A mouth is talking and there is a talk bubble coming out of it. In front of it here are also bricks and cinderblocks falling out.

Stop Complaining Already!

Okay, so no one has straight up come to me and said, "stop complaining" to me recently, not with their words at least. However, their faces sure did scream that, exclamation mark and all. First off, when someone asks me how I’m doing, in reference to my MS, and I tell them truthfully just how I am doing, it’s not complaining if I am just answering the question that was asked about my health!

Don't ask how I'm doing if you don't want the answer

Although, when they get that truthful answer, they probably didn’t want to hear just how much we deal with on a day-to-day basis. It’s depressing what we have to live through each and every day. Who wants to take medicine just to function on a somewhat normal level? We don’t, I can tell you that.

Don't tell us to stop complaining

Now, to those people who have told someone with MS or another type of chronic illness to stop complaining:

  1. Just don’t ever say that, ever. Also, don’t ask if you don’t really want to know
  2. How do you think we feel? We probably gave you a short rundown of what we’re going through that took a few minutes; we’re the ones dealing with it 24/7

We deal with multiple symptoms every day

If you look at the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, keep in mind that most of us with MS deal with multiple symptoms at once. When we explain how we’re doing or what’s going on with our health, maybe we just need to get it off our chest and vent about it. Maybe it’s been just too much that we have dealt with that day - who knows? But for someone to accuse us of complaining, you really have no idea whatsoever what we still DON'T disclose in our answer. Trust me, you really don’t want to hear everything that we COULD complain about.

Judging others and their ailments

If you do really want to know, then I hope you have time - lots of it. Sadly, before I was diagnosed, I was one of those people who would get annoyed about people ‘complaining’ about their ailments. It's something I’m not proud of when I think back to it. It’s easy to judge someone when you don’t know what they’re truly going through. Honestly, I’m guilty of judging someone with their complaining even post-diagnosis. Not in the same aspect though, so let me clarify that. I try really hard to not be a judgmental person because being judged by others is a crappy feeling. But when my husband is complaining that he feels like death, when he has bad allergies or the ‘man-flu’ aka the common cold, I do judge and roll my eyes at that.

Trying not to compare our pain

I also try hard to not compare what I deal with to others because everyone deals with things differently. Even our pain tolerance is different; we can handle a lot more than others because, sadly, our bodies are used to the level of pain we deal with on a daily basis.

I’ve come to realize that the things that used to matter or things I used to complain about do not even hold a candle to what I’ve gone through since I was diagnosed. It’s hard to think back to when I was ‘normal’ and what that felt like because I’ve been dealing with this monster for so long. Plus, my memory is not so great either... thanks, MS.

We didn't ask for any of this to happen

However, it’s very important to remember that when it comes to people with a chronic illness, it’s that we are stuck. We wake up every day trying to do our best to feel the best we possibly can; it’s exhausting. I’m really also not trying to be a ‘Debbie-downer’ either, honestly. When you accuse us of complaining too much, you’re not taking into account that this is our life; we’re simply just stating the facts of what is going on within our lives. We can relate with you that it’s exhausting hearing about because we deal with it every second of every day.

We can't turn off MS

For instance, think of how you may share something that happened to you during the day or at work, something along those lines. When we speak about our illness, we are doing the same thing because it is a part of our everyday life, our everyday “routine”. The difference is, whenever you are done listening to us ‘complain,’ you can go on about your life as normal. However, for us, we continue to deal with the complaints internally. This is why I try to teach my kids not to judge others negatively, because it hurts.

You don’t get it until you GET IT

I’ve learned that it takes more energy to be negative than it does to be positive. So, I try to stay positive even with everything that life throws at me. No one is perfect, everyone is dealing with something. Also, being perfect sounds kinda boring if you ask me.


Ashley Ringstaff

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