Don’t Jinx It!

Me: “Sometimes when my horoscope is really good I don’t allow myself to believe it.”

My 20-year-old daughter: “Mom, you are the most neurotic person I know.”

That’s an actual conversation that took place in my kitchen this morning.

And it wasn’t an unusual one.

I am indeed quite neurotic, especially when it comes to fears and superstitions. I know, for instance, that the likelihood of my being struck by lightning is very small, yet if I’m outside during a thunderstorm I can barely control my panic till I make it safely indoors. This, despite the fact that my best friend Jorie often reminds me, “Jennifer, you’re not special enough to get hit by lightning.” Same goes for being bit by a rabid bat. Or getting crushed by a falling tree limb. You get the picture.

But perhaps my biggest neurotic bugaboo is the phenomenon known as “jinxing.” I firmly believe that you can destroy the prospect of a good thing’s happening or ruin a string of good luck simply by acknowledging that good thing or good luck out loud, or even just in your mind. Allowing myself to believe that the wonderful experiences promised in this morning’s horoscope might actually transpire would be a surefire way to prevent them from doing so. Or at least that’s the way my mind works.

Of course I apply this philosophy, such as it is, to my life with multiple sclerosis. I can’t let myself fully enjoy my symptom-free stretches, because somewhere deep inside I think that acknowledging my symptom-free-ness will automatically bring symptoms on. And I never allow myself to contemplate life too far into the future, because, well, that just seems like asking for trouble.

I’m always warning myself and others not to “jinx it.” Or, after the fact, saying, “Well, now you’ve gone and jinxed it.” It’s not a rational way to go through life, for sure, but it’s served me well so far….

Darnit! I hope I haven’t just jinxed it!

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Jennifer LaRue Huget, Blogger

Jennifer LaRue Huget was diagnosed with MS in 2001. A freelance writer and children's book author, she lives in Connecticut with her husband, two teenage kids, and two brown dogs. Her website is

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  • Kathy Highberger   Aug 1, 2014 10:05 AM
    Superstition is an illusion. No basis in fact. Horoscopes are written for entertainment. I am 60 and have had MS since 2005. Life has enough tribulation
    without adding frivolous distractions. Find comfort within a good support group
    or your church in addition to a good therapist. Lost sheep can be found. Peace be to you.
  • Avatar
    marshina  Aug 1, 2014 10:54 AM
    I can tell you that there is a reality to worrying about symptoms that aren't happening at the time. I was so neurotic my mind produced those symptoms. After bio feedback, I could still not approach an ATM machine without having to pee. Same with standing in line, waiting for the doctor to get in the office, and on and on. Finally I shared with my neurologist my anxiety. He put me on Zoloft and life changed.
  • Avatar
    refusetoquit  Aug 1, 2014 10:56 AM
    This subject is what prevent's people with MS to 'live' the beginning, as my strength was gathered, I thought, there I'm on the upswing. THEN MS HIT AGAIN. Must be 'this', must be 'that' that caused it. After year's of modifying my life, it became apparent, yes, I feel better, but 'it', the MS, has it's pattern. PLAN ON IT so it's not a surprise..........your expectation isn't crushed. PLAN ON IT. That doesn't mean you're giving up, it means you're MANAGING it.

    TAKE CONTROLL, let it be part of your life.Fighting it takes to wind out of your sail.
  • Jenny   Aug 1, 2014 11:17 AM
    For those raised in the Christian faith, we acknowledge the power of our words as a biblical truth. Proverbs 18:21 says that "life and death are in the power of the tongue," and so we try to speak positively about our health even when the evidence of this is not apparent. Even for a hard core believer like myself, this sometimes borders "creepy" - professing to be healed when we can hardly walk. One day at the Physical Therapist, I was having a lot of difficulty completing an exercise that required balance. The therapist told me to say the word "balance" every time I stepped off on that foot. I did, and it worked. The therapist who is absolutely not a believer, indicated that there is a connection between the brain and our body that MS can short circuit. Sometimes saying the words out loud helps the signal to get through. So instead of worrying that I might "jinx" my good days by acknowledging the blessing of extra mobility, I try to "short circuit" the bad days with positive affirmations of good health that is sure to come my way!
  • Avatar
    refusetoquit  Aug 1, 2014 12:41 PM
    Awesome, true, the mind/body correlation. Finding it interesting that focusing inward, the 'core' , where mobility begins can distinguish 'bad karma' from continuing................but we know, it's just 'life'.

    Feldenkrais, "The Feldenkrais Method" teaches 're-learning' body movment..Awareness through movement. (ATM)
  • DAS   Aug 2, 2014 7:32 AM
    I would only wish this MS on satan!
    It is not me, I no longer have the freedom to go out and shoot pictures
    with my friends. Much less cook and clean the way I used to.
    I do keep a positive attitude and a smile on my face as well as in my heart.
    One SAFE step at a time. Our Lord has a plan that is already in motion.
    So we will continue dealing with our disabilities the best we can. He is with us always! AMEN!
  • Avatar
    refusetoquit  Aug 2, 2014 7:40 AM
    Well said, DAS, I'm wth you........there's already a plan.
  • Avatar
    marshina  Aug 2, 2014 11:22 PM
    I would appreciate leaving personal religious beliefs out of this or any conversation regarding living with M.S.
  • Avatar
    refusetoquit  Aug 3, 2014 8:09 AM
    Sorry if we offend you, but that IS our strength in living with MS. Without it, there's no sense of direction or foundation. It IS how we deal.
  • Jeff B   Aug 3, 2014 12:27 PM
    Neurotic? Yes, but the most interesting people in the world fall into that category! Where would life be without them!

    Any Neurosis makes no sense to those that aren't afflicted with that particular 'handicap'. My personal hangup is Triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13). Now tell me that isn't ridiculous. But none the less I will go out of my way to avoid it, stay in bed all day on a Friday the 13th, and cringe whenever I'm caught in that scenario.

    As far as marshina's comments go, where you 'sit' depends entirely where you 'stand'. Those that do not fall into the religious category could easily classify that as a neurosis.

    But on the other hand, whatever get's you through the day is fine with me. What's life without a little neurosis anyway, as long as it isn't on a Friday the 13th. :-)
  • marsha   Aug 6, 2014 11:19 AM
    I should have taken the high road. Jeff is right. Whatever gets you through the day.