I’ve Sprung a Leak

No, I’m not talking about THAT kind of leak, for starters. I just wanted to clarify that before I go any further. I needed to share what I’ve been dealing with a lot lately… and that’s my memory. It seems that I randomly just don’t remember certain things. Even things that are repetitive, like paying bills, it’s all completely slipping my mind. Hints the title, sprung a leak.

Memory issues can be very embarrassing at times. I try to laugh it off as much as possible, but I can’t always find the humor in certain scenarios. I mean, I’ve forgotten my age before… more than once… and it’s MY AGE! Like seriously? How do I draw a blank on that? Some people have probably thought I was severely intoxicated or something.

I’m known to have something pop in my head, which I need to remember. I usually add it to my ‘notes’ section on my phone… but at times, I’m like, “Oh, I’ll remember that.” Not five minutes later, and I’ve already forgotten what I was supposed to remember. I’ve started keeping a small notepad on me, so that I can write things down when need be… But recently, with the weather going from one extreme to another, my hands have been giving me issues… so it just depends on how I’m feeling. It never fails that my brain goes in to overdrive on things to remember, thoughts, article ideas, etc. It ALWAYS happens when I lay down to go to bed… Go figure right?

Setting up reminders

I’ve started adding all of my important dates, appointments, etc. into my phone with multiple reminders, right as my appointment is scheduled, or things of the sort. Or else, I won’t remember at all. Before I started doing this, I would get a Courtesy Reminder Call from my doctor’s office the evening before my appointment, and I would still forget by the morning. I’m sure I drive my husband crazy with this, always forgetting things. Thankfully, he has seen it happen first hand, and knows that I’m not just ‘being lazy’ or irresponsible, etc. If I miss paying a bill, and I get a call asking me what I haven’t paid, and if I can pay today… they have to ‘note’ a reason for the missed/late payment. I don’t know how many times they marked as, “SHE FORGOT”. Then I’m frustrated because they obviously have record of this, and are wondering why I’m always paying late, and that I’m just making excuses or whatever, but that’s not the case. I’m about to the point that I’m going to hand off the financial payments to my husband, because I just don’t feel like my brain can retain the information, ever.

I’ve been at a friend’s house hanging out, and I’ll go inside to refill my drink or something, and after five minutes, walk back outside not even knowing why I went inside. I will literally stand there and try to remember why I came in there, go through my thought process, what I was doing at the time, etc. Oh, by the way, I am on medication to help with my cognitive/attention issue… but it doesn’t seem to help at all times. I do much better around the 11am hour. However, come about 4pm, and it’s like my memory just goes to sleep till the next day.

It’s so frustrating

The worst part is that I don’t even have any one, physically, to be mad at. I try not to hold any negative emotions inside, but sometimes it’s just unavoidable. I remember that I used to be so good and remembering people’s numbers, birthdays, names, all of that. Now, if I meet new people, they have to keep repeating who they are to me, because I forget, especially in a large group setting. It’s almost like it’s ‘sensory overload’. Also, trying to remember things so often, brings on the MS Fatiguebig time.

Then there is the fact that if I get to know these new people and being to remember their names, if I don’t see them frequently, I will eventually forget their name, and I feel horrible about it. Before I was diagnosed, if someone forgot my name, that I knew and was around frequently, it hurt my feelings a bit. Now I’m on the other end of it, and it gives me a completely different perspective.

I’m sure I could write on this subject for days, but I’m going to stop it here. I will most likely revisit the subject in the future.

xoxo

Ashley Ringstaff

**Originally Published on MultipleSclerosis.net** 

Then vs. Now

Ever since I was diagnosed, I went through so many emotions going through different situations. There were situations that I experienced from a completely different perspective. For instance, I remember having a conversation with a friend, and they brought up that they went shopping, during Christmas time. So, instead of parking far away and walking, they used a relative’s Handicap Placard. At that time, I knew it was wrong but I didn’t feel that it was something that I needed to argue or get on to them about it.

