Quite recently there was news that a study had revealed there to be more than twice as many people living with MS than previously thought (https://www.nationalmssociety.org/About-the-Society/MS-Prevalence). My dad was the one who first sent me a link to a news article talking about it and soon the news was popping up in my social media feeds, and I found myself reading through a few of the comments. One of the most common was the simple phrase- “I’m one of a million.”
Now most of my life I have heard the term “one in a million” in regards to being special, unique and rare and I’ve thrown the term out loosely when talking with friends without ever really thinking about it. Which definitely means I had never thought of being one in a million. And suddenly I find myself being not just 1 in around 400,000, but one of a million. There are more people out there going through the same things that I go through. The same struggles. The same health and mental concerns. The same challenges with balancing work life and personal life.
And it’s amidst these challenges that I live every single day and if there is one thing that it’s easy to succumb to it’s the feeling of loneliness when dealing with MS. Honestly, it’s probably easy to feel lonely when dealing with any problem. I just know the MS ones in particular right now. It’s hard to describe how you’re doing to someone who has no basis to relate at all to what you’re going through. It’s hard to wake up day after day and not feel any different and have the people you love ask you how you are doing and not having a good response. It’s hard to have the same response day after wretched day and that isn’t made easier when you hate how you’re feeling and wishing that you could feel almost any other way. The worst for me are the days where I wake up and that’s all I can manage. I don’t even feel like I have the energy to roll over in my bed, let alone get up and actually do something. Some days my only goal is to make it to the shower and back out again (ideally having managed to remain standing the whole time). And being completely honest, lately there have been days where I haven’t even made it to that goal. Those days are the worse for me. Usually I can put up with a little dizziness and vertigo. I can deal with a subdued or loss sense of feeling. But the lack of energy to do anything is what kills me.
And I’ve yet to figure out how to explain all this to people when they ask me. And that leaves me feeling lonely sometimes. Some days it feels like I’m merely a shell, or a ghost of myself, stuck watching the world revolve around me. Watching everyone else live their lives. It’s hard. And having the reminder that I’m one of a million is a huge comfort to me. Maybe the people in my immediate life have no idea what I’m going through, but there are people who do understand.
None of us is alone. And that truth goes far beyond just having MS and just dealing with my problems. I truly don’t believe anyone is truly alone. Everyone in their own way is one of a million. I’m not trying to take away what makes us unique and what makes us special- but rather focusing more on those things that bring us together. That remind us that we are all here going through this experience called life at the same time. And in a world that, to me anyways, feels completely divided by everything from diet to politics, sometimes we need to remember that we are of a million. We are part of a group. We are part of a people that understand one another and can lean on each other and find the support that we need. And that peace of mind is something I desperately need.
I’m one of a million.