Category Archives: dating

3 Dating Tips When You Have Multiple Sclerosis

Three Tips for Dating with Multiple Sclerosis

Receiving a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) can feel overwhelming, and you may assume that dating will no longer possible. However, new treatments have enabled people living with MS to forestall disabling symptoms for a far longer time period than in the past. The typical onset of MS symptoms is between 20-50 years of age (per the National Multiple Sclerosis Society [NMSS]). Tingling and numbness in legs and feet are often the first symptoms experienced by a person afflicted with MS, but these symptoms may be caused by many other disorders.

Regardless of the initial symptoms that resulted in a doctor’s visit leading to an MS diagnosis, you do not have to resign yourself to remaining alone if you really want intimacy and/or marriage in your future.  The following describes the most common forms of MS and their symptoms, as well as three tips for dating with specific MS symptoms.

What is Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis?

Relapsing Remitting MS (RRMS) is the most common of the three forms of MS, and also the most treatable form. Unlike Primary Progressive MS (PPMS) or Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS), symptoms can spontaneously appear and disappear in people afflicted with RRMS. Weakness in the feet and hands (and blindness) can occur, but can also spontaneously resolve. Emerging treatments are enabling people with RRMS to avoid developing most of the symptoms leading to an inability to perform in a workplace role.

Notably, an article in 2018 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry reported that early treatment can halt neurological damage from MS from worsening, so beginning a medication regimen as soon as possible after an MS diagnosis is crucial.

Two Types of Progressive Multiple Sclerosis

In contrast to RRMS, the neurological damage associated with Primary Progressive MS (PPMS) or Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS) is typically not reversible. However, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) notes that only 15 percent of all people with MS are diagnosed with PPMS. Meanwhile, SPMS usually occurs in people diagnosed with RRMS who do not receive early treatment.

Since the neurological damage that occurs with these two above-described MS forms is irreversible, people diagnosed with either PPMS or SPMS are more likely to have more obvious symptoms (e.g., an inability to pick up a fork). The NMSS notes that 50 percent of people with RRMS who do not take medication develop SPMS within 10 years.

Once damage to the myelin sheath occurs (due to the immune system attack on the central nervous system), it is more likely to become even more damaged. This is why medication plays such an important role in preventing the neurological damage leading to paralysis.

Dating Tip Number One – Recognise and Respect Your Own Limitations

You may not be able to walk without a cane to meet your date, so it makes sense to use it when needed. While your mobility may not be affected to the point of needing a wheelchair, your date will not appreciate it if you try to hide (or minimize) a real disability.

There is nothing shameful about needing a cane (or a wheelchair), or being unable to pour yourself a glass of water from a pitcher in a pub. Most people like to help strangers who need assistance, and you probably do not want to begin an intimate relationship with someone who displays no compassion for disabled people. Therefore, hiding your disability from your date will not enable you to know whether you have really met a man or woman you might want to eventually marry.

Dating Tip Number Two – Coping with Fatigue

People living with MS often experience periods of fatigue (and hot weather is more likely to produce a feeling of tremendous fatigue). If you are dining in a pub or restaurant in summer that does not have air conditioning, you may feel fatigued more quickly than usual. For this reason, choosing a comfortable place for a date (that is not over-heated due to lack of air conditioning) is advisable.

Dating Tip Three – Coping with Cognitive Impairments

Many adults who have lived with MS for a long time experience some short-term memory loss. This is one of the most embarrassing symptoms of MS, and one that you may need to explain to someone you are dating. Otherwise, your memory impairment (or pseudobulbar affect – resulting in inappropriate laughing or crying) may be misunderstood by that person.

One way to cope with short-term memory loss is to keep a journal to jot down important things you learned about the other person on each date that you want to remember. Meanwhile – if you know that you have pseudobulbar affect – it is best to tell the man or woman you are dating as soon as possible about this affliction.

Utilizing an online disabled dating platform  to meet compatible people to date is as much an option for adults with disabilities as anyone else. You may even meet someone with a hidden disability that shares the same hopes and fears as you. There is someone who understands the issues faced by people with MS that will be interested in dating you, so go ahead and take a chance!

Valentines Greetings and Disabilitymatch at NAIDEX 2018

I am very excited that NAIDEX have asked me to return again in April to give a seminar about disability dating.  This is really exciting for me and it gives me a great excuse to go up to Birmingham and meet up with all my friends and contacts in the uK disability sector.  I will be making a huge effort to present some great seminar material at the show so I do hope that some of you will attend.   We had a good turnout in 2017 and most of the participants had a great laugh.  The organisers of the NAIDEX show seem very keen to bring the social aspects of disability into the show which is a great improvement over the old system where everything seemed geared towards the latest equipment and nothing very human.

I will probably be based at the disability horizons stand with my great chum the amazing Martyn Sibley so if you are visiting the show you can leave a message for me with his team.

Just to bring you up to speed with disabilitymatch, we tend to chat to our community on Facebook and Twitter these days but now and then I like to keep this little blog going.  If you are not following us on facebook then you should, we post regularly and try to bring you lots of interesting disability news.   We tweet most days and I am just working on our Spring Podcast.  I hope to have the podcast out in the next few weeks.

So, this was just to alert you on NAIDEX and I do hope that you will attend my seminar and have a chat with me.

Love to all and a very happy Valentines

NAIDEX 2017 . Come for Free and Listen to My Seminar

The NAIDEX show is coming and I am a speaker which is very exciting for me as I have never given a seminar at an exhibition before.  Anyway it is always fun to try new things.  The organisers seem to have confidence in me as they have asked me to do 2 slots, Tuesday and Thursday.