If that happened now…

If that were to happen now, I’m almost positive that I would go off about the abuse of it. I’ve been in the situation before that I’ve really needed to use my handicap placard and there were no available spots. As I’m circling around the parking lot trying to find a spot, I see someone skipping (yes, skipping), to one of the cars that is parked in one of the handicapped spots, by themselves. Needless to say, I didn’t keep my mouth shut about the situation. First off, I’m not going to jump the gun, so I asked for the permit form. She laughed, thinking I was joking. This girl is probably about 17 years old. She said that it’s her grandma’s car; I asked if her grandmother was coming out, she laughed and said no. Then got in the car and left. I called the police department and reported it, because I was livid about it.

Social security disability

Another situation I want to talk about is in regards to receiving social security disability. I’ve come across some people that were approved for disability, in a short period of time, that I know personally. I had asked what they did for a living, and they said, “Oh I get disability.” I asked what for, they said for depression. The next statement, “Yeah, I get free money for being “depressed” when I’m actually fine.” They then laughed, at the fact that they got “free money” for a really serious issue.

That person was really an acquaintance, let me just put that out there. It’s not someone that I hung out with on a regular basis, etc. So, after I was diagnosed I had to go through so many different things, which eventually led to me filing for disability. It was a long battle, I was denied multiple times, and ended up having to get a lawyer and go to court about it. I was finally approved, but then found out that I could not receive any money from disability, because I didn’t have enough credits and too many assets.

It’s not funny

I ended up seeing this acquaintance again… we ended up having a conversation about my MS, and what I’ve had go through in order to get disability. This person laughed and said, well that sucks for you. Like it was funny… but I wasn’t laughing. I was very emotional about my struggle and I was vocal about how I felt about the humor they were finding in the situation, when there is nothing funny about it.

It’s crazy to think back about how I used to be, and what kind of person I am today. I get that as we get older, we mature and gain knowledge. I gained knowledge personally, going through my own battle. I know that not everyone learns things the same way, cause we’re all different. But I sit back sometimes and just really think over how much I’ve changed, and I can honestly say that it’s for the better. The journey, of course, has been hard and emotional and every so much more, but I truly believe that I am a better person now, than I was back then.

xoxo

Ashley Ringstaff

**Originally Published on MultipleSclerosis.net**

I’ve Got a Short Fuse

It’s hard for me to fully remember on how I “used to be” pre-diagnosis, but I don’t believe that I had as ‘short of a fuse’, so to say. This is just something that I’ve been trying to monitor and compare, to see what triggers me, etc. It’s almost like my anxiety and my anger go together at times. I used to be chilled out, not a whole lot bothered me… but back in the day, neither of my kids had the vocabulary that they do today. So who knows? Anyways, back to the point I wanted to make. I feel like I never had to deal with true anxiety issues, until after I was diagnosed.

It’s gotten worse over time

My husband has even pointed out that I used to not freak out over certain things before, that I do now. Maybe I was a bit of a pushover back then? Who knows? But I have been getting to that point where certain things throughout my day will build up and make me almost feel like I’m having a panic attack at times. Or it could lead me to feel very angry/agitated and I can’t get out of that certain mood easily. Let me also state that I am on medication for depression/anxiety, so that helps. But no medicine that I take makes things 100% better. I think a lot of the time I just feel so overwhelmed with everything that I have going on, then I’m asked to do something else on top of it all, and I just reach my exploding point. I feel bad afterwards, but I can’t help how I feel.

Anxiety

Now with the anxiety, it can build up or it can come out of nowhere also. I could be having a really good day, mood wise, then all of a sudden something just takes my anxiety level through the roof and I freak out. Then I get to thinking, “What else is this awful disease going to cause or make me feel? Haven’t I been through enough already?” Well sometimes, apparently not. I’ve had people tell me, “Once you hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up.” I also have said this in the past, but now I feel like…yeah, it can get worse. It can always get worse. Will it get better with time? Yes. But that doesn’t help me out with the here and now.

