In the last year of primary school, I was asked to play my flute at our confirmation in front of the bishop. I got up, walked to my music stand and played my piece really well. I always remember my teacher saying that I had nerves of steel. I had the ability to calm my nerves, bolster my confidence and get the job done. Even as a 12-year-old standing on an altar in front of a church VIP!
This confident and calm disposition served me well for many years through meetings, conferences and presentations. It even got me through nerve-wracking appointments with my Neurologist when I was diagnosed.
Over ten years ago, tiny cracks started to appear. It started with making silly mistakes on emails. I was used to tapping out email reply after email reply in a busy open office with multiple conversations taking place and phones ringing. I could even keep a conversation going while emailing at the same time. But slowly I started to lose that ability. I started to get really irritated by the background noise. And I was berating myself regularly for not reading emails correctly, missing the meaning and sending emails with dreaded spelling mistakes!
What was going on? Sorry, no prizes for guessing!
It got worse from there as I would forget words, lose track of fast-paced conversations and find myself being silent as I focused my concentration on just keeping up. On a bad day I would forget to turn up to the meeting at all. I was starting to look incompetent and unprofessional. Instead of tackling the situation head-on, I tried to soldier onwards and ended up burning out.
But that’s not the end of the story. I left full-time work and got a Postgraduate in Digital Marketing. It was really difficult. Not because the course was hard. And not because I had to take a steadier pace - my brain does not do last minute cramming anymore. My biggest challenge is that I had developed a Stay Puft Marshmallow Man-sized imposter syndrome. (By the way, younger readers may need to google that. If you do then make sure you watch the film Ghostbusters too).
And ‘Stay Puft’ is very much a challenge today. Part of me wants to hide this slower, ‘give me more time to process’ version of myself. But the other part still has ambition and wants to put my brain to good use. I am not sure what the answer is but suspect that I need to slowly get back out there. And if I do make mistakes, it really doesn’t matter.
I should take out a spoon and eat Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, one soft marshmallow bit at a time!
Hi, I’m Treasa Anderson, a Digital Marketing Specialist, originally from Dublin and living in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
My hobbies include trying to motivate myself to walk and do the occasional HIT session but it's really feeding an insatiable appetite for property programmes (please send on your recommendations)
I became an MS anorak shortly after being diagnosed in 2015, and can talk for hours about DMTs, treatment strategies and environmental factors. I even completed the 'Understanding Multiple Sclerosis' course from the University of Tasmania.