Thursday, August 26, 2010

MS is like kryptonite to us Supermen

I heard so many times about MS being a "woman's disease." Sure, mostly women get diagnosed with MS but guys aren't impervious to it. So why do women get it more than men? No one is sure why but one theory has to do with hormones. The fact that women get MS more than men 3 to 1 is one of the things that makes me feel less of a man.

A famous author once said  "A woman simply is, but a man must become". What does that mean? It's talking about masculine psychology. There are roles that a male must play in order to feel manly or masculine. If someone tells a guy to "be a man" they are telling him to be strong, tough, assertive, and independent. Without these qualities one might not feel like much of a man. Its not self pity, its tied more into psychoanalytical tradition.  We are taught from early boyhood to not cry, to not fear, to be strong, to be the provider, the breadwinner, king of the castle. So what happens when a guy who is taught the ways of being a man suddenly be diagnosed with a disease that hinders all these expectations? He will begin a reevaluation of his masculinity.

It's hard to be a man when you are being pushed in a wheelchair. It's hard to be a man when someone has to drive your vehicle for you. It's hard to be a man when you are on a low income due to disability and a girl buys your food. It's hard to be a man when you ask for help for simple things. There are times where a guy with MS will get frustrated and upset that he breaks down. When he can no longer change a tire because he is too heat sensitive and loses his strength. Or mow a yard or change oil or open jars. There are so many situations and tasks that requires a man's touch that a guy with MS can no longer do.

Sexual dysfunction caused by MS can make you feel even less of a man. Everything from not getting it up to not being in the mood. A number of factors can hinder a man's sexual appetite. Performance anxiety, fatigue, cramps, pain, disinterest, stress etc... It feels like the stars and planets must be aligned and in harmony for the ability to give intimacy. It's very disheartening sometimes for a man to reject his lover because of a disease manipulating his libido.

Multiple Sclerosis to a masculine guy is like kryptonite to Superman. It makes us feel weak and vulnerable.

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