forward to that, nor do I wish it becomes a reality. Multiple Sclerosis is an unpredictable disease and I should never be naive enough to hazard a guess as to how it will affect me over the next few years. The thing that scares me is wasting what little time I have left doing something I don’t particularly want, something that doesn’t move me from the very core.. something that doesn’t stir my soul.

A life of intellectual, emotional and personal mediocrity is what many people seem unwittingly content to bequeath their children. I don’t want that for myself, nor for my darling daughter whose insatiable appetite for life instils in me an incredible, unshakeable will to keep going. It is this, I believe, that has sustained me through my darkest hour yet.

I don’t think conventional medicine has yet come up with a real antidote to pain that’s amplified by one’s exaggerated yet somehow palpable fears. If such a miracle drug has been found, my doctors aren’t being very honest with me. So for the time being, what I ought to do is purse my lips lest I wallow in self-pity, and commit to expressing my innermost physical and emotional fears on paper.

Once I lay my fingers on a keyboard or wrap them snugly round a pen, I will feel a slight relief. I always do.


Anonymous said...


Ghadeer said...

As unpopular as this comment may sound to this age's taste, don't underestimate the power of prayer. Miracles happen. Listen to doctors and their advice and predictions, but always remember there's a Power above you and them that created this entire Universe and knows and controls your condition more than any doctor can ever be capable of.

Ghadeer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Little Penguin said...

Dear Ghadeer, thank you very much for your encouraging words. I don't think you should ever pay attention to anyone who may find your opinions unpopular. In fact, I think it's a deeply moving piece of advice. I assure you, I have never given up entirely. I'm forever hopeful that, one day, things will change. Either way, I'm a firm believer in the fact that it's for my best, no matter how strange such sentiments may sound given the relative difficulty my condition has brought about.

Thank you once more. As ever, I'm very, very appreciative of your words.

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