The Molasses Swamp: MS

For most of the time that I have had Multiple Sclerosis (MS), I had always complained that no one ever seems to ask me if I’m okay; well, at least not when I wanted them to. I always heard other people complaining about this as well, and eventually, I figured out that most people don’t even think to ask how you’re doing unless something looks wrong with you (people believe what they see). As most of us know, MS consist of a lot of invisible symptoms. Someone with MS might look totally fine on the outside but feel terrible and be in agonizing pain on the inside. You can’t see that. As I have said before, when someone tells me that I “look good” I usually reply with a bit of sarcasm; “if I felt half as good as I looked, I would be feeling amazing!”

I feel stuck

As time went on, my life with MS seemed to have plateaued. At the time of my writing this, nothing is getting better, and nothing is getting worse. Nothing is really changing. Every day, I wake up and go to bed with my usual set of symptoms that sometimes seem to act up a little worse than other times. This would be great if my MS had decided to hit pause during a time where I felt good (or at least decent), but no; even on my best days I feel like I am barely surviving and just trying to make it to the end of the day so I can “sleep” my way through a chunk of time with MS. A lot of other people with MS probably feel this way, too, but my point is this: for a long time, now I have felt stuck, and even though my life doesn’t seem to be moving in any direction, the life of the entire world around me is still speeding forward.

Everyone else is moving forward

I can only think about how I felt when I was a child playing the game “Candy Land” when my playing piece would land on a space in the “Molasses Swamp” where I would be stuck in place while everyone else could continue moving their pieces forward. It felt like I was left out of the game while I just sat there unable to move my game piece while watching everyone else pass me by. That’s how I feel now, everyone else is moving forward in life, but I am sitting here stuck in the Molasses Swamp: MS.

Nothing has changed

Because of that, I have found myself in a completely different position than I was before. Not too long ago, all I wanted was for someone to really ask me how I was doing. But now? I seem to hate being asked that question! I feel tired of hearing it because what am I supposed to say that I didn’t already say yesterday or a week ago or a month ago? Nothing has changed, so I really don’t have anything different to tell anyone. “I’m so tired today,” “I’m so dizzy today,” “I couldn’t sleep last night,” “My leg is killing me,” “Everything is extra blurry today,” “I really can’t think clearly,” “I’m nauseous”. I mean, what else is new?

Maybe it’s me

Although, now that I think about it, maybe it’s actually me that I’m sick of? Maybe I’m just sick of hearing myself complain about the same stuff? Sick of not ever having anything positive to say… I hate not being able to tell people that I have actually moved forward on the game board of my life. “Yes, I am in fact still stuck in the Molasses Swamp, and I have no idea if I will ever find a way to get out.”

I don’t want anyone to ask how I’m doing

Christmas is coming up, and usually, I enjoy seeing all the family that I haven’t seen in a long time. I enjoy the festivities, the food, and talking to everyone. But this year, I can’t say I’m looking forward to it the way I usually do because I really don’t want to talk about me. I don’t want anyone to ask me about how I’m doing or how my life is. “So, Matt, what’s new? How have you been?” All of my cousins who are around my age are finishing school, starting new careers, getting married, and having children. They have all done very well in moving forward in life. They all have new and exciting things to talk about. But when the conversation inevitably circles around the room to me? I have nothing. I haven’t moved in any direction in life in quite a while, and at the moment I really don’t have an idea of where I am even heading.

A rough patch

I know I should never compare myself to anyone else. I have MS and they don’t, but we all have our own struggles in life, and just like the invisible symptoms of my MS, I can’t see what they are going through. I understand that. I understand that because of the cards I was dealt in life, my path to success simply involves taking a different road forward than most. But what I know and what I feel are two entirely different things. Even though I know that I am just stuck in a really rough patch in the road that I will eventually pass, I still feel like I am stuck in the Molasses Swamp with no hope of ever actually escaping.

Moving forward

I’m really trying to end the year on a positive note so that I can start the new year with a positive attitude and the motivation I need to move myself forward and better my life, but sometimes it’s hard. I know for me that the very first step will be to try to keep a positive attitude, because while my sarcastic nature can often help me put a positive spin on things, it can definitely do the complete opposite fueling an intense pessimism. I just can not let that happen because it would definitely make my ability to escape the Molasses Swamp that much more difficult.

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

View Comments (1)
  • Hershey21
    1 week ago

    Matt, I can relate to all of your feelings. However, I’m a retired female so as far as moving on in life I’m in a totally different situation. Depression is very common w/ MS. I’m on medication which really helps as does my relationship w/ Christ.
    Having MS is depressing! Being clinically depressed makes even a very healthy person feel stuck in the molasses swamp. May I suggest that any MSer reading this that is not on medication for depression demand that your doctor put you on some! Be patient. You may have to try more than one. It may take weeks for it to “kick in” BUT it can be VERY helpful in getting through each difficult day w/ a more positive outlook. Truth is, REGARDLESS of ones circumstances, the people who are able to successfully “move forward” are those w/ the most positive attitude and sense of optimism. If any one of your cousins had depression, despite being physically healthy they would feel just as stuck as you do. It’s mostly mental. If you have MS you most likely need help w/that. It can change everything!

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