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‘There are some selfish people in this world’; ‘Everyone is out looking after themselves’.
This may be true to some extent – let’s face it, we are a pretty rum lot -, but since Multiple Sclerosis has turned my life upside-down, and changed me from ‘the bloke who races everywhere’ to ‘that bloke with a stick’, I have come to look differently on peoples’ attitudes towards me.
When I am walking through a crowd and heading towards someone, they will either smirk apologetically or say “sorry” long before they have reached me and had the chance to commit any heinous crime towards me.
While this has a certain comedy value, it is easy to dismiss these attitudes as condescending, but the truth is that almost all of these people mean well and want to help if they can, even if it is just by swerving out of your way.
We are mostly, putting our egos aside for a moment, very vulnerable people and, as much bravado that we put on, and as many internet stories we read of miraculous recoveries, we can’t yet beat this illness.
I believe that we have an intrinsic need to help those that we can, and that dismissing these peoples’ attempts to help is both ungracious and hurtful to them.
Any help is good and let’s not get hung up on the fact that few people, unless closely affected by our illness, are very conversant with it.
Before I had been diagnosed with MS in 2011, I had also thought that the milk of human kindness had turned to cheese, but the illness has awakened me to the fact that there are an awful lot of good people out there.
Keep exercising and keep smiling, but there comes a time when we need to hold our hands up and accept the help that is offered without cynicism, and make our lives easier. Look after yourselves, and let others look after you.