Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer
Give me a minute

Um… Give Me a Minute

What the heck am I going to talk about now, based off of that title. Don’t worry I have a point.

As we all know, MS symptoms are a pain the rear end on most days, but throw in something that ‘aggravates’ our MS & it’s symptoms, and that makes things a lot more difficult.

So I wanted to start this off by telling you a little story about what happened the other day while I was at Walmart getting a few things that I needed. One of those things was a bottle of wine, and yes that’s a need for me.

We recently had a cold front, as most of you are aware of. But I’m in Texas… I was outside in shorts and a t-shirt and an hour later, it’s freezing outside! So needless to say, my body didn’t like the abrupt change, and neither did my ‘invisible symptoms’. One of those was my cognitive function aka Cog Fog.

Okay, back to the story. So I go to check out at Walmart… and seeing as I’m having a … ‘blah’ day, I was in comfy clothes, hair up and no make-up. The lady checking me out asked me how old I was, when she scanned the bottle of wine. I’m not kidding you… my mind went blank. Not that I didn’t know how old I was, but I had a birthday last month, so I said “I’m 26, no wait 27, sorry.”

The lady looked at me skeptically, like I’m underage and trying to buy wine. Lovely. So she asks me for my ID, inspects it, asks me my date of birth and I tell her. She then scans it, thinking it is a fake. She finally looks up at me and is like, “I’m sorry, but I have to make sure you are of age, seeing as you couldn’t recall your own age.”

Talk about kicking a horse while it’s down. I already felt stupid over the mess up; she didn’t have to rub the salt into a wound. Now, let me tell you, this happened with people behind me… and I hear them giggling and just staring at me.

Usually when something happens in public that causes someone to stare at me, or giggle quietly… I just brush it off or laugh at myself. But seeing as I was having a ‘blah’ day, where I just didn’t feel good at all, I didn’t have the mindset to just brush it off.

So in response to the clerk I said, “I know that’s not ‘normal’ but I have MS and its acting up and my brain is moving slowly.” Then I get the ‘pity’ look from the clerk, but this snob behind me snorts, yes actually snorts, and says, “How does a muscular disease mess with your brain??” So, obviously the snob thinks that MG (Myasthenia gravis) and MS are the same thing.

As I get my receipt, and my lovely bottle of wine, and am about to walk off, I turn and tell the lady, “At least I have a brain with the knowledge of common sense lady, look up MS before you make a snarky comment.” I then walked off fuming.

Now, like I said before, I don’t usually give people the satisfaction that they got to me, but I had a short fuse after everything I had been dealing with and my increased symptoms. I was also really embarrassed about the whole situation and this is actually the first time I’m speaking out about it to anyone.

So the purpose of my title… sometimes for me, and maybe for some of you, you have to tell someone to give you a minute to think about how you want to respond to something. Like you really need to think about a simple response… not so much ‘think’ about your answer, but how you are going to word it from your brain to mouth filter.

I do have friends with MS that I talk to on a daily basis, that understand what’s going on because it happens to them as well. Sometimes we understand each other so much, with the affects we deal with from MS, we can help finish the response or sentence for each other. When I have to “take a minute” to respond to things when I’m talking to someone with MS, I’m not embarrassed at all, because they “know” what I’m going through. But to have it happen in public in front of strangers is completely different.

So the purpose of this article is to let y’all know that you aren’t alone with how you feel or what you deal with on a day-to-day basis. Especially when you’re having a “red-light” kind of day.

My close family & friends understand what I’m going through when it takes me longer than necessary to form a response, but they don’t fully ‘get it’. I’ve come to realize that it’s actually sad that our community/society are so judgmental from the start of those surrounding them.

I also feel like being diagnosed with MS has been an eye opener for not only myself but my family as well. I know that kids are just curious and don’t mean to be rude with staring at people who are different, because they are just kids. I just hope their parents teach them not to judge someone based off of appearance.

Strangers have complimented me in the past about my kids. How they have such great manners and help strangers in need without being asked while out in public, without any judgment in their eyes or words. So that’s something my diagnosis has benefited, and I am thankful for that.

This slower process that I have to deal with can be a pain at times, but it’s something I’ve come to deal with for a while now and I’m still learning everyday on how to cope with the symptoms I’m faced with.


Ashley Ringstaff

Follow me on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter

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.


  • inspiration
    5 years ago

    That is so true when it comes to the mind and us people with MS. We all seem to need some time to think about things that should be otherwise easy to think about. Well, obviously it’s not all that simple. Sometimes things just do not click for me like I feel they should. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Ashley.

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    5 years ago

    I’m glad you enjoyed! It is tiring to have to fight your own body to do what you want it to, when you want it to…

  • Intimid18
    5 years ago

    I’m sure all MSers have had these moments. And I fully understand your not wanting to let others (strangers) know they were able to ‘get’ to you. As a guy with MS, I usually put on the poker face or show indifference to these situations when they arise. I have always been a fun-loving, outgoing and sarcastic person. However, since my MS diagnosis, sarcastic retorts don’t always come out of my mouth correctly, so I just keep them to myself and laugh internally. There will always be people who are indifferent to those of us who are slowed by a disease, especially one that doesn’t have apparent outward signs. Don’t let jerks get you down. And remember, you have the wine!

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    5 years ago

    Haha! I need to work on my “poker face” a bit I think…
    I’ve gotten better at not showing a reaction at times, but again… sometimes I just can’t keep my mouth shut… Oh well!
    And yes I do have the wine! Good point!

  • Kevin
    5 years ago

    Great story Ashley! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    5 years ago

    Edie – So sorry that you have to deal with this. It’s taken a bit to ‘train’ my husband on how NOT to react to certain things that MS does to me, or causes problems for me.

    Yes – I have that young look when I’m not wearing make-up & my hair is up lol I just turned 27 not too long ago, so who knows. I guess since there are 12 year old girls out there that look 18 now-a-days, it’s better safe than sorry?

    And No, you aren’t alone in any of this. And no one can fully “get it” until they have been diagnosed with it…

  • Poll