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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Brain Scan

Today, I am scan my brain for the topic I wanted to write about, but am coming up short. The brain farts return! that is why I chose the name Brain Farts for my Ms Walk Team. It was for so many reasons.

#1) I want people to laugh, and it is hard not to laugh when you hear that phrase. People find it unexpected. that is good because it helps to lower their inhibitions and they feel less anxious or awkward as they hear about MS. This way they can relax and let their questions flow or at least hear what I have to say about MS.

#2) People can relate to a brain fart. I lead with that when I explain the name. Everyone has had a brain fart. It's that moment where you know what you were going to say or do and you completely lose it. You feel off balance, you feel a little silly or even dumb, you think "I just was thinking of doing this. How could I forget so easily?" the difference between the everyday person is their brain farts are occasional. With MS, we can experience brain farts weekly, daily, even hourly.

#3) I want people to remember me and MS. The Brain Fart Team name is unforgettable and if people remember the name, maybe they will remember what they learned and also the feelings behind the message.

I try to be very approachable about anything in my life and I maintain that with MS. Ask me anything, and I mean anything. Be prepared, that what you ask will be answered. I am blunt, I am honest, I am patient, I am funny and I am candid. I believe in asking questions. One of my favorite quotes is "The only stupid question is the one you didn't ask.

People tend to keep things inside rather than express themselves. Most out of fear of rejection or humility. Most people are not mind readers and most people are not trying to hurt others. People do things without thinking and often have no idea how they have hurt someone or how their actions are perceived. I will hear a friend talk of how someone didn't call or they don't hear from them anymore so they intend to cut their ties with them. My first question is always "Did you try calling them?" or "Have you told them how you feel?" 9 times out of 10 the answer is "No."

If a relationship is that important to you that you are that hurt, it is worth the time to ask the question. Even if the result is the same and ties are cut, you will know you tried to be honest and you will have no unanswered questions. I had a friend once say that during a flare her best friend and her mother hadn't called her or checked up on her and she was so upset. She felt abandoned and alone. She was really hurt. I asked if she talked to either of them about how she felt. No, she didn't. Why should she be the one to call? My answer was "I think a best friend and definitely a mother are worth the effort."

I once asked my mom why she hadn't called. She told me she's afraid that when she calls it will be the one time I finally fell asleep. Or I will feel obligated to talk out of being polite rather than speak up and take care of myself. I told her and anyone else in my life, don't hesitate to call or text me. If I am busy or don't feel up to it, I won't answer or respond.

In general, people aren't trying to be hurtful or even neglectful. We have to remember that the people we love also have their own lives and problems. it doesn't mean they care less about us. Other reasons people will pull back is they don't want to burden you with their own problems. They are afraid for you and don't know what to say. Or others just can't handle knowing someone with MS or another major disease or ailment. Fear is a powerful thing.

Speak up. Tell others how they are making you feel. Tell them why you are hurt and what you need from them. Educate them about MS. Not everyone knows what it is, how it effects people and what they can do. Before I even was diagnosed, I knew very little about MS. I knew Annette Funicelo & Richard Pryor had it. Those are extreme cases, maybe progressive. I have never stopped to research exactly. Then their is Montel Williams who has stepped up to educate the nation about MS and pain management. The problem with these celebrity examples is they paint pictures that don't show the whole story. Annette was not born in that wheelchair. Look at her movies and how vibrant and alive she looked and was in her youth. She aged with her body and MS aged with her as well. We don't know her journey by sight alone. An Montel, if you just look at him, he looks healthy and fit. He seems like he is ok and "normal" even. but as my poem said "Seeing is not always believing" .

Teach your family and friends. Ignorance is not stupidity or even a lack of caring. It means they have no knowledge or true understanding of the topic. We are the catalyst in many people's lives. It does not mean we have to become a full on advocate, unless you want to, but we should offer the basic info and patience for our loved ones. After time, you may realize some of them will never get it and some do need to be cut off. Please. Do yourself the favor of asking the questions YOU want to know before you walk away. You may be surprised to learn that your feelings were not the result they intended.

Be brave. Be honest. Be informative. Be patient. Be loving. Be good to you and your body. Do a Brain Scan and find what you need for your body, your heart, your soul and your mind. You will be glad you did.

Love & Kisses, Tammy

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