“I am out of the workforce and this leaves me feeling useless. I can no longer rely on the things I took for granted before to give me a sense of purpose. I am not a software developer or a tutor anymore and that loss of identity really stings. I have no income; I do not qualify for benefits. I rely entirely on my husband. This has nothing to do with the pandemic. It started 14 years ago, while I was brushing my hair. I could not feel the hairbrush going through my hair on the right side of my head. I went to my GP and they recommended that I see a neurologist. As surreal as it was, I was soon diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. With the current pandemic and the country on lockdown, people might now be experiencing the same issues that I face every day. Without daily employment, it can be challenging to maintain our identities. We can’t just come and go as we please. There is more planning now involved if we leave the house. We can’t make long-term plans, because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. The constant fear of the unknown, and how we will get through this, makes staying sane challenging. In terms of mental health, regular encounters of kindness from other people has kept me going. I remember the first time when an elderly man kept the door open for me or when after coming out of the gym I was struggling to put my walker into the car and a lady covered in bags and two children stopped to help me. During this time, most of all, I miss the regular group meetings with other MS members and the strict but encouraging, push from my trainer. With the lockdown in place, myself and other people with chronic illnesses don’t have access to any of this anymore. We need a different and more direct kindness now. All donations to MS Ireland help them provide a lifeline for over nine thousand people. As the government’s lockdown is easing, our lockdown will continue and we will need your help now more than ever.”
This post was highlighted by Multiple Sclerosis Ireland.