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‘PTmsD?’ My post-traumatic MS disorder

I came in to this MS world kicking and screaming a mere 6 months ago and have already had a relapse. I am saddened at the instant change in my life, my relationships, my thinking, my everything. I am also guilt-ridden for feeling envious of those MSers who adorn the covers of magazines having just ran a marathon, or those that walk unassisted, or those that hold on to their full-time jobs and juggle families.

I’m afraid of medication side-effects yet I’m a critical care nurse. I struggle with maintaining dosing myself with my DMD as my confidence in their effectiveness versus my feeling lousy dwindles.

I have ongoing anxiety of the relapse waiting around the corner. I imagine time will help with this, but every new feeling, new ache, every intermittent mild symptom–they all leave me traumatized. Oversensitivity to sounds has left me jumpy at sudden noises like a car horn, as well as causing a brain jam when my kids are too loud.

I look forward to a time when my ‘PTmsD’ is under control…under MY control. For now I am ruled by its long-arm of fatigue, cog-fog, weakness, and the list goes on.

I mourn the loss of my self, as my identity was always a nurse and educator. Coping is my new job. Full-time. No benefits—yet.

I challenge my ‘PTmsD’ to keep up once the tables are turned. I will heed the advice for myself that I’ve given so many times to families: stay strong, stay focused. Make time your best friend, not your enemy.

I am the face of MS – I am the face of my MS – I am the face of me.

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.


  • Cathie
    5 years ago

    Andrea, my heart goes out to you. Don’t let the MS define who you are. I fought using any MS drugs but got smart finally 13 years ago. I used an injection medication for 11 years then switched to oral. I continue to be in remission, yes I do have some issues from time to time but medication and my seep faith in God get me through each day.

  • skcullers
    5 years ago

    I am so sad for you. 25 years later I still struggle with all your reactions sorry to say. I m mobile though need a walker for balance and a scooter for distances . I workout in a pool every other day and in the water feel normal . Anxiety is a problem because we have almost schizo bodies. Feel my lesson to learn in this life is to stay centered and live in the good moments but afraid I am a very SLOW learner ! Be gentle with yourself.

  • Andrea author
    5 years ago

    I keep waiting for my ‘aha’ moment when I can say, “Ok, I’m coping now.” I work at it every day…thank you!

  • Nicki
    5 years ago

    You wrote this so well, I can relate word for word. Thank you for putting your experience out there for us to read – I feel so much less alone for reading it.

  • Andrea author
    5 years ago

    I’m glad…feeling alone is horrible. I have tons of family support, yet it’s hard not to feel isolated. I try not to complain, yet every moment of every day is about MS. Bleh…

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