I always enjoy the NAIDEX show and it is great fun to try out the latest mobility scooters and race around the exhibition hall on them.  I will be spending my quieter moments on the disabilityhorizons stand so if you are looking for me then that is where to leave me a message.  I would be so happy to meet any of my blog readers at the show, I might even offer you a cup of coffee.  We have our new podcast due to be ready next week and it has some great interviews.

Best wishes

Being a Disabled Gay Man in a Grindr-Led World – an Insight.

 

 

This is a fascinating insight into how a disabled man in Toronto interacts with the gay community which is so centred on looks.  How he deals with his experiences is revelatory and worth bringing to our blog.  In a Grindr led gay world of dating the disabled can easily fall through the cracks.

It goes without saying that the gym has become a temple of sorts for many of us in the queer community. I think that if someone wants to take care of their health, and finds the gym to be the place to do it, I think that is really good—for them. But, I don’t think that this is necessarily a fair assessment for everyone, and I’d like to use my experience as a queer cripple to highlight why that is.

As somebody with a significant disability, and a wheelchair user, I have always looked at the gym in a weird way. I understand it’s value and importance to overall bodily health, but I have always had this feeling that they have, in one way or another, been forced on me, as a man with disabilities. It was almost as if I had to go to the gym with some hope of bettering myself, and fixing my disability — eradicating it from me. I remember one exchange I had on Grindr where a guy told me that if I went to the gym with him we could “work off my disability fat.” Another guy suggested that I needed to get out of my chair, and be more fit to be sexy.” These insensitive comments aside, does anybody know what to do with the 300 lbs. of wheelchair that I have attached to me 16 hours of the day?

Let me share with you what my experiences trying to access physical fitness regimes have been like. I enter these spaces in my big, clunky motorized wheelchair, and some conventionally attractive trainer-man, who I am secretly hoping will meet me in the steam room later, works with me. What quickly becomes apparent is that none of the equipment is accessible to my body. I remember one time spending a good twenty minutes with a trainer, falling over an arm bike trying to get one revolution done, but my wheelchair wouldn’t fit. All around me were these “gym-bodied boys” and I couldn’t even use the hand bike? I’m sure I looked real cute that day. All the other equipment wasn’t really usable for me, and as much as I wanted to entice someone to lift me out of my chair, and truly bring my gay gym-gimp fantasy to life, people were concerned about liability. Nobody wants to hurt, break or maim the crippled guy more than he already is, right?

So, if the gym isn’t an option, my next avenue is physical therapy. PT is something that I hated as a child, but something that I have come to accept as an adult. Here is the problem with it that I have had. As a disabled person, where I live in Toronto, you can access physical therapy only four times. This means you are allowed only four meetings with this person, after which you are meant to continue the therapy on your own. Hold up – they know I am disabled, and I can’t even dress myself, right? How am I gonna do this on my own? Add to this, the fact that they want me to lift nothing more than one-pound weights – because anything else might be a “liability issue.”

Ugh. So, what can I do to get fit? Where does one queer crippled guy go to obtain the body that the app-holes are thirsting for? Spaces like the gym, filled to the brim with beautiful bodies and bulging boys, are so often not designed with my disability in mind. The messaging I hear in the gym is loud and clear: I need to be fixed, but there’s nothing we can really do for you here. This is further proof that my queer crippled body has no real value, as it is.

The next time you tell a disabled guy that they just need to work out, think about the privilege that comes with that statement. The next time you tell a guy that you can’t fuck him because he doesn’t look fit enough for you; think about just how unfair that is, about how he may have tried really hard to get in shape in spite of all his needs, and was denied at every turn, because the service providers were unsure of how to assist him. Also, the next time I see a message about my supposed fitness from you, I might just have to reply: “Do you even crip, bro?”

I am sure from that this story will resonate with the LGBT disabled UK community and the highlighted attitudes devalue even more the lack of self-esteem that many disabled people feel.

Via huffingtonpost.com

Great End to 2016, Looking Forward to an Amazing 2017.

This year finished for me on a high note after a period of ill health and a bit of surgery. I decided to go off to Majorca, Spain to recuperate and rest and whilst I was there I had the great pleasure of meeting up with our dear friend Martyn Sibley from disability horizons who was attending a Handisport conference to promote accessibility for the disabled.  When i saw Martyn he confided in me that he had been voted as the 3rd most influential disabled person in the UK.  This is an honour he truly deserves.  Nobody has done more for campaigning on accessible travel and normalising disability  in our country.

My next trip is to other side of Europe – up north in Finland where i have many friends and family.  Funnily enough a really cool video promoting a Finnish dating site  just passed across my desk and frankly it is so much better than the usual cheaply presented dating videos from Finland which is the poor man of dating promotions in Europe.

I enjoy looking at how other niche dating sites promote their offers and this offering from flirttideitti.fi is visually very nice indeed.  OK. that was a ‘shout out’ now back to disabilitymatch which has been adding new members at a rate of knots. I have also been delighted at just how well our podcast has been doing.  we have had hundreds of downloads for our episodes and, not just in the UK.  We have podcast subscribers in Canada and Australia and we get social media coverage for the podcast all around the world.

I do recommend that you follow me on twitter @disabilitymatch where I tweet every day about things that are happening in the world of disability and in the wider worls of medical innovations.  Finally we have rebuilt our store http://shop.disabilitymatch.co.uk and we are starting to get orders.  We will be giving 15% of our shop profits to disability charities so if you need to buy a wheelchair or a disabled bed or a commode and many other things do buy from us because we will donate profits to a good cause.

Back soon

 

David