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The 'Paper Plane' Journeys That Help Me Cope With Multiple Sclerosis

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What do you do when you don’t fit in the box? When you are not like everyone else? How do you find solace?

Everything and nothing in my life is normal. Filling prescriptions, doctor appointments, and physical therapy are a part of my daily schedule.

I can be in a store and not remember what I need to purchase. Out of nowhere, my left hand can stop working. I can be at my own home and for a moment, a very scary moment, forget where I am.

Those kinds of fears follow me into my dreams. When I go to bed, I have no control. I run all around in my nightmares trying to escape those realities. Causing me to lose sleep. To wake up crying. To feel there is no escape. Afraid I’m going to get used to the pain. Make my misfortunes an acceptable way to live.

As a result, sometimes I use my mind to elude my circumstance. My imagination always shows me a better existence.

When I feel out of place. And maybe I shouldn’t be here. When I want to move to the other side of the earth. Possibly the other side of the moon.

When it just gets to be too much. I’m ready. Ready to get away. Suspending all disbelief. I close my eyes and board my paper plane. Meditating about the joy of living free from symptoms. Sitting in silence. Waiting for nirvana. Wishing my troubles away. Relax, fantasize, and dream.

A retreat. Spending some time not in this place. Taking an airlift in my thoughts to a vacation spot. Where there is no gravity.

Living high. First class. Flying 30,000 feet above the ground. No turbulence. No crying babies. No fasten seat belt signs. Just calm skies.

Staring out the window. Observing passing landscapes. Seeing familiar images in the distance. Watching my life form in the clouds. Viewing myself as young and energetic. Driving my car around town. Going on shopping sprees at stores. Putting bags of clothes in my trunk. Bicycling down the street. And jogging in the park. All things I can no longer do.

Those were happier times. And I’m reliving them again. Images so vivid. Clear as day. Playing like a movie right in front of me.

I try to stay as long as I can. Because when I live in my head, I do everything right. I feel safe. Escaping reality. Sleepwalking in my fantasies like I’m healthy even though I have trouble controlling my body when I’m conscious.

In my mind, I’m a nomad roaming the world like a lone drifter searching for answers to my problems. I’ve done it so much, sometimes I get lost in my dreams for a better existence.

And somehow after every getaway, when I land back on earth, my life becomes stable. Making me a much happier person.

And in the back of my mind, I’m always wanting to take another trip. Board another flight. Climb on my paper plane and float away.

Originally published: September 26, 2022
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