I've gotta confess, I've got a perfectionist fixation. Perfectionism does have its occasional advantages, but not always. And certainly, the M.S. road shows you that "doing it Right" (capital-R right, whatever "it" may be and whatever "Right" may happen to mean) isn't always an option--or even a possibility--so why are you spending so much effort obsessing about it, anyway?
But I'm all-too-often called upon by the world (and by specific people in it) first to witness, then to transcend, my perfectionism, and I find two patterns.
First... an awful lot of the time, when I say "this is the better way to do (whatever)"... I'm right. Whatever "it" is, the way I want to do "it" actually is the simplest. Or the most efficient. Or will be the most beneficial, will have the least consequences. I'm just... right.
But here's what I don't see: Someone else is also right. A different way to do X is also simple. Efficient. Beneficial. And will have the fewest consequences; a different set of them, but still few. But it's a simplicity/efficiency/benevolence/not-all-that-bad set of consequences, that I just don't see.
It's not about "it's gotta be my way," classic control-freak "my way or the highway." It's not about "if I'm not the one responsible for success, it doesn't count." It's that once I see a method and an outcome, I attach to it. Boy, do I attach to it. And as a result, I not only don't see the alternatives, I don't even see the rest of the world. (Now, that's attachment.)
And the other way my perfectionism expresses itself is... "I see a solution, and because I can fix it," (or so I think) "simply seeing the problem and the solution makes it become my problem to fix." A director I used to work with used to get migraines because she'd go to other people's shows, and see problems, and have all sorts of pains because she could fix those problems, if only they'd let her.
She stopped having those migraines when she realized, "It's not my show. It doesn't matter whether it needs fixing or not... it's not my show."
And what, exactly does this have to do with the living-with-M.S. experience?
It suggests some very simple questions: Don't you have enough things to deal with? ... Not just the mechanics of the physical issues, but the "dealing with" of the physical issues--speaking of which, you're not dealing with them properly? (We've talked about "denial" before, haven't we?) And you're expending energy on attaching to solutions that aren't the only solutions, to problems that aren't even your problems? And yet, "because of the M.S." (as you say), you don't have the energy to do the dishes or write the music you keep saying you want to write?
When you're attached to "doing" (in the Buddhist sense), it's surprisingly tricky to shift gears from "doing" to "witnessing," and then to "transcending." Funny, given how many things that being in an M.S. state has stopped me from "doing," the "doing" of this is remarkably... persistent.
Funnier still, when the first thing that having M.S. teaches you is that permanence is an illusion... that you find yourself called upon to grapple with your own efforts to make something completely non-existent--an attachment--remain permanent.
Jokes like this, you just can't write (even if you do live them).