Hi I’m Matt and I’ve been working with Toni and MS Positive since the start of September 2018, although I have been doing Pilates and Tai Chi classes since the Mitzvah day in November 2017.
The classes have really had many positive effects on me, both physically and mentally. Like every MS patient I could list many things that the condition has taken away including running and my teaching career. However, being the kind of person I am now, I have taken stock of the things I have got back in the last year that I have been involved in MS Positive.
I had just taken medical retirement from a 20-year career in teaching when I met Toni through a mutual friend who told me about the charity and what she wanted to do. She invited me to the MS Positive Mitzvah day and I remember saying “well I’ve got to do something” because I felt quite down and miserable and was looking for something to force me from the sofa to avoid Jeremy Kyle and day-time TV.
I had been involved with an MS support group many years ago, but stopped because it was too depressing; everything seemed to be about the myriad of symptoms people had experienced. Mostly, it was people sitting around complaining. This is not what our classes are like. Sure, symptoms come up as do this week’s difficulties. But most of the time we are doing something ‘positive’ to make a change in our well being. Challenging us to be better. I don’t believe in complaining, it does nothing and doesn’t make anything better.
I have gained! I have gained strength in my core which I thought was made of cake and biscuits. I have improved with my balance issues, the length of time I can walk and I do not sleep in the day any more as I have more energy.
As well as the physical side of things, I have gained mental strength in that my mood is better. I have gained the time to get well and a lack of stress in my life now I’m no longer teaching but these classes and the exercises I do at home have allowed me be calm and think, meditate even and gain some clarity.
So I can order my day, do the things that need doing and spend more time thinking about other things not just MS for a change.
I was waiting for class to begin on a Friday with some of the ladies that do Tai Chi with me (you know who you are!). We were having a light-hearted chat about MS stuff and common symptoms and easily slid into a conversation focusing on our shared bladder issues. Nowhere else would you get a conversation with relative strangers about something so personal? This is something I’m very grateful to MS Positive for, we barely know each other, we are from different back grounds, we are different ages but we all have MS and all have experienced the worst of it – but we can still laugh at it!
Do please join us at our classes.