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I Better Do it Now Before I Can’t

I Better Do it Now Before I Can’t

You wake up at a decent time before your alarm goes off (if you even still set one) and you sit up; no pain, not so dizzy, legs are not so tight, no nausea or you didn’t wake up feeling like you have not slept in a week. “Today is going to be a good day” you think, so better make the most of it since these days are far and few between! You get up and start thinking of all the things you want to get done, things that have needed to get done but just been backing up for weeks. Well today is the day you get caught up, you are going to get so much done! It’s almost exciting in a way, the idea of being productive for a change! Sound familiar?

Slowing it down

You make coffee, clean the kitchen, throw a load of laundry in the wash, vacuum the house, finally sweep the patio for the first time in like a year and a few other chores and little projects you have been meaning to do but always end up not doing because… well… MS, that’s why. So you are on a roll, today was such a productive day! You got more done in one day than you typically get done in a week! Maybe you should slow it down just a bit (you think) but what if you physically can’t do this stuff tomorrow? Better do it while you can right? Either way, you feel really good about yourself! Then you wake up the next day; you really don’t feel good. You overdid it… Sound familiar?

A vicious circle

So many of us (people with MS) do this (or so I have gathered from talking to people) and I am so guilty of it myself. On a day that I feel good (by which I mean not as horrible) I tend to want to get as much done as possible because “what if tomorrow I lose the ability to do it? Then I will wish I had” but this starts a vicious circle; you want to get all this stuff done because you are worried that “tomorrow” you won’t be able to and then because you overdid it you pushed yourself into a flare and now you actually can’t do those things! But it’s ok, because when you are feeling better you are going to get so much done! Oh… wait… circle…

It’s so tempting

Now this is one of those moments where I do not totally practice what I preach. I know we need to slow it down and not overdo it. I know that overdoing it can actually hurt me more in the long run, I know this but still, it’s so hard not to go, go, go! When you spend so much of your life wishing you had the energy to do “this, this, and that” trying to not get everything done in one day when you feel good is like a child sitting unsupervised in a room full of presents on his/her birthday and trying to not open one. It’s just so tempting! What’s really annoying is that this happens to me every time; I overdo it and I pay for it. I spend one day getting stuff done and I am out of the game for like a month.

Moderation is key

Wouldn’t it be better to wait for a good day, get just a little done and most likely be “in” the game for a month instead of a day? It makes sense to me but still I can never shake the feeling of “what if”, WHAT IF for some unforeseeable reason I really can’t do it tomorrow? That “what if” question has caused me so much pain and I know there are some good arguments for why doing things while you can is a good thing so all I can say is this; yes, do things while you can, but don’t over do it. Moderation is key, it takes a good amount of self-discipline (which I guess I don’t have) to not get carried away on a good day and yes, you never know what tomorrow is going to be like, tomorrow might suck no matter what but the one thing that seems to be a constant is that if you over do it you will more than likely feel like crap the next day for sure!

Do you have a problem with not over doing it on a “good day”? If not, how do you manage to take it easy? Or is this not even a problem for you? Share below!

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

Comments

  • Cardgal18
    1 year ago

    A few months ago I asked for “one good day”. I actually had one from beginning to end. Haven’t seen one since☹️

  • Grandma5
    3 years ago

    This is so me. I have been trying for 10 years to get this out of my system but haven’t succeeded yet. I am getting a little better but not there yet.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    Even me, I can’t always practice what IU preach because I STILL sometimes push myself too hard, ugh

  • Walker73641
    3 years ago

    This really resonates with me. I like the bank/saving analogy. I recently ‘saved’ energy for a Christmas trip to New York that I knew would wipe me out. I let myself be late on a very important work project to make sure I had the energy for the Christmas New York trip which was so important to my husband. It may hurt my reputation at work. I follow a first-things-first philosophy. Every day I make a list of the things I would like to accomplish and then put them in order. Priorities change when you can only do a little. My house almost never gets cleaned, but favorite dinners are often on the table. Now I am trying to learn to look at my week and apply the first things first rule. I enjoy the good days because they remind me of who I am without MS.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    I am surrounded by lists as I kind of do the same thing, not in order of priority though, I just write EVERY L I T T L E thing down so I can cross it all out one at a time and feel like I got a lot done haha…

