This was a wierd request, one that I thought I would never have got had I not been asked to do it by my therapist. She asked me one day, that if I could bring myself to do it, would I write a letter to my MS to say exactly how I was feeling about it being in my life? Well I thought that this was going to be a bit hard and if I'm being honest a bit weird! The thought of sitting there writing a letter to something that doesn't really exist seemed really weird...or did it? Whilst my MS isn't real in the tangible sense, it is real to me, every day! She said to me that it was a letter in which I wasn't to hold back, no matter how aggressive. Well, aggressive it was!!
My letter really didn't hold back at all, everything that I thought about my MS was there to see, plain as sight in all its glory. I said everything that I ever wanted to say to it, all the way from picking me as its prey, to its relentless attack on my body and the emotional strain that lies heavy on mind every single day. To say that I was angry was an understatement and the way in which I wrote it most certainly reflected that!!
So off I went to my next appointment with the counsellor, letter in hand, and she sat quietly reading the letter. Her comment, once finishing the letter was, very calmly, 'well that was an angry letter'. No shit!! We spoke at some length about the letter and other thoughts that were floating around at that time throughout the session and any issues related to it before reaching the end. Her finishing comment was 'why don't you write another letter this week?'. Well I thought that was a ridiculous request to make! Why would I write another letter having written one already?? Is she mad? Is her memory worse than mine? Surely that's not possible!! So off I went, thinking is she for real, or just crazy?
Well, a week later, there I am say writing yet another letter to MS, another rant at this unwelcome intruder in my life...well, so I thought. My letter started off really quite friendly:
Sorry for my tone in my last communication, I was not thinking with a straight mind. The first thing that I would like to say is thank you...'
THANK YOU??? What was I saying?! Well it turns out, I was speaking the truth! The truth is that I hadn't really spoken to anyone properly about my thoughts around my MS and that they were just building up. Who better to vent at than my MS itself? In doing so, I had found a vehicle to accept a little bit more the strain that it had inflicted on myself both physically and mentally. I had now written a letter in which I was thanking MS for showing me the strength that I have inside, for the friends that I have around me, for the supportive family that I have, but most importantly, the new outlook that I have on life, to have a life well lived!
What was going on?? I showed the letter to my counsellor and she said that by writing the first letter, I could finally say to MS just how it made me feel, no matter how angry I was. In doing so, I could get a tiny bit of closure, just enough that in my second letter a week later, I could begin to appreciate how it has actually brought some significant positive changes to my life. Because of my new outlook, I am much more positive about my future and I am facing it with a much stronger 'live for the day' attitude which has made me appreciate more my job, my friends, my family and of course, most importantly, my amazing partner.
Who would have thought that 20 minutes writing a couple of letters to what I thought was a subject that I didn't want to talk about could bring me this much closure! I didn't appreciate just how little I had actually been able to get off my mind until I wrote that first letter - it wasn't pretty, but it was most definitely the vent that I had been missing over the last 4 years...who would have thought?