chronic illness, life, mental health

Milestones and Reflections

At the beginning of June, I celebrated the first year of my blog. It was a huge step for uber-private me last year but the response once I finally faced my fear and hit publish was unreal. I can’t believe I have over 500 followers. More importantly, I can’t believe the support I’ve received and the friends I’ve made in this wonderful community. I’m so grateful. Thank you all. 💕

On this day four years ago, I received my MS diagnosis in the morning before going back to school for the last afternoon with my class. I didn’t know it would be the last afternoon I would spend as a teacher at the time.

It’s been an interesting journey, to say the least. The physical symptoms, especially the fatigue, stopped me teaching but the mental gymnastics associated with being chronically ill really stopped me in my tracks.

Fear, grief, anxiety, depression, guilt. Oh, the guilt! Learning to say ‘I can’t’ – especially to my children, forcing myself to stop when I ‘should’ get a little more done, unable to enjoy the good days because I ‘should’ be working.

I’ve learned to mostly maintain perspective when the anxiety and depression hit because I know it’s temporary, no matter how black. The fear hits pretty strongly when my body does it’s weird party tricks. (numbness, tingling, burning, buzzing, dizziness, tinnitus, spasms, trembling, pain and the fatigue that courses through my veins. #msawareness)

But life is scary for everybody in one way or another. Perspective.

The guilt has been the nastiest of the negatives. It comes up over and over and I’ve struggled to gain the same perspective, especially on the good days. I’d love so much to be back in the classroom that when the uglies lessen a bit, I forget how bad they are and feel I should at least try to go back to work. When they inevitably reappear, I remember why I can’t do the job I love so much.

Four years on, I’m done with the guilt on my good days. I won’t compromise the health I’ve regained since I stopped working by forcing myself to go back to work. And I won’t waste the bonus time I do get feeling guilty anymore, dammit! So there, MS. 🤗 From now on, I’m doing ‘jazz hands’ any time the guilt creeps in – haha!

This day marks a milestone for each of our younger children as well. After knocking our socks off at her Variety Show on Monday singing ‘Defying Gravity’ – (check out my instagram or facebook for the video), our youngest is finishing her last day at elementary school. It’s truly the end of an era, as we started there an unbelievable 15 years ago when our eldest was in kindergarten. Not to mention that my husband and his mother also went to the same school!

Our son is finishing his last day of high school, heading across the country to study Economics at Western University in September. Needless to say, we are incredibly proud of his achievements so far and excited for him, but there will be a big hole in our family that will take getting used to. It’s all as it should be and we can’t wait to see where he goes with his life. This kid is motivated!

Finally, our eldest got her first car so now we have our own taxi 😉 she’s embarking on a whole new level of independence and financial responsibility. We have no doubt she’ll manage her shiny new car with her usual attention and responsibility, and have lots of great adventures in the years to come.

So it’s the end of June and the beginning of summer vacation. The garden’s in great shape, the kids all have exciting plans for the summer, and we have lots of camping planned in our new tent trailer. It’s going to be a great summer!

❤️ Amanda

28 thoughts on “Milestones and Reflections”

  1. Happy blogaversary, Amanda! From your beautiful garden to renovating your bathroom to writing about your family and adventures, I love how uplifting and honest your posts are. Although you aren’t in the classroom, you’re still teaching and inspiring, and I’m so glad you are here. Best, Erin

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! These anniversaries don’t half hit us do they Amanda. Congratulations on getting 500 followers. That is fantastic. It’s funny that you should mention guilt. Out of the whole gamet of emotions that I felt about my illness, I never realky gave guilt much thought. Fear was and still is high on my list, but guilt is in there too, because I often blame myself for how I am and not being able to walk, thinking if I’d tried harder I would be walking now. I don’t think it’s true, but just sometimes I think like that. Have a lovely camping trip Amanda and thankyou for sharing this with us.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely. I think we all have a tendency to blame oyrselves for some things at some point. It only bothers me very occasionally

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Amanda, I too had to retire from teaching due to MS- it was just snatched from my hands. No time to finish things properly. I felt guilty for my students in the middle of their A level Textile exams. I felt guily having to give up work & stay at home. Guilty being a sponger. Guilty bringing up kids being this snappy bad tempered lady if I had stood up to long when they were buying toys & my legs were killing me. But we have to remain positive
    Love your blog – Sue

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You should feel immensely proud of yourself with such lovely children . ❤️ Louise Hay has a brilliant meditation on you tube called You can heal yourself which has been a massive help to me regarding letting go .

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You should be very proud of everything you’re achieving through your writing & your blog – a huge congrats on the Blogiversary! Anniversaries for illnesses can be bittersweet & very difficult, but seeing the positives that come from your experiences, even if you have to squint to find them, is the best thing you can do. And I think you’re doing brilliantly.
    Aww I bet you’re a proud mamma!  ♥
    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good for you, Amanda. Sometimes temporary can seem like forever. So glad you’re writing–it’s a good practice in so many ways.

    I just read your About page and didn’t see a way to post, but it reminded me of something a friend with a long-term, serious illness once said. “There have been unexpected blessings on this journey.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am sorry for being a little behind with comments! You are pretty amazing woman that has the strength within to never give up. You have raised great children and they learned how to be strong from you. You are nothing short of amazing Amanda!!

    Liked by 1 person

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