Life, the Universe, MS & Me

How Derren Brown Saved My Mind (or how I met a group of lovely people on the internet and regained my thought process)
December 1, 2009, 12:27 pm
Filed under: life, MS, Thanks

OK, so the title is not strictly true so before you think I am very mad let me explain….

When I left university with my shiny new BSc (hons) Archaeology I had a plan. It was a good one too. Two weeks until jury service, two weeks of jury service then, go digging. Have tent and trowel, can travel. Beautiful. Actually in the summer of 2006 there was a gas pipeline being laid through south Wales, there were many companies involved in the rescue digs as they are called. Investigating and retrieving evidence before it is destroyed, to enable preservation by record. I was going to get myself in on it.

Then in the intervening two weeks before jury service, I was sat watching TV and noticed that I had pins and needles in my left big toe, very odd. Anyway over the next few days it ended up on both sides and extending to the bottom of my ribcage. It all went numb. The GP told me I was fat. Nice.

This lasted until the end of November, I didn’t apply for a job, my hands were numb too, and having a stumbly person with a tendency to drop things on a site is not really welcome. So I started looking for a job when it went away. And I found one, they ere still doing the pipeline but the portion was not starting until the end of January and was not taking applications till after crimbo. Well that was fine with me.

At the beginning of January I went into my old work and asked about getting a reference. They said they would and also said I could go back for a month until the new job started, well I didn’t know if I would get it yet, so a back up plan is a back up plan and I was back in the shop. Then my eye went funny.

I could not see lights or red. And it had gone misty, the GP referred my to the eye unit. The ophthalmologist said I had a chance of MS and I needed to see a neurologist. This was January 2007. I realised that I would not be able to get away for my digging job. I realised I was stuck in a small town where everyone had small town ideas. I didn’t think like them anymore. Uni had been truly mind freeing. I didn’t tell anyone what they thought I had I just went for tests. I was getting more and more run down and tired. I was taking on to many hours in the shop and being made to feel guilty if I didn’t.

Over the next 18 months I had two MRIs and a lumber puncture before they diagnosed me. I was very low. I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone properly. I was essentially wallowing in my own melancholy. It was the end of may/beginning of June 2008 when I got the diagnosis. Work was particularly unsympathetic. And it got even lower. This year my patches of confusion (related to my mental fatigue) had got worse and I had had to ask the neurologist if he could help me. So it all came about at once I guess. I started taking modafinil, which helps enormously (well I haven’t forgotten what money means in the middle of the day lately and i manage to stay awake past 4PM), and Derren’s events programmes. So I looked him up on twitter. I had had twitter a little while so that I could get research updates from the trust and the society but I had also found some MS’ers to talk to and they did help to some extent with what I was feeling, because some of them are more advanced than me though, I do find some of what they say a little harrowing sometimes.

So then obviously I found the blog. A little seam of loveliness in the blogosphere, I said in my first post that I felt like I had lately crawled out of an abyss. Well I think this was my lifeline. I managed to settle back into myself and slowly find my ability to think again. I had regained my rationality and found some sensible people to comment amongst (well I do think some of you are a bit weird but that’s ok).  I am so glad that I played that ARG with some of them. You don’t realise it but you nutty, funny, intelligent, random, lovely weirdos helped me find my mind again, in my head at least I very nearly feel my own self. I am out of the abyss and my mind is awake again.

Thanks xx

(Sorry Derren you didn’t save my mind, it was the Brownian Army, and you should feel lucky to have such amazing followers.)


