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Socializing & Multiple Sclerosis

Socializing & Multiple Sclerosis

Have you ever had someone tell you that you don’t like to go out, ever? Maybe you seem to like to stay home instead of going out with friends? This is what I like to refer to in my previous article as, “I’m a Homebody”. However, this isn’t saying that I don’t want to go out and have fun with friends, just that I need to prepare for it, not do it all the time, etc.

Explaining limitations

Why is this? How do we explain to others that we aren’t just lazy? How do we express that we really DO want to go out and have fun, but have limitations? This is something I have a hard time coming to terms with at times.

I think some people take my rejection of wanting to go out as me just not wanting to go have fun, especially if it’s a last minute decision sort of thing. Sometimes it might be true that I don’t want to go out, because let’s face it, there are times where the couch has just too much pull on certain days.

Needing notice about upcoming plans

So, why do we need to have notice about upcoming plans? Why can’t we just go out at last minute’s notice? Well, we can, if needed, but it’s not like we want to. So, say I get invited to go out to a dance hall, to socialize, have some drinks and dance, something that I love doing, even after being diagnosed with MS. Let me walk you through how it goes through my mind… maybe this happens with you as well.

I know what going out will do to me

Well, I need notice so that I can plan for going out. I’m not just talking about what I am going to wear, etc. I’m talking about: I need to take it easy the days leading up to going out, and I might need to ‘schedule’ a nap in during the day, before going out. It’s because I know what going out will do to me. If I don’t plan accordingly, I won’t have as much fun as possible.

Believe it or not, showers for me are a chore. They are something that makes me tired, but having to ‘get ready’ after a shower is even more tiresome. I know, most people that don’t have MS don’t see how this can be tiring, but it is – trust me.

My dress code

Now, also keep in mind that right now where I live, it’s still in the 90’s at 10pm, so I need to make sure that I dress appropriately, not only for the weather but for the establishment. One thing I do love about going out to the local dance hall with friends is that I can wear my cowboy boots. Why is this good? Let’s just say that heels and I have a love-hate relationship. They love to torture me and make me fall more than usual, and I hate them with a passion. Okay, ladies that wear heels easily going out or on a regular basis, kudos to you. Women that wear heels and have MS… you’re amazing. Let me remind y’all that I’m a tomboy, and my shoes consist of flip-flops, tennis shoes, boots… and of course, barefoot.

When it comes to my closet in general, I have a collection of T-Shirts and a limited amount of dressy clothes, and I think I have one dress in there – that I wore once, for a wedding. My husband has more clothes and shoes than I do, to give you a better understanding.

Allowing enough time to get ready

So, once I have pre-planned everything to go out, I make sure I allow myself enough time to get ready. I know, they say girls take a LONG time getting ready, but it’s not what you think. It’s not that I take a very long time to actually get ready, it’s that I need breaks from doing my hair, etc. I used to not need this and could be ready in no time at all. Having long hair, it feels like taming my hair to go out is an exercise at times. Why don’t I cut it? Because I just can’t…. I love long hair; it fits in ponytails better.

It’s easier when staying in

I’ve had someone close to me ask me in the past, how come I seem to do better if we’re having a get together at my house, compared to going out? When I’m at home, I don’t have to get dressed up. Just jeans, a t-shirt, flip-flops and I’m good. I also don’t have to stress about what I might need to bring with me, cause I have it at my fingertips if I’m at home. This is in regards to medication mainly. I hate purses too, by the way. The less I have to carry the better, and when you go out to a dance hall/club, you don’t see a lot of people with a purse/handbag with them. It’s too much hassle to carry around.

I also think that having a social gathering at my house is easier for me mentally, rather than going out. Why? Because I just have this reassurance with me that I can rest, peacefully, if needed. I know where everything is, most of the time… I do have my lovely Cog-Fog issues that increase in severity if I’m up late, stressed, tired, etc.

I have help

How is it easier having people over at my house, rather than going out… don’t I have to clean, etc.? Yes, I do… but I have help w/ my husband and kids, thankfully. Also, I live on a little bit of property, not in a neighborhood, so we mostly stay outside. Play some games like washers, corn-hole, etc.

Plus, there is the fact that most of my close friends know me well, and know my ‘style’, so there is no judgment in what I’m wearing, how my hair is, etc. I mean, even if I do take the time to do my hair, it will more than likely end up in a ponytail at some point during the night.

We pick and choose our battles

Anyways, I’m rambling now. I just wanted to give a bit of insight on why it’s hard to go out with friends to social gatherings, etc. It’s not that we don’t want to socialize… it’s just that we pick and choose our battles with MS. Because, in my case at least, I will ‘pay for it’ the next day, maybe two… maybe a week? There is no ‘guarantee’ or ‘guide’ to let us know what will happen to us if we do certain activities. Why? Well, I wrote about that in, “It All Depends”.

I’m gonna end it on that note, might revisit this subject in the future, but my brain can only handle so much writing/thinking at once.

