Trishna Bharadia, 43, Multiple Sclerosis
How would you explain Multiple Sclerosis to a child?
Multiple Sclerosis makes your body not work properly. It’s like when your mobile signal fades in and out – my brain signals aren’t communicating properly with the rest of my body. It means that someone with MS might some of the time or all of the time find it more difficult to walk, talk, think or concentrate. They might get strange feelings in their skin, like not being able to feel properly or having tingling like being pricked with lots of pins. They might get very tired a lot of the time and might feel pain. Their muscles might not do what they want them to do. It might mean that person needs some extra help every day to do all the things they would like to do so it’s important to be kind and understanding.
What would you want the world to know about Multiple Sclerosis?
Two things – firstly that everyone with MS is different so don’t assume that just because you know one person who has MS that you know everyone who has MS. And secondly that MS doesn’t just affect people from the Caucasian population, which is what was believed for a long time. It also affects people who are Black, Asian, Hispanic etc. I’m a case in point!
What does it feel like to live with Multiple Sclerosis?
Living with MS means living with uncertainty. I’m a planner and organiser. I like to know what’s happening and when. I like to know what’s going to happen next. With MS that’s not possible. The unpredictable nature of the condition was probably what I found the most difficult to come to terms with following my diagnosis. It’s made me much more aware of making the most of every moment and cherishing what I am able to do in the here and now.
What brings you joy?
My three old niece – seeing life through a toddler’s eyes is just amazing, funny and inspiring. Growing vegetables – I love being in the garden and growing yummy things to eat. Also dancing – I feel free and happy when I dance. I can lose myself in the music and it doesn’t matter what sort of day I’ve been having, dancing will always be able to lift my mood at least a little bit. That’s why I loved having the opportunity to participate in “Strictly Come Dancing” (“Dancing with the Stars) in the UK! And lastly my advocacy work – this makes me feel like I’m making a difference to people in the MS community both now and in the future. It’s built my confidence, enabled me to develop new skills, taken me to different countries and even to 10 Downing Street and the UK parliament, and has brought some amazing people into my life. It’s made me into the person that I am today, which is someone I’m incredibly proud to be.