Gallon of milk resting on the floor outside the pantry

Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh at Yourself

Shortly after my journey with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) began, I realized that my cognitive function was not always working the way it should. It was nowhere near as bad as it is today, but nonetheless, I noticed a change in the way things were ticking up there. As the Cog-Fog rolled in, I started to notice myself misplacing stuff more often, but at first, I would really think that someone else had taken whatever it was I was looking for. “I didn’t lose it, someone stole it!” But it wasn’t long before the subtle mysteries like how my car keys made it to wherever they were hiding, or how the TV remote found its way into the bathroom, became something with an explanation that was little more apparent.

"What was I thinking?"

One of the first instances I can remember of something “stupid” that I realized I had done was when I went into the kitchen to make myself a snack one day. I was going to pour myself a bowl of cereal, but when I opened the fridge to grab the milk, it was nowhere to be found. I clearly remembered myself having cereal that morning and putting a half-full jug of milk back on the empty refrigerator shelf I was now staring at. “What the heck? Who took all the milk?” I stood there for a moment wondering how the milk could have disappeared when I finally decided that I would just snack on some dry cereal like I would a bowl of chips. When I opened the pantry to grab a box of “crunchy breakfast sugar loops”, guess what I found sitting inside? A halfway-full jug of room-temperature milk! I pulled it out and just looked at it while stuck between a state of confusion and wanting to laugh out loud as it dawned on me that, “Wow, no one had taken the milk; I put it in the pantry! It was me! What was I thinking?”

How I choose to react

The “milk in the pantry” story remains one of my favorite examples of something that I did because of my MS that I can legitimately laugh about. I mean, yeah, looking back, I can now see that this “brain-fart” was just the start of what would later become an incredibly debilitating aspect of my life with MS, but to me? It was (and still is) objectively funny. But I know that to others, something like this may not be a laughing matter at all because I always find myself getting frustrated and stressing out over stupid little things that my MS causes me do - things that other people living with MS might be able to do and then immediately laugh about instead of snapping like I so often do. So obviously, being able to laugh at myself and my MS for doing something like this is not actually a matter of objectivity but a matter of how I choose to see and react to it.

What else can you do?

It’s not always easy to laugh about something you can’t really help. As I said, it’s a very common thing for me to find myself overwhelmed with frustration over something that (to others) may not seem like it’s a big deal. But when I can, I always try to stop, take a deep breath, and allow my sarcastic nature to digest whatever just happened so that I can make light of it instead of stressing myself out. Stress only ever makes things worse with MS, so why stress out about something you can’t do anything about? I can’t control everything that happens in my life, and I can’t control everything that happens to my body thanks to MS. But you know what I can control? How I react to those things. So what I realized is that when it comes to living with a chronic illness like MS? Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself because what can you really do about it?

What are some of the “MS moments” that you find to be funny? Share in the comments below!

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