One long, exhausting day…. That’s all it takes to throw my life and health off track. When this happens it’s not even an exhaustion I can explain. And, it doesn’t just throw me off physically either. It throws my mind and emotions for a loop as well. It has always amazed me how one crazy day can throw me off for weeks. After I’ve overdone it I can always tell because number one, my energy becomes almost nonexistent. Some days I have to force myself to get up and do my daily duties as a wife and a mom. The second sign for me when I’ve overdone it is the mood swings. My emotions will be all over the place, and my patience worn thin. I feel so sorry for my boys when this happens. I don’t mean for them to have to suffer the brunt end of it. I become so hormonal and I’m either way up or I’m way down. The little things that I normally don’t let cause me too much anxiety will begin to weigh heavy on my heart and mind. I will worry non-stop about things I normally let go of. Sometimes, I sadly end up taking it out on my loved ones in the process, as well.
You don’t know you’ve done it until it’s too late
The saddest part of overdoing it is it’s as if you don’t know you’ve done it until it’s too late. And then your mind and body end up paying the price. The exhaustion comes in waves and basically slaps you in the face. Sometimes I feel like I can literally feel the bags under my eyes heavy with fatigue. It’s a level of fatigue you can’t explain to your loved ones unless they’ve been there themselves. It feels debilitating to be that tired. My body will feel sick and miserable. You know when people are sick, and they say they feel like they’ve been hit by a truck? That’s exactly how it feels to have overdone it. After nights of struggling to fall asleep because my mind refuses to shut off, I wake up feeling drugged. Some mornings I can barely open my eyes because they feel so heavy. The heaviness feels like a weight under your eyelids, and no matter how much you want to open them, it almost feels impossible. Days when I wake up like that, I wake up feeling discouraged and weak because I know that’s only a tell-tale sign of what the day ahead of me holds. Then, on top of the dreadful fatigue and roller coaster of emotional issues, the physical symptoms may then return. For me, that means tremors and pain, and sometimes the pins and needles in my feet. I also get brain fog and tend to stutter when I’m overly tired. It’s hard, and to put it mildly, the days after I overdo it suck. Sometimes, the only way in managing MS after you overdo it feels like learning to survive it.
Learning to cope with the bad days
I am a young wife, and a mom to an extremely energetic one and half year old. Times after I overdo it, I can’t learn to survive, I HAVE TO. My family needs me, especially my little one. I’ve had to learn to cope with the bad days, and how to do it well. Here are a few suggestions I have for others to learn how to cope after overdoing it as well:
- Learn to take the time to recover. I wish I could just say-don’t overdo it in the first place, but that’s a lot easier said than done. So, my next tip is after this happens, try your best to do the following-if it doesn’t have to be done right away, then let it go. There will always be those dishes to wash and laundry to be done. However, there is only ONE YOU. Let the laundry and the dishes go for the next hour or two and give your body the rest it so desperately needs. Spread out family and friend obligations, also, if need be. Those who love you will understand and take a rain check. I think I listed these things first, because they are some of the things I struggle with the most. I am a go getter and someone who cannot truly relax until I know I have everything I need to do completely finished. But, it’s so important for our bodies that when we hit these types of walls, we rest. It’s huge that we take time off, reschedule plans and give our bodies time to recover. Otherwise, things will only get worse.
- Lean on your loved ones. I recently wrote another article about how it’s ok to ask for help. After we’ve overdone it is the most important time to do is just this. Educate your friends and family on MS so that in times like these they know when to jump in and help. Ask for help with day to day tasks and ask for some time alone so that you can relax and recuperate. Your mind and your body will thank you. In fact, I’m sure your friends and family will thank you also!
- Don’t Stress. This is another one of those easier said than done things for me. When I’m feeling my worst is when I tend to stress the most. It’s difficult too, because stress is also a trigger for those with MS. You may not be able to learn not to stress, but learning how to react in stressful situations can help. Things like yoga and meditation are wonderful in helping learn to control the stressors in our lives.
- Remember what you’re thankful for. It always helps me when I feel dragged down by MS to count my blessings. Making an effort to stay positive helps me more than anything. Focus on all of the things you have and all that you can do instead of all that you can’t.
- Take care of yourself. When we don’t take care of ourselves, we are affected more than the average person. It’s also times when we forget to take care of ourselves that we tend to overdo it once again. Do your best to eat healthy, drink more water, exercise, and sleep well. I know a lot of days these things are the last thing on our minds. It is for me, at least. But, if we make the extra effort to do these things in the beginning than we function better overall in the end.
These are just a few of my tips to you. Take it, or leave it! 😉 I also wanted to write them down as a permanent reminder to myself to do these things when I’ve overdone it as well. Some days are harder than others, but with the right amount of positivity, rest and self-care we can do anything!