  • Phbraden
    3 years ago

    I say it’s like borrowing money with REALLY high interest rates. When I was teaching, I did it all the time. Then last year in March, I finally declared bankruptcy. I left in the middle of a school year because I just couldn’t do it. It wasn’t the way I wanted to retire even though they gave me full medical leave with salary and benefits until the end of the year. I was there one day and gone the next. I qualified for disability with both SS and my state retirement and I love feeling alive again. And yes, I still borrow “money” with high interest when I need to, but not as much and not as often. I don’t mind being in debt once in awhile, but I don’t want to be that bankrupt ever again.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    That is such a good analogy, I will always think about it this way now. So, how do we file for bankruptcy because I am drowning in “debt” haha

  • debkelter
    3 years ago

    OMG, this is me 100%!! If I’m feeling like I can do it, I will go until I drop. If I start a project I won’t stop until it is done, even when my husband is telling me to stop. I have to finish it, even though I know full well I will pay for it and not be able to do a damn thing for at least a week.

  • Grandma5
    3 years ago

    That is so me. If I start something I have to finish it. I also have a husband in the background telling me to stop but it is so hard to do.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    Haha THAT is an issue I totally left out; once I start something I HAVE to finish it or else it will bug me to the point that I can’t sleep!

  • dsdumpling
    3 years ago

    It is like I wrote this myself.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    I am so sure that most people with MS experience this EXACTLY, it’s a frustrating reality of this disease :/

  • Shana
    3 years ago

    Those good days come so far and few between, I run around like I’m in a race trying to get everything done before the hammer comes back down. I love having a great day (or normal day for others). Having the energy to do things is such a gift. I figure I’ll pay for it whether I do a lot or not. I just wish I knew when that day was coming so I could make fun plans with others.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    Yes, far and few between but GIFTS don’t cost money unless you are giving them to someone else so maybe it’s more like when you FINALLY get your paycheck haha….

  • Stephanie J
    3 years ago

    I felt like this so many times. Than one day my mom told me ” if it’s dirty or untidy today it will still be that way tomorrow”. She said your better healthy than pushing yourself Stephanie? It all made sense, if I can’t get to it today it’s okay, it’ll still be there tomorrow!

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    You are right, BUT, I think for some people (like me) it bothers them/us to know it is not taken care of, I hate it! Why does it bother me? There is no schedule! But it does…

  • Stephanie J
    3 years ago

    I have felt this so many times. Than one day my mom told me if you don’t get too

  • tfs
    3 years ago

    This is excellent and has obviously hit a few chords with everyone. I think we need to push some days, but its always about balance balance balance. I was hoping to get the rock garden weeded – its been half done all summer. I am fairly good at pulling back, and my family doesn’t get it. It is difficult for others to understand. I cannot work anymore, and if I can accomplish one or two things per day I am satisfied. Other people in the family have health issues, and I just learn to shuffle the deck. Beating depression is the toughest challenge, but with time, self awareness, education, and self-love I know I will emerge through the other side. A big hug to all of us who are really working through the challenges of MS.Neurologist said try to get 30 mins-60 mins excercise per day. Now that is a challenge, but when I structure something formal, even if its just 15 mins physio, I feel a greater accomplishment. Having said all this – I am going to nap unashamedly on this perfect summer day.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    Haha I JUST finished a 20 minute-ish workout and yeah, I feel much better than days that I don’t do anything but I AM wiped out now. At least I won’t feel too guilty about not doing much for the rest of today… As far as depression, that is a huge battle for me but not one I feel I have really figured out well enough to write/talk about too much…

  • pmdpeace
    3 years ago

    When I read your post, I feel as if the words came out of my head. I’m not a writer. I’m blessed that you are. This article really hit home for me. Thank you for putting yourself and your talents to great use. Your inspiration & knowledge can reach so many people through this forum. Thank you!

