Living with M.S.

"Living with M.S. is sort of like training for a long race. The harder you try, and the longer you keep at it, the stronger you become.
Eventually, looking back, you may be amazed at the power you possessed, even when you had no idea it was within your reach." (Linda Ann Nickerson)


Tiring: Describing multiple sclerosis from A to Z

Holy fatigue, Batman!

We’re not sleepy, but we’re spent. We’re not fed up, but we’re feeling faint. We’re not exasperated, but we’re exhausted. We’re not down in the dumps, but we’re dead on our feet. We’re not irritated, but we’re prostrated. We’re not sleep-deprived, but we’re simply drained. And we don’t need to snore. We just need to do no more (for awhile).

Multiple sclerosis is tiring.

This isn’t the “I’m a little drowsy” kind of tired. It’s the “I can’t take one more step” kind of all-over, head-to-toe extreme exhaustion. It’s the “I was fine a few minutes ago, and now I think I’m just gonna fall over” kind of total taxation. And it comes on suddenly.

Marathoners talk about “The Wall,” the dreaded threshold in long runs, where one feels as if one more footfall will lead to certain death. That’s sort of what MS fatigue is like, when it strikes.

Any one of us can be in the middle of an activity or project (even something we really love), and suddenly it’s all over. We’re not just done; we are done in. After resting, we may rally. Or we may not. And we never seem to know till it happens.

MS doesn’t hold the exclusive rights to this all-consuming collapse of energy. Lots of chronic illnesses (such as anxiety or depression, arthritis, autism, cancer, chronic pain, COPD, fibromyalgia, lupus, or PTSD), create similar conditions. People battling these conditions daily may run out of gas after a long stretch of enduring. 

Some people relate this struggle to The Spoon Theory, which basically says a person with a chronic illness gets a limited number of spoons (symbolizing energy) every day. And that number changes each day without warning. Every action or activity that person undertakes will use up those spoons. Once the spoons run out, that person is essentially toast for the day.

Lots of MSers and others with chronic illnesses think of the same concept in terms of a bank account, in which energy is the money. We try to budget energy expenditures each day, but without knowing how much is in the bank.

Occasionally, if we are fortunate, any of us may have the wherewithal to work a full day, complete a bunch of errands, and still stop at the gym on the way home for a nice workout. Or, one of us might mow the lawn, run several loads of laundry, and still have enough gusto to deep clean the kitchen. On another day, simply driving the kids to school may feel like a gargantuan task.

Yes, MS is tiring. And, no, we know we are not alone in that camp. But we’d still love to raid the spoon drawer for a longer lasting supply.

April A to Z Challenge 2016 logo – fair use
Vintage spoons - public domain
 Adapted from public domain artwork

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1 comment:

  1. Thoughts and prayers for your constant struggle! You are one to be admired! God Bless!


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