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Let me tell you, you do!

While my family will be the first to tell you how ‘strong’ I am, they’re also the most biased people in the world. They did, however, change my perspective on things this week and are the inspiration for this post. They are forever my strength and the reason I get up every day and try a little harder!

I am a huge believer in the little things, and as a contributor to this blog I have had the privilege of connecting with some pretty incredible people, who have directly impacted not only my writing but also my life, in the simplest and most meaningful ways! Just the other day, one of my Twitter followers messaged me asking for an update on my health and when I would be posting my next blog. She noticed that I hadn’t posted in a while and sweetly admitted to bookmarking my page as my avid reader. At first, I was in shock; I couldn’t believe that someone actually took the time to read my posts, let alone to bookmark them. I expressed these feelings to my family and naturally, I got a lot of the ‘don’t be so hard on yourself’ look (you know the one I mean), mixed with, “You never know who you’re inspiring,” and, “It’s the little things that mean the most.” My follower took my breath away. I was so deeply touched that she took the time to connect with me and her kindness instantly snapped me into a writing frenzy. Since then, I have written two pieces and crossed off almost everything on my ‘to do’ list!

I have to say, I’m pretty inspired by her!

This got me thinking about life before MS, how quickly I used to take the little things for granted and that I often didn’t take enough time to appreciate the people around me. I feel like all this changed when I graduated to that ‘sick-world’, the one I’ve spent so much time telling you about. I have come to value the kindness of the online world and have been deeply comforted by strangers all over the globe. Despite our distance and language barriers, somehow, our struggles have connected us on a level that I have never thought possible. As my boyfriend would say. “It’s a kind of empathy that can only be felt by fellow sick people,” and he’s absolutely right. I can’t explain how MS feels, but my fellow MSers can certainly relate and it’s that connection that lets me know I will never face this disease alone.

It’s this new perspective that has reminded me that others have and will continue to gather their strength here as well. It’s just amazing to see that now I’m on the other side helping others – I’ve come so far!

Which brings me back to Twitter and another wonderful follower surviving through cancer. We’ve connected in our ‘sick worlds’, shared our struggles and have even started a bit of a book club; she’s an inspiration and I’m so honoured to be a part of her journey. It brings me strength and motivation in my day-to-day life to know there are people out there who are affected by my writing, even just for the couple of minutes it takes to read a post. As an MSer and ‘sick person’, I feel a great responsibility to this world and will try to keep it as brightly lit as I can!


Ashley Martin is a social justice and mental health advocate living with MS. Ashley has found an outlet to help others and by writing about her experiences both here and for the MS Society of Canada. Follower her journey on HMC's Supportive Minds Blog, and follow Ashley on Twitter.

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