When I have a fit at night, my arms come out. They dislocate. So I have to go into hospital to have them relocated. That's happened 26 times in the last nine months. So we all have crap to deal with in our lives.
I never really took Katie Hopkins very seriously. A bit loud. A bit odd. A bit funny looking. Like the middle child who worked out as a toddler that if they say inappropriate things the grown ups will pay them attention and stop putting their sole focus on the cute baby in the room.
I'm hard with myself. Get on with it. Move on. Get your arms put back in.
But the last year Decca Aitkenhead interviewed Katie Hopkins for The Guardian and it was so insightful that it changed my opinion of her permanently.
It's not something I talk about.
Katie Hopkins is hospitalised every 10 days on average because of her epilepsy. Every 10 days. I find the uncertainty of that utterly horrifying. I don't understand how she does it.
When your body doesn't work as it should. When it lets you down in fits and starts. That's an uncertainty that is difficult to live with. It's hard to get up in the morning and not know what your body has in store for you. Hard to make plans and execute them feeling secure. Most of all having a body that likes to go renegade on you means you never feel safe. Ever. It's ceaseless, this feeling. It knows no respite.
I never say why, because it sounds like an excuse, and I won't have that. I won't have an excuse.
A lot of people live with this fear on a constant minute-by minute basis. There are those who only engage in the fear hour by hour. Some who have really mastered it will only acknowledge it a few times a day. That's quite an incredible feat. And really, people's bodies let them down for all sorts of reasons. and truly, there are many people who do get up every day knowing it is going to be another fight. A fight between their brain and body. And a fight between their mind and the fear.
I look at myself and go, you know what, I've had a fair amount to overcome. but I haven't allowed it to get in my way.
Katie Hopkins has nailed this situation though. I mean absolutely, unequivocably nailed it. She wins. Katie Hopkins has managed to get herself to the point where she does not even engage in the fear. Doesn't acknowledge it. Never even allows herself to let that momentum of "what if's" or "am I safe's" to dictate her life experience. I find this incredible. I think she is phenomenal in this regard.
Yes. She may be obnoxious. With the sort of political and social convictions we would expect from Nigel Farage, were he to start abusing methamphetamine. But as an individual living with a frightening chronic illness, Katie Hopkins is the blue print we all need to follow. The poster girl for living a fear-free existence.
We spend so much of our lives these days glorifying the struggle. Telling people exactly how bad our physical situation is. Why we are brave. How we are tremendous. We dedicate pointless hours to whining online about our illnesses. Looking for a shoulder to cry on. For someone to be the medicine for our pain. Dedicating Facebook statuses and Tweeting our symptoms to elicit sympathy. which in itself would be fine if it helped. Which it doesn't. Or even if just nothing came from it. Which isn't true.
It makes things worse. Talking about symptoms and illness. Always, without exception, talking for the sake of talking rather than to find a solution always makes physical symptoms far worse. The more time we spend on forums, the more fixated we become on Facebook pages with members who also love to talk about illness? The worse our own illnesses become. And no one deserves that. And the pay-off of a little bit of sympathy? It's not good enough. It's too big a price to pay.
Sadly there are not many alternatives. Not so many folk who will stand up and just get on with it. Better than that. People who don't want to raise awareness, but only want to talk solutions. And Katie Hopkins excels at that. Even if her solutions are for social problems, and are quite frankly absolutely appalling, she still only ever talks in terms of solutions.
Basically speaking, she doesn't let the internal circumstances of her physical body, or the external circumstances of other people's opinions set the tone of her life experience. She is in control of her fear. Of her thoughts. She fixates solely on the things she can control. And whilst she cannot control her illness, she completely controls how she reacts to it. More successfully than any one I've ever seen.
We spend a lot of time voicing our outrage at Katie Hopkins. We talk about her like we talk about illness. We make her bigger and bigger each time with our awareness of her. And the real irony is that if we treated Katie Hopkins like Katie Hopkins treats her epilepsy? Refusing to talk about it? Not acknowledging it? Focusing on other things within her immediate control? Katie Hopkins wouldn't have a platform to say these things anymore. She would just go away. It is our need for reaction and retaliation. In wrestling things to the ground and obsessing over details that keeps her firmly in the spotlight.
If we all became as allergic to sympathy as Katie Hopkins is. If we could harness that ability to stop giving attention to the things that frighten us. Our inner world would become a far more manageable place. Today. Right now. It really is as easy as that.