One thing that having MS has really done well for me is to force me to live in the moment. Prior to developing seizure disorder (thanks to MS), I was almost always focused on the future. I was in law school, working all the time towards a goal that I would not achieve. These days, my goals are much more short-term and achievable.
Yesterday, for example, I had a crazy to-do list — more stuff on it than I could possibly achieve in one day. I live by by the motto, “Do what you can when you can,” so I got a lot done before the evening, when I had a bunch of seizures.
This morning, I’m fighting the urge to be upset with my past self. I have a ton of dishes to do, including bottles for Henry. If I don’t do them first, he won’t have anything clean to eat from. But I remember yesterday. I remember walking to the village hall and the grocery store. I remember going to the chiropractor. And I remember going to sleep confused and post-ictal.
So, I didn’t get everything on my list done… but I did a lot, and practicing self-compassion means not ruining today by being a bully to my past self. Nothing helpful occurs by being mean to myself for things that are outside of my current control.
There are times when I credit my ability to live in the moment to learning and practicing meditation, but the truth of the matter is, when you have an uncontrollable seizure disorder, you learn both to prioritize your activities and to focus on what really matters — safety and caring for your (and your child’s) most basic needs. Everything else takes a back seat from time to time, and that’s ok. You have to give yourself some mercy. Dishes will wait. Unfolded clothes will wait too. And yes, even a shower or bath will wait too. Nobody died from being stinky for a day.
Today, my neck and back are crazy sore, but I’m going to do my best and do what I can. That means getting out the blanket and toys for Henry to do some tummy time while I wash dishes. When he naps later, I’ll work on the seemingly never-ending comparison spreadsheet that will help me decide my Medicare advantage plan for next year and answer the question of whether or not we should add me to my husband’s insurance policy. (I’ve got to learn how secondary insurance works!) I honestly can’t imagine how folks who have more cognitive hardships than I do make these important decisions. They certainly don’t make it easy to figure out which plan is the best.
Time to go snuggle a baby, put on some Sesame Street, and do all the things. Hope you’re having a good day.