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    thank you, glad you can connect to it!

  • Mark
    3 years ago

    Wow, you hit the nail on the head!
    What if? It’s not just a question for the good days but the bad ones as well, and I would trade one of my “good days” for a “bad day” of someone without MS.
    Diagnosed over 10 years ago, everyday is what if. So I go on, in my mind at least, thinking I can do everything I used to do. On the good days I get a bit more done, never what I expect myself to get done, on the bad days I just try to get something done.
    Everyday I push and push and then I push a little bit more. I pay for the good ones but what if? Everyday there is a little bit of good, even on the bad ones, and I take that smallest thread of good and go with that. If I let the bad ones and the what if’s take over then I have lost my battle with MS and I cannot let that happen, I will not let that happen. So What if, I’ll take my chances and on the good ones charge straight in and the less than good ones, charge in just a bit slower all knowing I will “pay” but I Win because I am still fighting.
    But one thing does remain, “I Better Do it Now Before I Can’t”
    I was diagnosed 11 years ago at age 45, couldn’t use my right side. Though I am much “better” now than then, I clearly remember when I “Couldn’t”
    I have Never been in a forum let alone commented on something, guess another first in my long list of things I better do now 🙂 (sorry not the most skilled writer but I needed to add to this article)
    Thanks I really thought this was in my head
    Mark

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    Thank you, this really made me remember why I shouldn’t let myself just lie around on really bad days, I forgot what it mean to NOT let MS win, thank you and glad you got yourself to comment!

  • Pachyderm
    3 years ago

    Thank you for sharing this. I do the same exact thing! On a good day it is so enjoyable to be productive that I find it impossible to reign myself in before I overdo it.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    Yes, sometimes it is SO DIFFICULT to NOT lose control and just do EVERYTHING!

  • Julie Zurek
    3 years ago

    We definitely all have our own path with this monster of a disease! I am 41 years old, officially diagnosed 4 years ago,an ex flight RN, now a nurse manager of 83 Clinical team memversion in a large university teaching Children’s hospital. I am one year into graduate studies for administration and have two small children who are heavily involved in little league. I take Tecfidera, Ampyra, and Provigil. The Provigil took me from almost quitting my nursing career to jumping back in full swing. I have a great boss who understands my disease so allows me to adjust my days if needed but I have to speak up and that is hard to do. Please don’t take my story as I feel great. I relapsed last week, we did 500mg of oral steroids for 5 day instead of IV which was wonderful because I HATE IVs! It fixed my leg issue but I am now in a leg brace with 8 weeks of PT. I cannot run, I walk with a limp….this has been this way for more than 4 years….we just went through a “pinched nerve in you back and you need to lose weight!” path before I could get someone to listen to me that this was more. The MRI told the story and I had old lesions in my brain and new ones in my spine. Everyday is a new day for sure but I don’t allow myself to be restricted by this disease. I have to let my boys and family see me fight no matter what my day looks like. Making myself turn off is extremely difficult and usually involves someone I love telling me to slow my roll. I do try and make time to releax, I am trying to figure out how to do yoga and not fall over…lol, and would like to learn how to meditate. I wish everyone here the best, this disease takes so much from us, however we are stronger than this monster that has been put in our path. PS, my cane is pink and I use it to trip my rambunctious boys when they try to take advantage of the fact that I may be a slow moving turtle. Lol!
    Cheers to you and your best days!
    Julie Zurek

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    Glad to hear you are able to still try to function well in life! I so wish Provigil worked for me but I could take it and still go to sleep an hour later :/ but yes, we have to keep fighting!

