The Never-ending Scavenger Hunt, Brought to You By MS!
Have you ever participated in a scavenger hunt? It’s a challenging game where you have to look for items that are hidden in a general area. It’s like hide and seek with someone who never gets tired of waiting for you to find them so they can just sit in their hiding spot forever! Sounds like a lot of fun right? Well, I guess it used to be… back when my memory and my vision had not been impeded by multiple sclerosis (MS)… but now? Thanks to MS? It feels like my daily life is a never-ending scavenger hunt because I can never find what I am looking for and it is not fun!
Either I can’t remember where I put what I am looking for or my awesome vision makes it feel impossible to successfully scan my surroundings and find it. It’s so frustrating! Even if this is not an issue for you I am sure you have found yourself spending half an hour looking for the TV remote so you can just change the channel! That maddening feeling of hopelessness that makes you feel like a danger to yourself and others while you toss the couch cushions around and reach under pieces of furniture that you never even realized had a space under it? Or the utterly despondent feeling you get when you just can not find your keys or your wallet/purse? That is the feeling I have to live with every day only sometimes I am faced with it while doing things that are simply part of my daily routine! Like washing a dish at the kitchen sink – but hold on, where is the sponge? It’s not in the designated sponge spot. Is it under another dish? On the counter? Behind the dish rack? Is there a sponge under the sink? OK forget it, I guess there are no more sponges anywhere so it looks like dishes will never be cleaned again! Ever! I’m just going to watch TV – wait, where is the remote? I could have sworn I left it right here! I am going to go mad… I would write down where everything is but I can’t even remember where I set my pen (that I was just holding) down.
My vision does this to me too. Not only is my vision not as sharp as it once was but I have oscillopsia so everything looks like it is almost moving. On top of that I get major sensory overload when I am looking at a crowded environment. It’s like my brain can’t decide what it should look at; like it is unsure if any given item is any more important than another. Does your household have a junk drawer? Let’s use that as an example. I might KNOW for a fact that what I am looking for is somewhere in there but when I look inside I am so overwhelmed by the jumbled mess that I have to just dump it all out and look at one thing at a time. Is this what I am looking for? Nope. Move it to the side. What about this? Nope. Add it to the “nope pile”. OK you know what? Screw it! This is just too much! I give up!
So all this has been a major contributing factor in making me a creature of habit. I like everything to be in its place so that if I wanted to? I could close my eyes and still reach around my surroundings and grab what I want. I don’t want to spend half the day looking for something; I don’t need to be reminded or taunted by the fact that my memory and my vision are not what they used to be. This would work great if I lived alone but like most of us? I live with other people and since most people do not share my OCD-like habits of making sure everything is in the exact same place as it was yesterday? Things have a tendency of relocating. So it would seem that I am stuck participating in a never-ending scavenger hunt where the items I have to find are the very items I need to get things done throughout the day.
This might sound like it is not an MS thing because “everyone loses their keys” but I am just trying to paint a picture that everyone can relate to. The fact is, as my memory and vision have gotten worse over the years so has this problem. It seems like all day I am just looking for things and for one reason or another, it has become very difficult for me to find them! I swear I can FEEL that my brain is not making a connection; it’s just ONE synapse away from remembering where it is and whether my vision is making things more difficult to find is not even a question! I am sure there are others with MS who know what I mean but honestly? I don’t think I have ever REALLY talked to people about this. So since you were diagnosed with MS, have you found it more difficult to find things throughout the day? Have you become uptight about making sure everything is in its place? Share below!