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"I got very depressed and felt like life as I knew was over"

laura resized.pngLaura Goodall tells us about going from struggling to come to terms with her diagnosis to representing Great Britain in para showjumping

I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2015. I would lose the ability to feel temperatures and scald myself when I got in the bath. My skin would hurt and tingle, I was exhausted all the time, I’d fall over and I’d drop things. When I was competing on my horse, my muscles would collapse on me as soon as I got warm, my vision would blur and I’d fall off. I’d then struggle to walk for days after.

I had to stop competing as I kept having panic attacks on the horse while waiting for the symptoms to come. The more stressed I got, the worse the symptoms were. 

Early days

At first, I was relieved to have a diagnosis and to know what was wrong with me. Then reality hit home. I got very depressed and felt like life as I knew was over and I’d never be able to do anything with my horses again. 

I felt like I was going down a black hole. Everything I’ve worked for in my life was for my horses and I got to a stage where I couldn’t even look after them never mind ride them. 

Taking the reins

Eventually, I decided I wasn’t going to let MS rule my life. I’m quite a determined person and felt I needed to do more and not just give up on my dreams. So I visited the doctors, was prescribed anti-depressants, and started to gradually get my fitness back up in baby steps. I began going out for a walk on the horses until I built myself up. Exercising definitely lifted my mood. The more I did, the better I got, and it actually made my symptoms less severe, along with my treatments.

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