  • Jade1956
    3 years ago

    Let’s take care of ourselves, yes, but let’s not baby ourselves. I walk with braces that go from my toes to mid-thighs and another that goes from my hips to my shoulders and I have chronic fatigue syndrome caused by MS. I am retired disabled, but I have uploaded two books to the Kindle, and I’m in the process of completely reorganizing my house since the older I get the worse my claustrophobia gets. And there isn’t a day I don’t smile, grin, or laugh outright at the antics of my 21 year old cat. I can’t work as fast as I used to, so I factor in more time. I take medication to back off the fatigue which sort of works. I can fall asleep sitting down, standing up, eating, showering, etc. But I refuse to sleep my life away. And I have to go now. My bedroom is almost done and it’s just too tempting to leave it hanging when I could finish it and make it exactly what I want it to be. My philosophy in life? Cherish what you have, regain what you can, and let go of what’s lost.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    Well said but it’s important to realize that “babying yourself” is much different for everyone, what may seem possible to push through to one person might not be possible for another, we all have to learn our own limits and be smart about pushing them.

  • LucySchotte
    3 years ago

    I do this to myself over and over again. Every time I do, I tell myself I won’t do so much next time. I still do. I can’t seem to figure things out. I really don’t know how to explain it. I hate saying I am tired to my friends and family because they are tired too. They all work hard for their families. I use to work hard also. My son asks me why I sleep so much and if I am up all night. I said no just tired. They don’t realize my tired is different.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    As much as I understand what “too much” is, I STILL (often) over-do it…

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    It’s definitely a learning process and some people learn much quicker than others. And yes, other people are tired from working hard at life as well but like you said, it is not at all the same.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi LucySchotte, you’re not alone in struggling with fatigue. The information at the previouos link is a good starting point to explain some important points about MS fatigue, and you may want to share the link, or print the article out to share.

    We’re glad that you’re here and we’re happy to share information, support or just to listen. -All Best, Donna (MultipleSclerosis.net team)

  • rdyyx4
    3 years ago

    I too have a had problems recognizing when my body has reached a point that I need to rest. I’d like to say I’m getting at that, but unfortunately if there are signs or symbols of muscle fatigue I’m too ignorant to sense them. I’m praying for a cure, not more expensive DMT’s. If the scientists can find a vaccine for Zika in just a few short months why don’t they know what causes MS and how to cure it!

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    I think I am just too STUBBORN sometimes to listen to the warning signs of doing too much. “Just a little more, I can do it”. Also, you have to remember, Zika is a virus where MS is an auto-immune disease – a virus is a little more “simple” than an auto-immune disease :/

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    I don’t think “ignorant” is the right word because figuring this disease out is very difficult for all of us. Also, a virus like Zika is crazy simple compared to the mechanics of an autoimmune disease like Multiple Sclerosis, they are two completely different type of problems.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi, rdyyx4, you’re not alone in your frustration or in your wish. I can’t offer you much more than a wish to be gentle with yourself. I’d offer that it’s less being ignorant to sense the fatigue and more that so many of us are so accustomed to caring for others and putting our needs last. Sometimes we need to learn the power of “no”.

    Thanks for being part of the community and sharing your thoughts. -All Best, Donna (MultipleSclerosis.net team)

  • DarlaKaye
    3 years ago

    I do this all the time. I have a husband (who really struggles to understand the challenges MS presents) and 2 young children (ages 7 and almost 5) and I’m trying desperately to keep MS from dragging our whole family down. I’m tired all the time and recently my left leg has been feeling extra weak and is giving me trouble. But, I am not letting any of that keep me from making this Summer a fun one for my family. I have pushed myself to the extremes of exhaustion so my daughter can go back to school with all kinds of fun stories from her Summer vacation instead of having to tell her friends that she didn’t do anything because her Mom has MS and is too tired to go anywhere. Let me tell you that the disabled parking permit I got a few months ago finally has been my salvation! We went to the fair last week 9(I took my sister with me because I can’t ride the rides anymore – I get way too dizzy and don’t recover and the kids REALLY love the rides) and we were able to park close by because we were able to get a disabled parking spot. That made it so nice when we trekked back to the car – me with both feet and legs feeling numb and my left leg dragging a little because it’s just not getting the correct signals from my brain. I take tons of pictures of these activities too so my kids will have something to look back on as happy memories in the event I DO become too disabled to do some of these things with them. I know I should take naps and have more down time but I just can’t seem to make myself do it.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    While I am often too stubborn to avoid doing EVERYTHING I do know that I have limits. This does not mean staying home and never doing anything, we have to FIGHT to not let MS hold us down BUT we have to recognise our limits because if we push ourselves to the point of a flare we may be doing permanent damage behind the scenes that will prevent us from doing ANYTHING way sooner than if we just try to take it a LITTLE easy. It’s a tough balancing game, I know

