The other day, while driving around running errands, I decided to go back and visit my old neighborhood. I wanted to take a trip down memory lane. See what was happening in the old “hood.”
Much to my surprise, I was hit with a profound sense of sadness and loss. Things were no longer the same. The houses looked much smaller and older. Many of the yards were ill kept, bars were on windows and my old grade school had been demolished and replaced with tract housing.
Just a memory
It was depressing. I felt as though I had stepped into a surreal world, one that I no longer recognized as being a part of my past. I quickly turned on the car radio to re-establish my connection to the “real world.”
I was shocked that my old neighborhood didn’t affirm my fond memories. It was not the Mr. Rogers neighborhood I remembered. I could not comprehend how much it had changed. I never thought it would.
A new world
But why wouldn’t it change, I later asked myself upon reflection. Time moves on and I guess so did I. In comparing the two worlds—physical environment (my neighborhood) versus lived experiences (me, my life)—I probably had changed the most. Metamorphosis, then two worlds colliding.
I began thinking about how MS changes lives. There is the life of who we were before MS, and then our lives after an MS diagnosis. We can return in our memories to the past we once knew. But emotionally, cognitively and physically, life will never be the same. It has changed. And it is moving forward.
We may not appreciate or accept this new world initially, but the reality is that it is here to stay. It is OK to grieve and feel sad for what we once knew and loved. This is part of the journey. To struggle is part of the process. Ultimately, adapting to a new reality makes for a healthier survival. You change with MS.
Moving forward with MS
Does this change mean you leave a part of your spirit behind? No. Your spirit, the essence of your being, continues with you on your journey forward. Can you go back? Yes, but much like my old neighborhood, going back will never be the same.
Please share your experiences of adjusting to the new you with MS, versus the life you knew before your diagnosis.