Humor Me

Let me start off by saying, I’m not an ‘overly serious’ person. I like to make people laugh… and I try to keep things light hearted for the most part. Of course there is a time and a place to not bring humor into a conversation, and I don’t always crack jokes or try and make people laugh… but I’ve found out that when it comes to talking about my MS… I don’t always want to be so serious.

Yes, I have multiple sclerosis. Yes, I am young and have kids and a husband that I love and they have to live with this disease in ways now too. When I was first diagnosed, there was no humor in anything in my life. I was depressed and in shock as well as trying to recover from a ‘relapsing’.

Now, yeah I can have serious conversations with others about MS or about their MS… I educate myself on everything there is to know about MS and all the ‘news’ that is released on it. It’s a serious topic when it comes to our health. But with that being said…

LIGHTEN UP! I don’t know if anyone else feels this way… but I don’t want people to be a ‘Debbie-downer’ around me because I have MS. I’ve even joked about my MS saying things like, “Did you see that?! The floor just tripped me. ((looks at floor)) EVIL FLOOR!” or “Hey, I can blame my spasticity and muscle twitches on ‘accidentally’ hitting someone.” << I don’t think I could ever actually do that, but it’s fun to picture sometimes with people who need some sense knocked in to them.

I guess I just don’t want to hear that ‘remorseful’ tone in someone’s voice every time I talk to him or her. And I most certainly don’t want to hear all of the phrases recited to me that belong in get-well & condolences hallmark cards.

I’m a fighter… I’m strong… and yeah, I have an illness that there is no for sure knowledge on the cause or the cure or how to stop progression. I’m not going to dwell on that day in and day out. I’m not made of glass.

I feel like I had my whole life changed in the blink of an eye when I got my diagnosis, so it’s nice to have normal conversations with others and be back to ‘normal’, some what. I just feel like I don’t want to dwell on everything negative and that’s hard to refrain from when I have all the pitiful sighs and kind (soft) spoken words from others.

“Aw sweetie, that’s just not fair.” “I’m so sorry you have to go through this.” “Oh, Bless your heart.”  Those are some things said to me… I appreciate the words… but it’s not something you want to have spoken to you over and over and over again every time you talk to the person, or just others in general.

I mean, yeah, I get it… it’s not fair to get MS. But I realized early on that life’s not fair. I’m still alive, I still have my family and friends, I have just had to make some changes along the way.

I am told repeatedly how strong I am… and stubborn, which the second one I will not openly admit to.

Just remember, “You never know how strong you really are, until being strong is the only option you have.”

xoxo

Ashley Ringstaff

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Comments

View Comments (11)
  • 2 months ago

    I appreciate this article more than you know.Thanks for writing it.

  • Lori
    5 years ago

    I am so with you on this. I have been to multiple local meetings where all it is,is a -itch session about how bad it is, how long it’s been bad, no one cares, no one is taking care of me……and what good does that do? Nothing for the person complaining and certainly nothing for anyone listening. I’m stubborn; I don’t like people telling me what I “should” do, so I’m not going to just sit and wither away. Someone in this world (maybe my own block!) has it a lot worse than me, so why should I complain (much)?

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    5 years ago

    Yeah – I have my own pity parties sometimes… in private, in my head most times…

    I can understand sympathizing with those who are newly diagnosed, or going through a relapse… or in a certain difficult situation.

    But I can’t sympathize with people who just ‘refuse’ to do anything to make themselves better/happier!

  • Jaime
    5 years ago

    You are totally it girl!! You have hit the nail on the head with what has frustrated me about trying to “social network” with some others with MS. Only diagnosed since March, I’m finally ready to try and connect with others with it. But when I look at some forums– there so much “poor me” at times I can’t keep on reading. Yes it sucks, no, it shouldn’t happen to anyone. But life has to go on- and we all have to figure it out to the best of our ability to do so. Doing so with humor and strength is the only way I know how to move forward- and I want to surround myself with others who are the same way- so bravo!! You are one of the chosen. 😉

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    5 years ago

    Aw thanks 🙂

    Yeah – I think that all of us living with MS go through the “phase”… but once time passed, I learned to loosen up a bit.
    I have people tell me pity party stories all the time (not other MS patients) … and it’s hard to not roll my eyes… cause what they’re complaining about is so … mild… I don’t know, maybe I just don’t like to deal with petty stuff.

    But I enjoy making people laugh… and to make sure I don’t offend someone else… why not crack jokes about myself?

    🙂

  • Tommy Johns
    5 years ago

    Ashley, you are a lady after my own heart!
    I love to laugh and I love to make people laugh and that did not end when I was DX with MS.
    I was once ask to speak at an MS 150 over night rally. I had heard many MS patients stories at these rallies and they would bring tears to my eyes. No doubt they helped raise awareness of many of the symptoms we suffer with everyday, and I’m sure it motivated people to give and motivated cyclist to work harder to raise funds for badly needed research. And I certainly don’t find fault with them telling their stories. But I decided that I wanted people to know that, “yes MS sucks and it has changed my life, but I choose to keep on loving the life and the time God has allotted to me”. So I did a “you might be an MS patient if” routine, modeled after Jeff Foxworthy’s “you might be a redneck if”. Things like “if you’ve ever tripped over a white line, you might be an MS patient. If you’ve ever peed your pants on the way back from the bathroom….or, If you’ve had more steroids pumped into your body than a major league baseball team….etc.
    At first the audience was looking around to see if anybody else was going to laugh. Then I guess they decided if I could laugh at myself it was ok for them to laugh too.
    An MS patient friend of mine that I hadn’t been acquainted with very long told me later that at first it made her mad, but she said as she thought about it, she said she realized I was in much worse shape than her and I still had a sense of humor about it so maybe she should lighten up too. The director of the local MS chapter told me a few years later that she was absolutely horrified and thought she might just die. “You never know what to expect when you give Tommy Johns the microphone”, She told one of her co-workers as she related her misgivings of letting me speak.
    But you know what happened? Those cyclist, many of whom had come to know me over the years began to laugh, my friend the MS patient started laughing even the chapter director let a few very controlled laughs slip out. For a few minutes we all laughed together and enjoyed ourselves in spite of our sufferings. And by the end of the speech they gave me a standing ovation.
    Like you said there are times it might not be proper to crack jokes and maybe that was one of those times, but I hope not. I just want people to know “life doesn’t have to be perfect to be enjoyed”. It depends on you and your attitude. Laughter really is good medicine.
    Happy faces to you, Ashley Ringstaff. May you never lose your laugh!!

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    5 years ago

    Love your story! & I must say… as a Southern Girl – I love that you referred to “You might be a redneck if… ” lol

    I figured… I might as well laugh more in life.. and some of the stuff that I do is pretty funny – as long as I’m not hurt too bad in the process.. (like falling, etc.)

  • Deana
    5 years ago

    I’m the same way, I think comedy and laughing is good for your soul. You have to laugh at yourself with the crazy things that happen through out the day.
    I have made the decision to not comment on my disease on FB and such. I have told my closest friends but feel that I can’t post it for the world to see because I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. I’m still the same happy-go-lucky person I always was. Just a little slower these days.

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    5 years ago

    Yeah – I try and find the fun in things… or cheer people up when they are feeling down. I don’t like people feeling ‘sorry’ for me, I know that it’s going to happen in some cases.
    But, there is a thing like…. sympathy overload!

  • wheels460
    5 years ago

    I really like your attitude I’m a glass half full type person and most people cannot understand why I’m that way we’re only here once so I believe in making the best of the circumstances dealt to us.

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    5 years ago

    Glad you live that way! 🙂

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