Fatigue is my number one MS symptom struggle. It lingers. It holds on for dear life and makes it difficult to focus on anything else. My fatigue medication helps, but it's only a temporary fix. And if I'm honest, it often feels discouraging to know that this level of fatigue will be something I struggle with for the rest of my life. In the grand scheme of things, I know my most prominent symptom could be much more severe, but it still doesn't make this daily symptom any easier.
Living with and battling MS fatigue
Each month I will have days where my energy level is plenty, and my fatigue isn't at the forefront of my mind. These days, I push myself to get as much done as possible. It's like the most intense adrenaline rush that ends far too soon. I love these days, but I also hate them because I know I will do too much, and the force of the fatigue will come on even stronger.
It's a catch-22, really. I have to utilize my high-energy days wisely, but I know that when I do, I will be paying for it for several days afterward. It can quickly go from manageable fatigue to exhaustion, which is overwhelming in all aspects. It's a fatigue that makes me feel sick and leaves me wanting nothing more than to lie in bed for days. In past articles, I've described it as feeling like a hangover, yet knowing I have not had a drop of alcohol. It makes my body heavy, painful, and nauseous.
But I used to be able to
I often look back on my college days when I worked 2 jobs and took 15 hours each semester and wonder how on earth I kept up. The fatigue was intense then, but it's become even stronger with age. As a mom of 4 now, I sometimes wish I had the same drive to do everything I did back then. It feels much more important to have the drive and motivation to push through that comes with young age now than it did in the past.
With age comes maturity and wisdom, and I'm thankful for that. However, with age also comes more responsibilities and consequences when we cannot care for our bodies the way they need us to. MS fatigue throws a wrench in my plans most days and causes me more stress. It is discouraging to feel like you cannot keep up with the life you've been given.
Giving ourselves and our bodies grace
When I begin feeling this way, I often have to remind myself that this is where grace comes in. We must give ourselves the dignity we deserve and honor our bodies for what they have done and can do. We have to give ourselves credit where it's due. I feel down if I focus on all I didn't do that day. Yet, when I focus on all I have accomplished, I am reminded that I've done all I can despite my circumstances. When I do all that I can, I'm doing my best, and most days, I have to pat myself on the back and say I'll try again tomorrow.
A simple reminder
I hope this article encourages you and reminds you that even on our worst days, we deserve to give ourselves grace. We deserve to acknowledge that our bodies have kept going yet another day and give ourselves credit for trying. Living with MS is never the life anyone envisions. Still, when it's your reality, you must change your perspective to go along with your current circumstances. Be confident in what you've done today, friend, and know that when your body says "enough," the rest can wait.
How often do you use assistive devices to help manage your MS?