I also feel that when I reach my ‘limit’ of bull that I can handle at that time, I shut down. I distance myself; I become quiet… people will ask me what’s wrong. I just don’t have the energy to even tell them. Because I’m trying to calm myself down and have a ‘chill’ moment, without interruptions. Do you know how hard it is to have a ‘chill moment’ without interruptions when you have two young boys? VERY DIFFICULT. I have been trying to do things here and there to help me relax… go get a massage, mani/pedi, etc. Does that help for the time being? Yes, it does… but it’s not a long-term fix. When I reach that moment where my anxiety level is through the roof, it causes me to get snippy with people, which then can cause it’s own issues.

There’s no easy solution

I don’t want to have to take a medication to make me ‘mellow’. I want to be easy-going and less snippy about things, especially when it involves my husband and kids. It’s almost as if I want to be anxiety free, that I need to live in a sound proof bubble, and that’s just not possible. I’ve been trying to find different ways to help me out with this, but at times, like now, I feel like there is no helping the matter. I’m at a loss of what to do, how to handle things, how to move forward, because I’m so emotionally drained from everything that led me to this point. I’m not trying to be depressing about this, or anything like that. I’m just venting out my issue with anxiety and my MS, along with daily life. I know that I usually write about things in a sarcastic way, with a sense of humor. But I just can’t find the humor in this situation at this time.

So for those of you have gone through what I’m going through, or something similar, know that you aren’t alone. Another good read about this issue by Lisa Emrich can be read by clicking here.

Till next time!

xoxo

Ashley Ringstaff

**Originally Published on MultipleSclerosis.net**

Common Sense…MIA

You’ve heard the saying before, “I wish common sense was a bit more common.” If you haven’t, where have you been? Just kidding… Anyways, I have used the above statement more times than I count, and I still do till this day. I wished more people would use their ‘common sense’ when it comes to discussing my MS, etc. But that’s not what I want to touch base on right now.

Today, I want to discuss the fact that at times, I seem to lose my own common sense. Yep, total hypocrite right here, but I don’t seem to have my ‘common sense’ at times due to Cog-Fog aka Cognitive Impairment. Let me just give you an example… I was helping make dinner the other night… and I was making scalloped potatoes, out of box (don’t judge me lol). Well I was at a friend’s house that we have dinner with at least once a week. I’m going through the measuring cups… he comes in (my husband’s best friend) and I’m like do you not have a 2/3 measuring cup? He comes over to where I am, and sees that I have the 1/3 measuring cup in my hand. He then says, just fill that up twice. He said this completely straight faced, by the way, so props to him for that. Because I sat there staring at the cup… because how did I not get that? Before he came in, I was about to Google it! So I set the cup down, and just start laughing at myself, because what else could I do?

Is it upsetting that the most common things slip my mind, yes. But I’ve gotten to the point that I try to laugh it off, instead of getting upset about it. Now, most the people I hang around on a regular basis knows about my MS and the struggles I face. So I don’t have to deal with many snarky comments, as much as I used to. I even deal with this issue when I’m sitting down helping my kids with their homework. My kids are in 2nd and 5th grade, mind you. I sit there sometimes and wonder when all this stuff I learned in Middle School, began in Elementary these days. But I try really hard to help them when needed. Just because I Google about a certain thing when they aren’t looking… I’m at least trying to help them!

I pretty sure I covered a lot about this in one of my recent blogs, I’ve Sprung a Leak… and this is in relation to it, but not exactly.

The weird thing is, when I’m having a hard time cognitively, I can feel it coming on… I’m fatigued & confused about everything that’s going on during that time. Now, when I seem to be having these ‘common sense disappearing’ acts, it’s completely out of nowhere. Like how I was helping making the side for dinner, I had done math to add up measurements for a different side, with complete ease. But for some random reason, I couldn’t come up with how to get 2/3 cup from what I had in front of me.

Now, my husband says that at times, it seems like I do things without thinking first. So… I’m used to speaking before thinking it through in my head, and that can get awkward at times… but thinking before doing, the most simple task at times, I’ve thought about it, I have a plan in my head what I’m gonna do. For some reason though, I tend to do the complete opposite of what is supposed to be done. I mean, follow a direction… that’s common sense. We’ve been taught that from a very early age. But do I follow the directions even when I begin the task? Nope. My MS just decides it doesn’t like my ‘plan of action’ and decides to change it all up on me.

