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Suffering In Silence

Have you ever been told that you are being too quiet?

That you don’t interact much with others often? Or you might be on the other side of the table… are you looking at a friend or relative, realizing that they aren’t being themselves? Are they being extra quiet and secluded? If you answered yes to any of these questions, let me share with you my experience.

As most of you can tell from my writing, I’m very blunt and sarcastic; I like to make people laugh. However, that’s not always the case, especially lately.

I’ve been quiet lately

I’ve been a bit quiet here recently and haven’t really wanted to converse with others on the phone or in person. While I hope that those close to me don’t take it personally, it’s something that is hard to explain.

I’ve been extremely stressed lately, more than ‘normal’. It’s almost like a brain overload, where I can’t take any more things going on, and I go into self-preservation mode. Picture a robot that is on and is being active/mobile. Then, all of a sudden, things go crazy around it, and it powers down… that’s how I feel.

I feel like I’ve switched on my ‘power down’ button

I feel like I’ve switched on my ‘power down’ button, to keep myself safe and sane. I’m sure I or someone else has gone over a topic in relation to this before, but I felt like I needed to revisit it. Things change and how we cope with situations can also change. If you were looking at me right now, you wouldn’t ‘see’ anything wrong with me, physically.

I feel like I’m standing in the middle of rush hour traffic

BUT… on the inside, I feel like I’m standing in the middle of rush hour traffic. I’ve come to find that a lot of MS’ers tend to go into hiding when things get to be too much. The kicker is, now we’re suffering in silence. Those around us don’t know how to approach us to figure out what’s going on or what’s wrong. I wish I had an easy answer on HOW to help us, but I haven’t found one yet.

Mentally, I am just confused and overwhelmed. I keep forgetting things as I’m doing them, constantly getting lost in thought, not knowing which way is up. However, it’s hard to admit to others, especially those who don’t deal with this struggle, what’s going on and how we’re feeling. If I could voice what was wrong, how I’m feeling, and what needs to be done to fix it, life would be much easier.

The solution is stuck in my MS brain

It seems that the solution to this formula is stuck in my MS brain and can’t find its way out of the maze of lesions for me to communicate it. So instead, I’m struggling in silence. I’m silently suffering. I wouldn’t even label this as ‘depression’, because I’ve suffered from that most of my life. I’m just… tired. We wake up every day and enter into the war with MS. It is a daily battle, against our own bodies, to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I know that I will eventually get back to ‘normal’, but it takes time.

Being ‘normal’ is overrated anyways

My advice to those who have a loved one that has or is going through this? Don’t pressure them to lighten up or talk about it. Just be there for them when THEY are ready to talk.

Also, sometimes it isn’t just a mental struggle, but it can be physically debilitating on top of that. As I’m writing this, I have barely slept because my legs just ache. There is no describing this type of ache, but it just hurts and there isn’t a lot that can make it ‘feel’ better.

Stress can act as a trigger for MS symptoms

Let’s take this as a reminder that stress can cause issues in Multiple Sclerosis. It’s been known as a ‘trigger’ for MS symptoms to flare up. Stress levels are hard to manage as well. Especially when you’re in a situation like I recently was where I just kept thinking in my head, “When it rains, it pours.”

For those of you that have experienced what I have described or something similar… this is to know that you aren’t alone. It sucks, there is no sugar coating it. But… we’re fighters, we’re strong and we can defeat this.

Continuing to battle against Multiple Sclerosis isn’t a sprint – it’s a marathon.

xoxo
Ashley Ringstaff

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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

  • mstini2013
    3 months ago

    I feel your pain. I must agree with you. about the “Marathon “. We MS people are Warriors!!! We are Strong and strength builds with knowing that we are not alone.

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    3 months ago

    Very true! Thanks for reading!

    Best,
    Ashley Ringstaff

  • Bkboo
    4 months ago

    My Last attack in 2013 has really changed me. I was the life of the party, truly a social butterfly. A Martial Artist, Dancer…just love physical stuff! Moved back home and having new friends who didn’t know me before is hard…Now I want to stay inside and be with my dog. My cognition was affected in 2013 and whew boy…love silence now. I go inward now a lot and “suffer in silence”

  • Alina Ahsan moderator
    4 months ago

    It must be so hard to notice such dramatic changes in yourself and think back to the things you used to enjoy! Going from a social butterfly to more of a homebody is a big difference, and I’m glad you have your dog at home to keep you company. Please know that we are always here to listen and that you don’t have to hold back with the community – you’re definitely not alone in noticing these changes!
    -Alina, MultipleSclerosis.net Team Member

  • LuvMyDog
    4 months ago

    It’s nice to be optimistic ….but when you have gone through nearly 37 years of terrible fatigue, dizziness, eye problems, muscle weakness, sleepless nights, intolerance to noise, intolerance to heat even though you absolutely HATE cold weather, foot drop, stabbing pains, just plain misery, you lose all thoughts of optimism.

