How having MS has helped me cope with social distancing

As the infection rate and deaths from corona virus continue to spread across the globe, and there is a worrying increases in the UK especially, many people continue to social distance. From press releases, it seems that there is little hope to an end of the distancing in sight, as the government and scientific experts recommend that this needs to continue for weeks/maybe months more.

What is social distancing? It’s the limitation of normal activities outside of the home including visiting family and friends, going shopping apart from essential shopping, socialising in public places, and attending a work place. The very idea of this lack of face to face interaction with others seems awful to some, and the limitation of being able to attend the office is positively disastrous to others. However, to me, it’s something that I believe I have somewhat prepared for.

As someone who has multiple sclerosis, during times of relapse, I have had to social distance before when I have been unable to go and attend social gatherings, attend my place of work, or get out and about for shopping or exercise. Although I’m not overly fond on the idea of being limited in my activities now, I feel more at ease with the idea of being in my home. I already work from home a percentage of the time under normal circumstances, and actually revel in the idea of home working compared with having the get ready and travel to the office!! The effort and energy required to get out there and go to a place of work can at times be a limiting factor! As someone who is familiar with working from home, I have already developed the tools and techniques for managing a day at work in my home environment.

When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I took the time to think about the way I lived my life and how I was going to cope with having this disease. I hated the uncertainty and the changeability of the disease and how I struggled to plan from one day to the next. I hated how I had to give up aspects of my life and elements of my independence. I looked within myself and found ways to live with a more spontaneous way of life, and how not everything was within my control anymore. I also became more at ease with giving up some elements of my independence.

Having been more limited in the things I could do, I transferred a lot of my life online and took to developing friendships using online social media, I took to shopping using grocery delivery services and started mainly shopping using online services. Having done this meant that when the uk went into lockdown, I’d already had a lot of things set up to carry my life on as normal.

I’m not suggesting that it was easy when I was told that I wasn’t able to get out there and visit my friends and family. There are aspects that have been incredibly challenging. One of these is not seeing my family, especially my niece who seems to be growing up rapidly. I’m also gutted about missing out on coffee times with close friends, including a couple who are pregnant.

There was a couple of weeks in lockdown when I felt like I did when I was first diagnosed and I felt like I was losing control of my life, and something outside of my control was trying to take my independence. I felt my rebellious side starting to push back. I towed with my husband and blamed him for trying to trap me in the house (even though he was just trying to protect me!) Now this has settled, I’ve been able to rely on my toolkit to get through.

I know that this is part of the grieving process and I have written another article about this. I wonder about all of the people who don’t have experiences of staying in much and dealing with the loss of control like you experience when you have a condition like ms… and how they may be experiencing things differently to me. I’m not sure how I would cope if I hadn’t already gone through periods of time when I’ve done this before.

Anyway – sorry for the unusually rambling blog. Thought it was interesting to share my thoughts on this!! Would love to hear your comments and views on your experiences with lockdown and how you’re coping.

Z

One thought on “How having MS has helped me cope with social distancing

  1. I agree. I think it has been nice to have an “excuse” to stop. Slow down. Take the “me time” necessary to live my healthiest to try and avoid flare ups. I also had started to make some adjustments to my work life (ie) working from home more after my diagnosis, so I had some systems in place that have helped. Always looking to expand on that and continue to learn and grow as much as possible, no matter the situation. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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