All Aboard the Apology Tour

Last updated: June 2022

Constantly canceling plans, forgetting important moments, seeming like I’m not paying attention, spilling things, knocking objects over, being moody because of pain, etc. From the early days of my very first MS symptoms through today, I have found my disease has often led me to become extremely apologetic to others.

My life of MS and apologizing

Over the years, my illness has impacted how I function around others. It’s made me less dependable and even a pain-in-the-ass at times. So much so, that I feel like I am constantly saying 'I’m sorry' for something. It feels like living several days in my life always leads to the same thing, the long list of apologies I need to make afterward - what I call, making the apology tour.

A cavalcade of errors

If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my life with MS, it’s that I make more mistakes because of my disease. Cognitive problems cause me to be forgetful and to make poor decisions. Speech problems make me bad at conversation. I cancel plans non-stop, often causing disappointment to others. I go from fine one minute to angry the next, because I am suddenly wracked with pain. I spill stuff, break things, and fall into items. The phrase “bull in a china shop” seems to fit me perfectly with the way that I suddenly lose control of parts of my body.

I also have to constantly ask for considerations, like staying where the temperature is cool or going to a place that has more seating or isn’t too loud. So much about my situation often requires some effort from those around me and that makes me feel like a burden. It makes me feel sorry that they know me.

It’s still my issue

It would be easy to say that I shouldn’t feel sorry, that I can’t help it. That doesn’t change much though. No matter the amount of effort I put in, I am still not easy to be around. I still make considerable mistakes and miscues. I still have negative impacts on those around me, even if it isn’t my fault. No matter how understanding those around me are, it still causes problems for them and ultimately I am still responsible. There comes a time when the cause of something doesn’t really matter, it’s the effect that needs to be dealt with. After a while, no one really cares to look at why we are the way we are.

I want to withdraw

Doing the apology tour after I have somehow messed up yet another moment in someone’s life, has made me feel like I am constantly asking for forgiveness. The words “I’m sorry” come out of my mouth with so very little prompting these days because I am constantly saying it. I’m willing to bet that if someone could count the words I’ve said over my two-plus decades with MS, the word “sorry” would be the most used by a lot. After all these years and apologies, it’s really started to have an effect on me. It makes me feel like I’d be better off isolating myself. It also makes me very tired. I’m exhausted from feeling like the bad guy or the person that always ruins everything.

Again, I know I shouldn’t feel that way. I know I’m supposed to just get back on my horse and keep on keeping on. I’m sure I will, but right now I’m tired, so very tired, and I think it’s OK to admit that sometimes.

Thanks so much for reading and feel free to share! As always, I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

Devin

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