    Being normal isn’t over-rated.
    I’d love to be “normal” again.
    I’d love to be able to work out on my weight bench and not feel the terrible burning pain that limits my exercise.
    I’d love to be able to run like I used to, on the beach, through a park, a meadow, and kick in to high gear and go as fast as my legs would carry me and feel great doing so.
    I’d love to be able to keep my house neat and clean again without feeling the horrible fatigue in a matter of minutes, the pain with every movement.

    As each year goes by, life gets a little harder, muscles a little weaker, brain fog a little foggier, the fatigue more draining, the ability to hold an intelligent conversation, almost impossible.

    When I was younger, my attitude was different. I was a fighter, I had a little hope, now, that’s gone.
    I’m a survivor. I do what I have to do. But I am a realistic person, brutally honest.

    We’re not really fighters, we are people who get up each day hoping that it will be a good day, that the disease will go easy on us.
    We are not as strong as a “normal” person is and sorry but, we will NOT defeat MS, not in this lifetime anyway.

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    4 months ago

    Thank you for sharing your perspective on the matter.

    There is no telling what the future holds, and we can only hope for the best. I am skeptical of the outcome. I just always try to have a positive attitude when I deal with so much negative in my life.

    xoxo
    Ashley

  • potter
    4 months ago

    I have a Christmas party to attend this weekend. I will try to find a couple of women that I can visit with in a cozy little group. If I am in a large group of people, I feel totally lost like I am disappearing into the background. I don’t seem to be able to jump into a conversation, so I give up trying. I can’t order my own dinner at a restaurant anymore. My thought processes are too slow and I forget what I am ordering sometimes. My husband discusses my order with me and then tells the waitress what I want. I am better in a slower paced restaurant that isn’t so loud. Potter

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    4 months ago

    Hope you had a good time at the Christmas party! My husband helps me out when needed as well when dealing with crazy environments.
    Ours usually isn’t discussed before hand though.

    I will be in the middle of ordering and forget, so I just point for him and he finishes up on what I’m trying to get out. I’m glad he is there for that, but he isn’t always there to ‘save’ me from my self.

    xoxo

  • IzzyB
    5 months ago

    Reading this, I thought about how much this speaks to me. I’ve been somewhat quiet/reserved most of my life. Now, MS has really reinforced that. I’m not a snob, nor am I particularly antisocial. Sometimes I just hurt, get confused/phase out & occasionally feel overwhelmed. My ‘Wonder Woman’ days are long past, but even those closest to me still expect that from me. I try to remain calm, but it’s increasingly difficult to fight the battle within when people are slinging toxic sludge in my direction. I try to educate them, but more often than not, it seems like it falls on deaf ears.
    So, thank you for this validating article.

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    4 months ago

    @izzyb
    Thank you for reaching out. I’m glad to hear that the article helped you in anyway possible. I’m sorry to hear that you have people around you that don’t want to listen to what you have to say, but just know that you have an entire community that KNOWS what you’re going through.

    xoxo
    Ashley

  • IzzyB
    4 months ago

    Thank you, Ashley. Knowing that I’m not alone makes a difference.

  • Shelby Comito moderator
    4 months ago

    We hear you, @izzyb. I’m so glad this article helped validate how you’ve feeling lately. Thank you so much for taking the time to share. Thinking of you, Shelby, MultipleSclerosis.net Team Member

  • IzzyB
    4 months ago

    Thank you, Shelby. This is where I often have to go for validation.

  • sevensix
    5 months ago

    It is easy to fall into a hole. I let gravity do all the work. The emotional hole somehow lures us into
    isolation, a dark condition of the mind that will defend itself never allowing the light of life shine upon us. The deeper we go the darker it gets until life itself is shuttered. Don’t go there. **********************************************************———-

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    4 months ago

    Thanks for sharing your perspective! I try to stay as light as I can, because I know from experience just how far ‘the darkness’ can lure you in. and How hard it is to fight your way out.

    I have just found it a bit easier for me to have a ‘release’ of my negative behavior at times, rather than bottle it all up just to explode later.

    xoxo
    Ashley

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