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi, DarlaKaye, they may be young, but they see. Someday when you least expect it, and likely really need it, they will give you that smile that lights up the world and say, “Hey, mom, do you remember when we….?” and that’s the very best medicine. -All Best, Donna (MultipleSclerosis.net team)

  • MSFighter
    3 years ago

    You literally nailed it right on the head for me with this story!! My husband complains all of the time that I am doing way too much. I always say to him well it needs to be done and I don’t know how I’m going to be tomorrow. I also hate the fact that yes, I may be dizzy or yes,I may have trouble walking but I push myself to get things done. All I hear after that, is “I thought you didn’t feel well”. Then I get frustrated and angry thinking people think I’m lying when all I’m trying to do is keep moving.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    “I thought you didn’t feel well?” “I don’t but I have to get myself up when I can or else I would just be in bed for the rest of my life”

  • JustJosie
    3 years ago

    Ugh! When I have a good day, it is so hard to not do as much as I possibly can…knowing that the next day (if not more) I’m gonna pay for it. It’s especially hard in the summer. I WANT to be outside, playing in the garden, tossing the ball for the dogs, etc. Even when I do a good job of taking breaks, staying in the shade and using cooling packs/towels, I am bound to be wiped out the following day.
    Thanks for the article and reminding me that 1. I’m not alone and 2. not everything NEEDS to be done on that good day.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    I am lucky because I HATE summer so all I want to do is hide from the son in my air conditioned room haha… But yeah, moderation, moderation is key, not EVERYTHING has to be done on a good day (as hard as it is to NOT want to)

  • Tony D.
    3 years ago

    The temperature has dropped at last in Bellingham, WA. Been in the high 80s, 90s for weeks, but it’s down in the 60s today. Thank goodness. I can do some work and try to be productive again.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    I feel like taking advantage of the weather is a tottally separate issue deserving of it’s own conversation; maybe I should write about that as I have experienced both extremes (110-120 in Socal and 0 with windchill of -10 in Colorado)

  • Kathie
    3 years ago

    God Matt, I was just thinking the same thing! I finally had the strength to do today everything that you talked about, and I know that I’m going to pay for it tomorrow! Does it suck? Absolutely, but I’m so stubborn and think I can that I know in my mind I’m gonna pay for it! This disease will be the death of me! Lol I am so tired that I have to get back in bed.. I love what you wrote because it’s the absolute truth! I can sympathize with you!

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    You sound like me, I am so stubborn that even when I KNOW I am going to pay for it I tend to push through anyways and then… pay for it the next day.

  • giraffe516
    3 years ago

    I do this all the time. Had a neuro appt last week. Walked from garage thru hospital to his office…knowing he was going to have me do a timed walk. Walk grocer store, clean garden. But I am more v thinking I still can do it more than its a good day. The day may come when I can’t and am dependent on others for everything.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    It’s a scary thought and the one that keeps me TRYING to not push myself too much…

  • kkcurtis
    3 years ago

    Still just as stubborn as you; I’ve had ms for almost 10 years now and keep asking myself when am I going to get it through my head. I think the biggest obstacle is the uncertainty that you mentioned. Even if we do pace ourselves on a “good” day that doesn’t mean that we will have the energy, mobility or lack of pain the next day. If we knew what to expect we could take better care of ourselves-but that’s MS, completely unpredictable.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    To me, THAT is the largest obstacle in my life with MS; UNPREDICTABILITY

