Sheila's blog: Why I Still Come to the Office (Even with Two Crutches and a Mobility Scooter)

clock Released On 02 July 2024

Sheila's blog: Why I Still Come to the Office (Even with Two Crutches and a Mobility Scooter)

I want to tackle a question I get a lot, particularly with my somewhat unorthodox commute– it's the big "why?" Why, with secondary progressive MS and my limited mobility, do I still trek into the office 3-4 days a week?

The truth is, it's not for one reason. It's a constellation of tiny motivators that, when you add them all up, get me out the door each morning. Routine is a big one. We all crave a sense of structure, and that's doubly true when your health is impacted. The familiar rhythm of the workweek also helps keep me grounded.

But routine alone wouldn't be near enough to explain it. Let's face it, there are days I'd rather stay in bed than experience the morning traffic (although, I will say that London is so beautiful first thing in the morning). What truly gets me going is the people that I meet every day when I go into the office. Human connection is a powerful force, and being in the office provides me with a daily dose of friendly faces, connections with colleagues and friends, and that spark of collaboration that can't quite be replicated virtually. It's a sense of community and a feeling of belonging that goes way beyond just a job.

There's also purpose. Work allows me to contribute, to feel like I'm still using my skills and experience. It's a way to remind myself, and perhaps even to inspire others, that MS doesn't define me and that I’m so much more than this wretched illness. This disease might come with a hefty set of baggage (and trust me, I wouldn't mind sending some to the hold!), but it doesn't take away my capabilities.

Speaking of baggage, if I’m honest – sometimes the office is a welcome distraction from my MS. Be it focusing on a report, brain-storming with colleagues or working in a team, it all takes my mind off the realities of MS, even for a short while. Don't get me wrong, there are days when that 6am alarm feels so hard, but more often than not, the act of getting up, seeing daylight and getting going becomes its own motivator. There's a quiet power in routine and accomplishment, even on those less-than-brilliant days.

Now, I'm not sugarcoating it. Working with MS does come with a fair amount of challenges. There are days when the fatigue is overwhelming, or a migraine or other symptom forces me to stay home. Ultimately, the decision of whether to come into the office isn't about being the hero or defying my limitations; it's about what works for me. I like the life of work, the camaraderie, and the feeling of contributing. It's a way to maintain a sense of normalcy and to keep moving both physically, mentally and emotionally. I’m not ready to give up, I don’t think I’ll ever be.

Michael J. Fox's quote, "With gratitude, optimism is sustainable," resonates with me.  I'm grateful for the chance to contribute meaningfully through my work.  Having a supportive team, strong leadership, and a fantastic manager who mentors and guides me makes all the difference.

Let's face it, none of us are without our challenges. MS might be mine, but everyone has their own battles to fight. The key, I believe, is to find what works for you, listen to your body, and most importantly, to be kind to yourself. Remember it’s not about being a superhero, it’s about finding what works for you.


Sheila has worked in the asset management industry for over 15 years. She is married to a wonderful husband, is mother to two amazing children, has Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis and lives in London. Sheila goes to the MS Therapy Centre in Harrow for physio and hyperbaric oxygen therapy once a week. Donations to support this wonderful organisation are very welcome. Sheila can be found on Instagram @MS_in_the_City.


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