Am I validated?

Hi all

I’ve been working on my degree with Open University on and off for a decade. I had a 5 year break when I got diagnosed and decided to pick it up again 3 years ago.

It is all I have in my life now. I have no job, I have no driving license because my eyesight is so bad now. I’m 36 and housebound. It was meant to be my springboard into better employment and now it’s become my life’s work. I need the sense of personal achievement I’ll feel when I finish. I need to prove to myself that despite MS, I can still achieve what I want to do.

So I’m now refusing to be around people because of covid. I’m not worried about getting ill so much as what it could do to my condition. I can’t afford to defer any modules now as my body is packing up so fast that I feel that I need to focus and get my head down and just get it finished. Already I’m in a wheelchair and I can’t write and the other things I mentioned are obviously problematic. Studying is hard and time consuming but it is my everything.

So anyway it’s my birthday next week and people want to do things and I just Don’t. Want. To. Be. Near. Anyone.

I’m sure people think I’m overreacting. I’ve been put on my ass for weeks in the past because I had a cold.

My anxiety levels are through the roof.

Is it ok to feel like this?

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Of course it is ok to feel like this.
It might not be ideal and others might hate it.
Only you know your priorities and how you feel.
Clearly other people want to be with you and support you, so it might be good to politely express how you feel and thank them for their intended kindness, but when you feel more able to spend time with them you will be in touch.
So you remain in control but you have not shut out others who care.
Wishing you all the best and hope that your OU work is successful.

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Of course it’s OK. As Mick said, you set your priorities and only you have the right to do that. If other people want to ‘celebrate’ your birthday, they should be sensitive enough to allow you to avoid them. As the old song says ‘it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to’, or ‘it’s my birthday and I’ll do what I like’!

You are so right about completing your degree. It’s a sense of real satisfaction to get that piece of paper. I did mine as a ‘mature’ student (mature? Not a chance, I was a stupid girlie!) finishing at the age of 28. I’m still glad I did it. Theoretically it didn’t actually qualify me to get a better job (I ended up initially doing the same job!), but it taught me to write.

Maybe you can suggest to friends and family who want to celebrate your birthday that you do it virtually? Ie a Zoom or Skype party. That keeps the ‘party’ short and enables you to keep safe.

Best of luck with your degree TB.


Of course it’s OK… you feel any way you want to, and it’s your decision, not anyone else’s. Mick’s approach seems a good one. Maybe tell people thanks for the offers but that you’re very vulnerable to anything going around, so would prefer not to go out, to protect your own health and wellbeing.
(I too did the OU thing, after I dropped out of my original degree course many years ago - took me six years while working full time and moving house in the middle of it, so I do understand the determination - the feeling of accomplishment when you’re done makes up for a lot! What are you studying?)

Your birthday, your rules.


As I understand it a fever can cause a relapse, and that’s the last thing any of us need so I’m still avoiding just about everyone.

Hope you have a quiet birthday.