  • kkcurtis
    3 years ago

    Still just as stubborn as you; I’ve had ms for almost 10 years now and keep asking myself when am I going to get it through my head. I think the biggest obstacle is the uncertainty that you mentioned. Even if we do pace ourselves on a “good” day that doesn’t mean that we will have the energy, mobility or lack of pain the next day. If we knew what to expect we could take better care of ourselves-but that’s MS, completely unpredictable.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    Very unpredictable… It’s a matter of odds (to me). You can increase the odds that you will feel better tomorrow but there is ALWAYS that chance you won’t… ALWAYS…

  • elsiesue
    3 years ago

    I was just diagnosed 5 months ago at age 60. I have been battling this issue all summer. It is so frustrating. I am slowly figuring out my limits and trying to let go of things but it is so hard. I worry that people think I’m lazy. Any suggestions for helping my hubby and family to understand this? It is so hard for me to ask for help as I have been independent for so long. I am still working 3 days a week and have learned to pace myself there but at home it seems different. I too get fixated on a project like working in the garden and push til I get done and can hardly walk back in the house and then I get mad at myself for being so dumb! Grrr.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    I have actually been trying to figure out (for months) how to PROPERLY write an article trying to help explain to family/friends how to handle “us” but I never feel like I write it right, sometimes I feel like it is just as hard for me to understand what it’s like for them as it is for them to understand me… sometimes.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    I have struggled for a long time with the “how to make others understand” thing but I still have no idea, a lot of my own family/friends do not REALLY understand. You can’t MAKES someone sit down and do all the reading it takes, so I am still not sure, when I figure it out I will definitely be writing about it!

  • Curious1
    3 years ago

    I’ve learned from years of ‘over-doing’ then paying for it the next day to pace myself. I rest when I notice I’m running out of juice and do more after a nap. Then tomorrow will likely be a good day too. If not, I take care of myself and wait for the next good day!

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    See I have learned when I SHOULD rest but am often too stubborn to want to stop what I am doing… So I envy your ability to do that

  • KarenLoftus
    3 years ago

    Great sharing – I’ve benn there, done that, but I’m getting better at NOT overdoing it. It’s difficult when I get fixated though. I’m totally uncaring (yet aware) of the suffering I’m causing my own body, but am so fixated on this project, to the exclusion of all else. One time I was cutting blackberry strands from the fence line: it got dark, I felt nauseated, I was over-heated, I fell down a few times, I nearly passed out – but I COULD NOT STOP until I completed the task I’d set myself. I’m much more careful now and aware that my brain works differently than before.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    It seems like A LOT of us are struggling with “being too stubborn” haha… Because that is me…

  • skcullers
    3 years ago

    It is so sad that we have to live this way. Remember years ago people talking about fatigue, being done in and the heat wiping them out. Now truly understand and empathize with them. Do you remember when you were first diagnosed? I was in 1995 and was told there would be a
    cure in 5 years.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    They have been talking about a cure forever. I remember when I was first diagnosed thinking everything was so terrible but now? In retrospect? That was a walk in the park, it was like I did not even REALLY have MS yet

  • kristensimas
    3 years ago

    Oh boy this is the story of my life!!!!! I get that one morning that I feel good (not great) I am on a mission. By the afternoon, I am starting to pay for it. Factor in the heat or cold then it is a whole new story!

  • AllisonJo
    3 years ago

    I do the same darn thing….will I ever learn? Those few and far between good days are so great and we can’t help but to take advantage of them. It’s like drinking too much and being surprised we have a hangover, but jeez….we pay for doing something not that fun, like vaccuming!

    AllisonJo

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    lol that is a good analogy… but yeah, vacuuming, cleaning, “fun”…

  • kristensimas
    3 years ago

    Vacuuming is not my friend either!!!!!

  • Poll