Every day I have plenty of spasms. Some are short and not to bad, others last hours and cause agony, and some simply make me laugh due to the positions I find myself in, for example I once ended up doing the splits! Thankfully the muscle relaxant that my GP put me on has helped and has slightly reduced the frequency and intensity of these spasms.
Earlier this afternoon my whole body decided to spasm, it was slightly painful and was not the most comfortable position to be in, but despite that I managed to laugh through it with my mum. Knowing that the spasm would eventually release was a big comfort and made it more bearable. I have included some pictures of the spasm below, in them you can see that my eyes, neck, arms, stomach and leg are all in spasm.
In today’s culture people often seem to want to focus on what we cannot do rather than celebrate what we are able to do. Even the term Disabled focuses on it. I don’t like being labelled but if I have to be then I would rather be termed as Differently Able, as I am capable of doing the same things as any body else, it might just take me longer, I may even do it slightly differently but at the end of the day I can still do it!
One of my symptoms causes me to go blind. My eyes go into spasm and my eyeballs roll upwards in their sockets. Being blind on and off has taught me to appreciate the beauty that surrounds me in daily life. I previously took my sight for granted, the day I went blind for the first time terrified me, I was having a big panic that I would not be able to read again. Now when I am able to read I appreciate the ability more than ever before. Control of our bodies and good health is such a precious but fragile gift that people tend to abuse. We need to open our eyes to the world and learn to appreciate what we have. Society needs to understand the gifts that senses such as sight brings us and learn to focus on the positive side of things.
I could easily allow myself to drown in a pool of negativity but by focusing on the little things in life like being able to see, and by pushing myself to achieve what ever I set my mind to, I am able lead a positive life. I have my moments of being down, just like everyone does but I wont ever let having Dystonia beat me.
In life everyone has their own hopes, dreams, demons and struggles. We each suffer and achieve in situations others would not. None of us, are the same, yet we all judge each other and ourselves harshly. As a society we are very quick to overlook all the positive and beautiful things that surround us, we focus intently on negativity like vultures. If you are not careful, the pessimistic world that we live in can appear suffocating.
Yesterday I decided that I felt well enough to push myself around a Garden centre that we visited. I was over-joyed that I was pushing myself for so long without setting off a spasm in my hands. I even managed to push myself up a slope for the first time. Now I know that does not sound impressive but it was a fantastic achievement for me, that I am very proud of. It took me a good minute to get myself up it, but I did it myself without any help! I was having a great time, and even had a sense of freedom due to pushing myself. However a handful of people who I came across that day, did not see the girl achieving her goals and enjoying a new sense of freedom, they saw someone who was slowing them down, a few tutted or stared as they paused to let me pass. Now I just smiled sweetly each time, as I was having too much fun to pause and give them a lecture on Dystonia. I wish those people had taken the seconds that it took me to wheel myself past them to appreciate some part of life instead of focusing on a negative, we were in a garden centre, a place where they could have easily focused on the beauty of nature.
Dystonia, like life, is one giant roller-coaster that will take you from feeling on top of the world to rock bottom in a number of seconds. You can choose to become a vulture like the majority of society, feed off endless negativity and suffocated in it. Or you can choose to accept there are days when you’re not going to be on top of the world and things will look bleak, but you can still take the time to appreciate what you have in life. I could very easily roll over and feel sorry myself, and stop trying to defeat this hideous illness. Instead I fight day and night against Dystonia, I try my best to be optimistic (though some days I can be a bit grumpy), I appreciate everything this illness has done for me e.g brought me closer to my family, showed me friends in the unlikely places and much more.
Dystonia is a challenge, and I plan on enjoying every little achievement I make. Small steps can lead to big things, who knows where I’ll end up.