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MS is a Monster!

Posted Mar 07 2010 3:10pm

I hear many people refer to MS as a monster, a mysterious entity that they have no control over, an evil creature who comes to attack them at will. Is this a bad story to be telling yourself? That depends. There are two ways to be in this story of the MS monster: one of them is useful, the other is not.

If you’re the hero on your journey , the myth of the monster is a central and very important element of your story. The monster is your challenge, and in order to receive the gift waiting for you at the end of your journey, you must survive it. This is a great and quite useful story to tell yourself, because it means that every trial you face because of MS is to get to that boon. For some people the boon might be as simple (but invaluable) as their health, for others it’s their life’s purpose. This story gives meaning to the problems you’re enduring and is a constant reminder of the journey you’re on and the gift you’ll receive when you defeat the monster.

However, this is not the empowered position many people take when they tell themselves the story that MS is a monster. For many, the MS monster is of the same terrifying variety they experienced when they were scared, helpless children. MS is the evil murderous clown under the bed. Or the gruesome creature in the closet that will surely get them as soon as they look away. When we grow up, most of us stop fearing the imaginary monsters under the bed. But when it comes to the MS monster, we find ourselves, as adults, in its clutches as if we were still seven years old, alone in our rooms in the dark.

I saw a video some time ago of a woman who spoke of her MS as the spider in the corner of the room. Her goal was to keep that spider in the corner, she said, because when it crept into the center, then she had to deal with it. I feel sad for this woman, living in fear of her spider-monster. And I wished she knew that if she dealt with it when it was in the corner, if she tended to it as if it were simply a part of her life, rather than some external creature, it would be much less likely to creep into the center of the room.

To consider yourself as the helpless victim of the mysterious MS monster is to give up your power and cast yourself in the most pitiful role possible in the story of your life. Who would you rather be – the victim or the hero? Heroes don’t fear their monsters, they slay them.

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