Someone asked me a really great question this week. She asked me if, when describing my MD, I ever told people I “suffered” from MD. I’ve been asked a lot of things about my MD in my short time on this Earth and I’ve thought and analyzed many many different aspects of it. This was one thing I’d never been asked or really thought about before though.
The straight up answer is no, I never use that exact word when telling people about my MD. I usually just say I have muscular dystrophy. So then I began to think about the idea of suffering. Would I qualify myself as someone who suffers from my disability? The not so straight up answer to that is the majority of the suffering I’ve endured because of it was of my own doing. The sadness, the isolation, the beating myself up for being different…that was all self-inflicted suffering. It’s a tough thing to deal with, there’s no way around that, and I was just dealing with it the only way I knew how in my youth. I hadn’t gotten to the point of being able to accept it even a little bit yet so I suffered a lot.
But in terms of the physical, I really suffer very little, and for that I’m very lucky. I have pain after I fall and my back bothers me every now and then (especially when I’ve had to bend over too much or stand for too long) but I don’t have the extreme pain other people have. I don’t have the muscle degeneration. I’m able to live pretty much fully independently. So I definitely would never say I physically suffer.
As for the emotional suffering, it all lies in perspective. How I choose to look at the cards I’ve been dealt. How I choose to respond to being different or have different abilities than other people. My mind can be own prison sometimes so it’s a matter of breaking out of that and not letting myself suffer. That’s not to say never feeling sorry for myself again or getting upset at my MD from time to time; those are just normal human emotions when it comes to this type of thing. But I don’t have to let the suffering get so great that I let my MD define my life or let my attitude tear me down.
I’m just a person living with MD and doing my best to make the most of that life. Thanks for the question Lindsay 🙂