One of my brothers had an interesting method of torture. He grabbed my arms, jerked them back and forth, and forced me to hit myself in the face. I grimaced and ducked, trying my best to dodge the inevitable smack. Then he’d laugh hysterically. “Stop it, Sheri! Stop hitting yourself!”
His pompous tone infuriated me. I clenched my fists, and with every bit of strength I could muster from my scrawny arms, tried smacking him back. But it never worked. He was four years older and a whole lot stronger. I only ended up punching myself, which provoked more teasing. “Come on Sheri! Why do you want to hurt yourself?”
As my brother jerked my arms around like a pair of rubber bands, I grew more and more angry. I felt so powerless. And very frustrated.
Strangely, I’ve had similar feelings during my fight against MS.
I remember the first time I heard a basic explanation of MS. “Multiple sclerosis is a disease in which the body attacks itself.” I was completely baffled. Why would my body want to attack itself? It’s like slapping myself in the face. It doesn’t make sense!
Yet, I had been beating myself up for years. I felt the effects daily. Headaches. Debilitating fatigue. Weakness. Pain.
Fortunately, I am beginning to find hope between each sucker-punch. Instead of continuing to clobber myself, I am making changes to take better care of myself.
“Okay Sheri. I know that Twix bar looks good, but it will give you a headache. Do you really want to hurt yourself?”
Little by little, I am making positive changes in how I care for myself. And I can feel the difference.
Unlike the ridiculous fights with my brother, I am not helpless. My hands aren’t tied. I may be under attack, but I am empowered.
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