It sort of reminds me of that commercial for insurance, with the old fisherman dangling a dollar and saying, “Oh! You almost got it!” That’s how I feel at times. I know it frustrates my husband at times, when I don’t do things that are so easy. He understands y’all, let me just say that right now. But I can’t really blame him for getting annoyed about me not being able to do something to simple. He has told me in the past that he wasn’t frustrated with me, per se, but just seeing what I’m going through. I got the ‘huff’ of frustration… so I took it personally. But anyways… we won’t get into that at the moment.

So what about everyone else? Am I making sense? Do you feel like you’re having a “Good MS Day”, but still seem to not be able to grasp the simplest thing aka common sense? Did your common sense up and vacate the building?

 That’s all for now… it’s a Friday, and I really need to unwind with an adult beverage!

xoxo

Ashley Ringstaff

**Originally Published on MultipleSclerosis.net**

You are NOT Alone

Since I’ve been writing for a few years… I have had so many people reach out to me. As many of you know from my previous articles, I tend to be a bit sarcastic and a big sense of humor. So I wanted to touch base on the fact that what I’ve gone through and wrote about, I’ve had many people reach out to me.

You are not alone

So my point is to let you know that whatever you’re going through, you aren’t alone. I know that many people feel like they are isolated… that you’re alone, and no one understands what you’re going through… or people don’t care that you’re going through with it. This is me letting you know that you aren’t alone. I’m not going to sit here and tell you names of people that have reached out to me, but I am going to tell you that 100’s of people have come to me saying that they are thankful that they now know they aren’t alone.

I remember that when I was first diagnosed, I turned into a hermit. I was scared and depressed. I felt like no one knew what I was going through. I didn’t want to hear what anyone had to say. I didn’t care what anyone had to say to me, or any kind of advice they were trying to give. Because all I was finding online were scary. I walked into the local meeting and walked right back out, because no one there was my age and they were all using assistive devices. Being newly diagnosed, that is NOT something I wanted to see.

Then there are the symptoms that no one really likes to talk about, because they’re embarrassing. But how else are we supposed to prepare for them? I mean I sneezed one time and peed a little bit. (TMI, I know). I was in my mid 20’s at the time, and there was no one I knew that could relate to me in anyway, so I just became angry.

Over the years I’ve come to realize that we aren’t as alone as we think. There are so many people out there that go through whatever we might be going through at the time; we just don’t even know it. I’ve now spoken to so many different people that have MS. All different age groups, genders, geographic area… you name it, there is a complete difference in our backgrounds. First off we have Multiple Sclerosis in common. Secondly, we have symptoms in common. I’ve had people message me saying I took the words out of their mouth.

Connect with others

Check out the discussion forum on MultipleSclerosis.net and there will be so many different topics, you never even thought about. One of the good things about communicating with others online is that you are behind your computer. You can be anonymous, and not worry about “coming out” to someone in your local community. I’m very forward when it comes to me having MS and what I go through on a daily basis. However, I know that not everyone is as forthcoming as I am. But for all of you out there living with this illness, I just wanted to reassure each and every one of you, that no matter what you’re going through, you are NOT alone.

xoxo

Ashley Ringstaff

**Originally Published on MultipleSclerosis.net**

I Just Need to Vent

I know that I’ve said in the past, that I don’t want anyone’s pity. By saying that, it also doesn’t mean that that I don’t ever need to vent. Again, I still do NOT want your pity, just someone to listen to me, to understand and just offer some comfort at times. This all came about because recently I had my routine MRI done and it came back that I had a new/active lesion. Now, I haven’t had a new/active lesion in over two years, so I really wasn’t prepared for the news that came.

Emotional overload

I can tell you that I was angry and upset, and I couldn’t tell you which emotion I was feeling more than the other, because it was just a bit chaotic, in my head. I go to see my neurologist soon, so I’m looking forward to discussing everything that is going on, and make a game plan, if we need to change anything.

