Monday, 19 January 2015

How are you?

The trouble with any kind of autobiographical writing is that the story isn't finished yet. As philosopher Joseph Campbell and many psychologists would tell you, we humans generally use narrative structures, or stories, to understand and explain our experience of life. But a narrative requires a shape, ideally a pleasing arc, with a dramatic beginning, a problematic middle, and a satisfying end. Life, unfortunately for the would-be writer, is not very obliging in this respect.

Both the conditions that I live with are notoriously unpredictable. I'm not even able to answer the simple question "How are you?" with any accuracy. I always feel a need to clarify: "Do you mean how am I today, this week, this month, or this very moment?" Because, you see, it really is that changeable. 

This moment, as I sit here writing, I feel physically well, and mentally/emotionally a little fragile but more or less functional. However, whenever it is that you open this page, dear reader, I may be suffering a burning neuropathic pain, or straining against a bone-deep fatigue, or training for a 10k run, or floundering in a suicidal mire. Five minutes from now, a difficult phone call, stray Facebook comment, or other apparently innocent interaction may trigger in me a dangerous rage or a soul-sucking depression that drives me back to the brink. Or a minor trip, bump, or upset may set off a full-blown MS relapse.

We wait for the neurologists and the psychiatrists to realise that a human being is a single entity that cannot be so neatly compartmentalised, and figure out what is really going on within the Bermuda triangle of MS,  depression, and emotional volatility. Meanwhile, those of us who are not content to wait for yet another liver-toxic drug - which would only treat the symptoms anyway - must find our own way to surf the stormy seas of our inexplicable lives. And find mine I will, even if it takes a lifetime.

So it would seem that I have no nuggets of wisdom to offer today. Today, I cannot write my life - blogger, columnist and almost-author though I may be - because the truth is I haven't finished living it yet.

1 comment:

  1. Keep on going. You are doing your very best :)