MS Body, MS Mind

I spend a lot of time with my head under water these days. It gives me time to think. The thoughts that have entered (or entertained) my mind as of late: what the heck is going on with my body and why do I like having my head under water so much?

In many ways, my thoughts about these questions are helping me prepare for a very long upcoming ultra marathon swim. When I think about my chosen goal while on land, I am frightened by what lay ahead. I am fearful of what it will do to my body; I am afraid I may not have the mental toughness to make it to the other side. When I am in the water however I feel at ease both physically and mentally.

A few days ago I was on my 7th lap around Thetis Lake – just over 10 kilometers into a swim – when I realized – ‘I’m not tired’. I felt relaxed and was quite happy to continue swimming…more…and more. I was fascinated by this. I thought about my physical state 8 years ago when walking a block was a major chore and swimming 10 lengths of a pool required a post 3 hour nap.

As I swam along I could feel the cool water soothing my body and the sun infusing vitamin D through my back. The only thing I could see was my arms in front of me as they entered the water and the water and tree line to the left and right each time I took a breath.

There was no sound other than that of my breathing. There was no negativity from others; no aggression; no violence. I was at peace.

As the day of my event draws nearer, I will keep these thoughts close to me and I will approach my 34k swim the same way I have approached my MS, and that is one stroke at a time in a calm and peaceful state.


7 Comments on “MS Body, MS Mind”

  1. Susan you are truly an amazing woman, a real inspiration to all of us with MS. Along with your swimming skills, you are a wonderful person who is a mentor to so many of us !!
    Good luck on your 34km swim !!

  2. Paul Inns says:

    Great attitude my friend.

  3. Charmaine says:

    wow, very motivating to hear someone like yourself express the same feelings that I often feel when I’m pushing hard with my laps in the pool. It’s always less scary when you’re in the thick of it, it becomes so soothing. It’s being on land and looking out at the challenge that holds the burden. You are very inspiring and motivating. Thank you for sharing your words!

  4. number1lala says:

    “I am afraid I may not have the mental toughness” I can’t imagine anyone with more mental toughness. Best wishes for success in your latest adventure!

  5. Wow, so amazing. You got me excited to want to swim! I rarely swim but I enjoy it when I do. I secretly want to do an Ironman some day, so I guess I better start swimming more often. You have inspired me!

  6. Carol says:

    Thanks Susan: I have been experiencing a sense of mental relaxation as well while swimming. I guess it is the rhythmic movement and sounds of swimming that gives me a sense of calmness AND capability. I can’t believe how far I have progressed and how much I enjoy open water swimming. Thank you for inspiring me and showing me how to do this.


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