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It’s Not My Fault…

I don’t know about everyone else, but when I was diagnosed with MS and did some looking up online to find out all the information I could, I kept thinking in the back of my mind, “Did I do something to get this?”

Obviously after much research online, I came to the conclusion that there is no ‘evidence’ that I, personally, did anything to get MS, so technically it’s “not my fault”. I really do wish there was SOME sort of explanation as to why I got MS, but that is still unknown.

The unknown still doesn’t stop my questioning though. It makes me think back (which my memory is no good, thank you MS) and I can’t really pinpoint something that ‘started’ my MS… I’ve always been a klutz, broke my first bone at 5 years old… so I can’t go off of when I lost my balance, or it became weakened… because I have never really had good balance.

That’s isn’t the only thing I thought can be  ‘my fault’ when it comes to MS either. Now I’m crossing my fingers and toes (trying to at least), that this isn’t a common occurrence to any of you readers… but I have had people say it’s my fault that my MS is the way it is. That it’s MY FAULT for my symptoms and how severe they get.

Some even say that I either make it up… or want pity… or just use MS as an ‘excuse’… Well let me just say this to those people who like to be rude and inconsiderate to any person living with a chronic illness. WE CANNOT CONTROL IT!

For example, if I make plans to do something with a group of people… and I’m REALLY excited to do it. I keep talking about it with others, planning it all out (on paper of course, because that needs to be done for me), and everything else you can think of. Then when it comes down to the day that I’ve planned and am looking forward to, my body tells me “Uhm, nice try… I don’t think so. You aren’t going anywhere.” **Yes, it’s sometimes easier to make it seem like my body talks to me, cause it does in its own way**

So I have to inform others that I won’t be attending the certain event/party/etc. that I had planned on going to, because I just can’t get out of the house today. Can you imagine some of the reactions I get? No? Well, let me tell you what has happened in the past…

When I go to tell the people that I can’t attend, they ACCUSE ME of doing it on PURPOSE! Uh hello! I can’t tell my body, “Hey Body… can you tell my MS to rear it’s ugly head on this certain date and this certain time, so that I can used it as an ‘excuse’ to not do something.” It sounds crazy right? Well that’s basically what people are accusing me of when they say I DID IT ON PURPOSE.

If you haven’t learned already from my previous articles, I’m not the kind of person to beat around the bush and I don’t have a filter when it comes to keeping things to myself that I feel need to be said, regardless. So, if I’m invited to a party or something, I’m not going to say yes, then make an excuse up on the day of the event… If I don’t wanna go, I’ll just flat out tell you I don’t wanna go. Or if it’s something that I don’t think I can handle.

If I’m going through a hard time and am invited somewhere, I don’t give a for sure answer because that is just not possible. I will probably say, “I would love to, but I’m not going to give a definite answer right now, need to see how what I’m going through with my MS gets better.”

Even if I did do something, like over do before the certain event, nobody has any right to tell me it’s my own fault. It’s called compassion, use it. How would you like it if you had to rearranging your whole life, as you knew it, to these new, chaotic circumstances?? Easier said than done… am I right?

So these are some of the situations, of course not all because that would end up being a short novel… But I gave some of these situations to explain how I came to the conclusion that what I go through with my MS is NOT MY FAULT or any of ours for that matter.

I don’t need to make excuses for the way I live my life. I live my life the way I do because it brings me the most happiness from my actions. I don’t need an outsider’s approval if I’m doing the right thing or not. There is no ONE WAY for all of us as patients to live. We have to accommodate to our own personal situations and make the best of it.

If anyone is at fault in this type of scenario, it’s the person placing blame… for not being educated enough about multiple sclerosis, before making their ignorant statements. Just because I don’t react to those ignorant statements, or any other individual living with a chronic illness, doesn’t mean the statement doesn’t hurt. MS has affected many different parts of me, physically and emotionally, but the numbness doesn’t spread to my feelings.

Think before you speak, have knowledge about what you’re speaking about before you make an ‘educated statement’, and be kind. Not one person with Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, etc. is at fault for getting the illness and how it affects us on a day-to-day basis. Ignorance, however, is someone’s fault.

I think that this could coincide with my previous posts about ‘Things People Should NOT Say” and “Can’t Make this Up”.

So just remember… if you have been in any these situations like I have, you aren’t alone and you aren’t to blame for how your illness affects you. We can’t control what part of our Central Nervous System (CNS) that MS attacks, after all.

Ashley Ringstaff


This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Grammy
    4 years ago

    This really spoke to me.
    The guilt I feel daily due to my advanced PPMS is I think a huge stress factor.
    I think of the things I’m missing out on. Things others can do and take for granted. I imagine what life would be like if I could say “YES” to plans and actually make those plans with success!! The reality though is – I’ve learned to say “maybe”. Not a popular answer. But one that makes me feel a “bit” better when I end up having to cancel.
    Some people in my life do really understand. Some people sort of ‘get it’. But most do not. And I’ve seen friends & family fall away because of my disease.
    It’s not my fault. I try very hard to claim those words. My husband tells me all the time, “It’s not YOU its MS”.
    I try hard to claim those words! To BELIEVE ‘It’s not my fault”. But some place deep down inside I wonder….and it’s a real slippery slide.
    Thank you for writing what most of us are truly feeling. It’s a real blessing to pass this article on!!
    (Ps. It would be great if you added Pintrest to your list of ways to share. If you do have that – please point me in that direction as I don’t see that option on top)
    God Bless you, Ashley for being our ‘voice’ (collectively).

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    4 years ago

    I’m glad you enjoyed the post! I do have a pinterest – I just didn’t think to add it in there.

    I have some random boards, but I do have some that involve MS and MS related things.

    I know it’s hard to truly believe it’s not your fault, but that’s the reality… and the people who just don’t want to understand that, I don’t tend to hang out with as often as I used to.


  • Chris G
    4 years ago

    Hello Ashley, I use to be a very social person until my MS interfered with me being able to go somewhere on the drop of the dime. If I have enough time in advance, there’s still a good chance of cancelling out. What was so thought free is now a project. 1) Limit my liquid and food intake the day of the event. 2) Take a shower which is always a project. 3) Getting dressed up and don’t forget to use a liner in case of an accident. 4) The trip to the event and the worrying involved thinking or hoping you don’t embarrass anyone. 5) Thinking about the trip back home (will I get back okay). Meanwhile your expected to put on your “game face”, pretend nothing is bothering you, and look like your enjoying everyone’s company. Sorry but it would have to be a wedding or funeral and my MS would have to be cooperating also. Loved your post.

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    4 years ago

    Glad you enjoyed.
    You explained the step my step perfectly… it’s just… things we didn’t think much of before being diagnosed, is now a task with having to plan accordingly. Just to leave the house… UGH

  • Cathi
    5 years ago

    I was embarrassed to admit I had it & then after it really grabbed me by the throat in 2006 & I had no choice in the matter, I closed myself off for a few years. I am generally a happy person but there are days when I just can’t GO anywhere or do much of anything, making it necessary to cancel plans. I feel guilty, probably get talked about, but made up my mind to not give a poop about other people’s opinion & that has freed me in so many ways.

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    4 years ago

    Glad to hear that your outlook has changed. I completely understand what you mean about not being able to GO anywhere – or having to cancel plans. I know that a lot of people might find it annoying of me… but I have to do what I have to do. xoxo

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