Who is afraid (in the days of Coronavirus) of MS? Who is afraid (in the days of Corona) of Multiple Sclerosis? by Roy Aloni, Rehabilitation Psychologist Multiple Sclerosis is an expression that can evoke a variety of images and associations of illness and disability. As a matter of fact, MS can induce a vast range of symptoms of varying severity. Many people are diagnosed at a young age, and due to innovative treatments and improved diagnostic capabilities, we often witness improvement over the course of the disease. In addition to the outer, visible, symptomatic layer, the inner parts, which reside deep inside our soul, are harmed as well.
So what happens within at the time of the diagnosis?
Unlike the physical, measurable symptoms, the emotional pains encompassing the loss of who we used to be – is not visible on the outside. They reside within and impact us from the depths of our soul. When the body is attacking itself, it creates a strange, unfamiliar feeling.
Something that belongs to me, from within me, is rebelling against me. The same legs that carried me for many years, suddenly feel as heavy as iron? Those unique, familiar eyes start to flicker and blur?! These experiences can cause panic and fear as well as feelings of alienation, distance, and even anger towards the body. How dare my body betray me? The mental world is invisible. It is transparent to the observer. At this time of the Covid19 pandemic, when time stopped reigning, we are all trapped in the same uncertainty. We shy away from each other, afraid to be contagious or get sick, and it seems that what used to be – is not what will be. Some people react to the new circumstances with detached indifference, while others with frightening arousal. However, all of us meet those exposed emotions and appreciate what we usually take for granted, like connection and closeness. In the days of Corona, dealing with MS is an additional struggle over an existing one. And in these struggles, each of us has a name, beyond our diagnosis, beyond the symptoms. The disease is a part of our personality and who we are.