“My courage is stronger than my fear.” – Anonymous


Ashley Ringstaff | Follow me on Facebook | Follow me on Twitter | Follow me on Pinterest

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.


  • Delia
    7 months ago

    I was invited to a bachelorette party this weekend…i have known for 3 wks…wasnt looking forward to getting dressed ir staying out late…a couple of yrs ago i was the salsa dancing i prefer to skip it….ppl think im just being anti-social…

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    7 months ago

    Ughhh! I know what you mean. I will look forward to something I’m invited to. Then when the time comes around for me to get ready and out the door, I have ZERO motivation to move. UGHHH

    I ‘get it’ – trust me.

    Ashley Ringstaff

  • Shelby Comito moderator
    7 months ago

    Hi @delia! Ugh, I know it must have been so hard to say no this and accepting the “new you” – and even harder when your friends don’t understand. Please know there’s always someone here who gets it! We’re here for you anytime. – Shelby, Team Member

  • DeniseC
    12 months ago

    Saying that “I have other commitments” was a great game changer for me. I don’t use it all the time.

    A good friend gave me that advice when I was unemployed and couldn’t afford to go out.

    This wording has really helped me!

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    11 months ago

    LOVE this! I will have to TRY to remember that! I just have a difficult time remembering things lol

    Anyways, thank you for giving your thoughts! I really appreciate it.

    Ashley Ringstaff

  • Shelby Comito moderator
    11 months ago

    I love this tip @denisec – I’m going to start using this, too! Thank you so much for sharing. Best, Shelby, Team Member

  • TracyBelleLee
    3 years ago

    My husband always says “you’ll feel better after you shower”. I say no YOU feel better after a shower! Fixing my hair and putting on makeup leaves me weak and exhausted not energized and ready to go. I used to care about the way I looked and now a glimpse in the mirror leaves me in tears. I am that old fat woman who hasn’t changed her hair in 20 years and wears 15 year old clothes. I despise that hag!

  • Sue
    4 years ago

    Once I go out, I can’t use the restroom. Because I sit in a wheelchair, I’m far from the table. I drop some food. I can’t cut well with one arm. It’s hard for friends to wheel me and I’m never sure if I’ll need help getting into and out of a car. This means that my husband has to take me.
    Is it really worth it? It’s less of a problem for me if people come my home. BUT, then my husband has to tidy up and provide refreshments. He says he doesn’t mind, but how can he not.
    It’s easiest to stay in with an iPad..

  • itasara
    4 years ago

    I was just thinking about this today-my reluctance to go out. I think my lack of motivation is the biggest culprit. I’m glad I do get out, like yesterday when I went out with friends for lunch. I do have to prepare some what, but my situation is a little different than yours, Ashley, in some ways. It takes me about an hour at least to get ready, sometimes longer. I don’t always shower..unless I really need to…that cuts 10 minutes or so off my ready time. I have a closet way too overloaded with clothes.. making a decision of what to wear can take me a while unless I put it out the night before. Putting on makeup up is at least a 10-15 minute ordeal. And I can’t forget to brush my teach and fix my hair. I prefer long hair also, but I have a lot of hairpieces which make it easy to get ready. I don’t bother with hair dressers! I have to check the weather app to decide what to wear and I always need to make sure I am prepared incase my OAB decides to rear it’s miserable “drip”?And then to decide if I need socks and which shoes to wear. Then I have to use my topical medications for my feet and then my morning supplements, and If it is either M-W-F, I need to take my MS in the medication if it is morning. While I’m dressing I try to do my vocal exercises as I’ve had some vocal issues and not willing yet to give up singing. I’d love to have people come to my house, but I’m so disorganized and I have so much to do to get my house in shape for far that has not happened. Depending on the time of day I plan to go out, I’ll skip breakfast or lunch. Hopefully I’m going out to meet someone for a bit to eat! So after all that I’m ready to go out.. Oh but first I have to make sure I have my purse, my phone, my keys, and anything I’m supposed to bring with me. And if I still have a few minute, usually unlikely, I’ll put some dishes in the dishwasher or I’ll check my email.My husband is usually getting ready to go out with me for some dates, or he has to work or he’s out to the golf course, (but when the snow comes that will change things!) so I’m usually on my own to get ready and go out. There are not enough hours in the day.. if I’m not going out I’m on the computer, watching TV and I’m lucky if I get to bed at 3AM. So that is how my day goes and I wonder why don’t I won’t to make arrangments to go out?

  • TracyBelleLee
    3 years ago

    I too am exhausted after getting ready! My husband will say why don’t we go out to eat but I never have on makeup. My closet contains very little that fits me and trying to pick something to wear is also exhausting. My clothes are so dated looking and I end up in tears because everything is too big, too tight or has a 1990s high waist. I can’t motivate myself to shop (which used to be my favorite thing!) and I don’t have money or a car to go in anyway!
    I LOATHE EVERYTHING ABOUT MYSELF. The feeling that I could do better if I weren’t such a loser and the pain of a life that has passed me by is more than I can take!

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