Two versions of the same person, one in the morning looking awake and happy and one at night looking fatigued and unhappy

Night and Day: It's Like I'm Two Different People

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a morning person. I always have been and probably always will be. In high school, a period of time in most people’s lives when waking up at the crack of noon was the norm, I typically got up at 5:00 AM all on my own because… well, no reason really, I just did. I guess waking up before the rise of the sun allowed me to experience a moment of solitude that didn’t seem to exist at any other time. The majority of life around me was still asleep, and no one was trying to bug me. I enjoyed the silence; it was just me and my thoughts. Everything around me was so still. Sure, you could say the same about the night, but for me, the problem with that is that I might (nowadays) have my silence interrupted by an unexpected text message from someone else who’s also still up. Even with friends in different time zones, that’s seldom really an issue for me at 4:00 AM. I like being a morning person.

I'm a morning person for new reasons

But now, I am a morning person for different reasons. While multiple sclerosis (MS) now tends to make actually getting up and out of bed rather difficult, I still wake up really early. That right there is an important detail: waking up and getting up are two very different things. Just because I wake up doesn’t mean I get up, much like how going to bed feeling dead-tired doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy to fall asleep, as I’m sure many of you know from personal experience.

Starting my day early before the cog fog rolls in

Anyway, when all is going “right” in life, I usually wake up around 3:00 AM and get up to start my day at 4:00 AM because that is when I seem to be the most productive. I don’t want to say I have more energy, but I’m definitely less fatigued. Usually, the cog fog that clouds my day hasn’t really rolled in yet, so I can think a little more clearly, making it easier to plan out my day and get stuff done.

Rising early is especially important in the summer

This is especially true during the summer. I live in Southern California where the majority of the year is either a little too warm for my liking or so hot that I find myself wishing I could put myself into a medically induced coma for 6 months. You see, the hotter it is, the more my MS flares up and the less productive I am. My fatigue level skyrockets and my MS cog fog becomes so thick that I can barely remember my own name! OK, that may be a slight exaggeration, but I mean, seriously, things really just seem to shut down up there. Everything is terrible, and I don’t feel like me; I feel like a zombie. I hate summer! So, I’m sure you can imagine the appeal of waking up early before the giant fireball makes its way high into the sky and starts heating everything up.

Impact on my social life

The last time I wrote about me being a morning person, I think I talked about how it wasn’t good for a typical social life. Most people aren’t up and ready to interact so early in the day. Most people, especially people my age, want to hang out at night, well after my bedtime. I was able to pull off going out late before MS came into my life because I didn’t need that much sleep but, as of now, those days are long gone for me. Like I said, the later I stay up, the worse my MS symptoms get. Who I am in the evening doesn’t feel like who I am in the morning.

I feel like a completely different person

For example, in the morning, I can have a decent conversation with someone, but later on in the day? I can’t seem to figure out what I want to say, remember what we are even talking about, or properly form words as my speech starts to slur. I can’t perform tasks that 12 hours earlier were easy for me, and my mood rapidly deteriorates. I would say that when it comes to who I am in the morning versus who I am in the evening? It’s like night and day.

I’m sure most people with MS don’t get up as early as I do, but that’s beside the point. What I would be a little surprised to hear is that most people with MS don’t feel like who they are in the morning is different than who they are at night. Would you say that’s an accurate statement or do you not really think of it like that? Let me know in the comments below!

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