18 Comments so far
Leave a comment

That’s one of the lovliest blog posts I’ve ever read. I’m so glad you’ve started this hun, I’ll be an avid follower as long as you’re blogging 🙂

Comment by TheMagicOfMedicine

That was such a nice post to read! Regarding the ARG and how it helped you-Feel a strange writing this but the ARG was the lifeline for me. I was seriously depressed before it and i cant thank the ARG enough for bringing me out my lowest point for a long time.I couldnt even function on a day to day basis and never ate for weeks eeeek! Its not new i’ve been like it for a long time but everyone helped me re-focus and get thinking thus stimulating the old brain cells lol Thank you everyone-I consider you all friends! xxxx

Comment by Diane Brown

Sending an e-hug

Comment by Izzi

You’re not alone hun. I don’t have MS but I do have some very very low times like you have described and it’s lovely when you’re feeling low that someone takes time out of their day to give you a virtual hug and give you that little lift that you need to carry on.

Big hugs for yours to me yesterday.

x x x

Comment by Jackie (anxietysucks)

That was a pleasure to read – am glad the DB Army were able to do one special thing you for you 🙂


Comment by Nadia

Thats good,Helen. I also went numb and had lumber puctureDiagnose took ages I had double vision after twin birth Lasted 3 weeks. Think being in wet clothes Sat upset my system so had diarrhoea last night loads of rinsng andwashing good old MS Hope you dont find me harrowing Ring about flaming scooter now then got to sort outnew allinone printer luv SUE

Comment by suejan

What an interesting, thoughful and honest blog.
Well done Helen. I look forward to reading more.

Comment by Jamie

Thanx for reading guys i appreciate it, really lovely for you all to comment too!

Comment by helen1984

thank you for the link, absolutely lovely, sweet and heart-felt message. I love the DB army too! x

Comment by parma_violets

all i want to do is hug you!!

Comment by coocumber

What a lovely blog, and I agree we are a right bunch,
I fell into the DB ARG rabbit hole while convalescing after a major operation, I got a burst appendix and contracted peritonitis, I lay unconscious for 3 days before I became conscious enough to phone for help, I had 6 weeks off work after a 8 hour op, and was told how lucky I was. and as the TV was rubbish I spent hours on the net, and was always a DB fan so bought the poster, and here we are.
I love following you all on twitter, you make me laugh.

Comment by Irene (Hallmork)

Awww Helen!! Huge ((((((((((HUGS))))))))))

You’re one of the bravest people I’ve ever known, not once did you moan there or feel sorry for yourself (which would be well within your rights), you’re an upbeat, lovely, kind person and Derren should be very proud to have YOU as one of his followers!

I’m so glad to have got to know you through Twitter (thanks Derren) and will definitely be following your blog from now on.
You should be very proud of yourself, you’re a star!


Comment by DioniC

Aww Helen, That’s lovely.

You are a very brave lady.

x x x

Comment by Surzy

That was a really heartfelt message… you are a wonderful lady, Helen, and I am so pleased to have met you on the ARG. Derren Brown Army ROCKS!!! Hugs to you and twitter soon xxxxx

Comment by Annette (nettmac)

I love that… Brownian army!!! Yay ok well I love being part of the brownian army and love all my fellow soldiers !! What I have learned from this is sometimes when I’m feeling hard done by I’m gonna stop myself and think of you and all other people that have horrid diseases/syndromes and such like and think what u have to go through on a day to day basis and remind myself that my life is a piece of cake in comparison!!! U seem to be a strong woman who will fight the ms all the way and I take my hat off to you, and this is a good way for people to learn xx much love xxxx nikki xx

Comment by Nikki

This is a lovely heart-warming post, and I am so glad that the forum and the ARG has helped you so much. We have all made great friends on there, who I hope will remain in our lives for a long time to come. Stay strong, stay in touch and always believe. Massive love and hugs, Claire xx

Comment by LaiyT

I read this post Helen and was very touched by it.

I bet you’re drawing on resources you didn’t know you had – it’s been a pleasure to have you with us. All the best.

Comment by codifier

Sorry it has taken me soooooo long to read this. I’m sure you’re an inspiration to many people (myself included). Look forward to meeting you very soon.

Keep smiling
Rhian xx

Comment by Rhian

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