Representing the Middle of the Spectrum
These two extremes can be useful in raising awareness for much needed research funding but I don’t find them helpful. They both make me miserable for different reasons, one for the sheer terror of how things might be in the future and one for the able-bodied dancer I used to be.
This got me thinking about how I would like MS to be represented in the media. The trouble with MS is that no two people are the same. You can talk to different people with the same diagnosis who experience the disease very differently.
This is what makes it difficult to represent MS accurately in the media, but I would like to see the millions of people in the middle of the spectrum represented – those like me with mobility issues who still drag themselves to work every day or look after children; those doing normal, every-day activities without asking for recognition or a medal!
I’d love to see MS quietly represented on popular soap operas. A few years ago there was an HIV story line on a popular British soap opera and after the initial bombshell was dropped the character just quietly got on with his life.
Every now and again they revisited his diagnosis and explored issues such as dating or medication, but it sent out a crystal clear message that a diagnosis of HIV is not the end of the world and it doesn’t even have to lead to AIDS.
I’d like to see a main character struggle with an MS diagnosis and the journey to acceptance, but then just live with it as we all do without high drama! Maybe the character could live a long and happy life with a few flare-ups along the way, which is much more representative of the MS millions of us around the world live with.
I suppose this kind of representation isn’t attention grabbing enough though; it doesn’t sell newspapers or get airplay, but it would educate people in a far more responsible way.