There is a difference between pity and support

So back to the subject at hand… I feel that with in the past, I’ve told friends and family, that I don’t want their pity; I was being 100% honest. However, there is a different between someone showing me pity and someone just being supportive. Those times that I need to vent, please feel free to give me your opinion on the subject, maybe show me a different perspective, but PLEASE I’M BEGGING YOU, don’t try and TELL me to do something. Why? Because I’m hard headed, for one. Another reason, because it always has something to do with diet/exercise/supplement/vitamin, etc.

Don’t keep things bottled up

I’m not trying to be rude by what I just stated, I’m just trying to be honest. Because, if I’m needing to vent, that means that something is upsetting me, so my emotions are off balance and there is no telling how I will ‘take’ someone ‘telling’ me to do something. I honestly think that once a week (minimum) that my best friend and I vent to each other. Mind you she has MS also, so it’s not your ‘regular relationship’, etc. However, we have found it beneficial to vent, when needed, instead of bottling it all up. I’ve bottled it all up before, and all my emotions exploded at once and I said things that I didn’t mean, and I took it out on those closest to me and that wasn’t fair at all.

Let me just share this little bit of info with you… I didn’t just ‘decide’ to start ‘blogging’ out of nowhere. I was writing down my thoughts and feelings, just to get the information off my shoulders and just put it out there, in some form. I had started blogging, because I found that I could post from anywhere… computer/phone, etc. So that I always had access to it, and so that it could also form a timeline of how I was doing/feeling.

I ended up chatting online with a support group, in a chat room, and we were giving out tips, so I shared mine. Some of my close friends were in the chat room, and asked to read what I was writing, and the rest is history.

So thank you, for everyone who reads all my vents/articles

xoxo

Ashley Ringstaff

**Originally Published on MultipleSclerosis.net**

Isolation & MS

I know that I have probably touched base on this in the past, as many others most likely have… but I wanted to bring up the issue of Isolation & MS. I feel that this should be categorized as a ‘symptom’ of MS, because it can be very common after being diagnosed with MS.

When I was first diagnosed and learned about the disease, I started to feel isolated… not that I was in reality, but I had some people here and there just distancing themselves from me. So I then started to push people away, because it’s always easier to leave than be left, for me at least.

But my thing is, when I was reading over all the material…. What to expect, what symptoms came with an MS diagnosis, it didn’t prepare me for the isolation I felt, which worsened by depression.

A 12-Step Program for being diagnosed

I almost feel like there is a ’12 step program’ of being diagnosed, in a way. I dealt with steps of denial, anger, depression, acceptance, etc. Except for the fact that we have no control over the whole relapse issue. Well we do in a way, but not COMPLETE control. It should also be known that isolation can come and go… just like MS Symptoms.

One of the big differences in isolation compared to other MS symptoms is that there is no possible treatment for it, at least, not directly. It’s not something that people like to bring up, think about, or even speak to their doctor about… I didn’t speak to my doctor about it at first because I didn’t feel that it was something that was ‘important’ in regards to my illness and managing it. I was wrong.

Easier said than done

Some people would say, well if you’re isolated, talk more… or socialize more… Now let me just say that it’s easier said than done. I may want to talk more and socialize more, but I won’t. Like when I was first diagnosed, I knew that I needed to socialize and really try and bring myself out of the isolation, but I was scared. I didn’t know whom I could socialize with, with the topics that I wanted to discuss.

Isolation is unpredictable

Isolation isn’t something that can be fixed and then never return. It’s just like MS… there is no predicting it. It is present throughout different times/stages of your illness, not just when you’re first diagnosed. For instance, when I’ve relapsed… I’ve gone back to isolation. Yes, I purposefully isolated myself. Some people have asked me why, and it’s because for me, at the time, it was safer. I was safer to isolate myself than to be judged, looked at differently, or just have people talk about me behind my back.

I saw this quote a long time ago, and I wanted to share, because it’s a bit fitting for how I have felt at different stages in life since my diagnosis. It reads

“Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.” ~Socrates

So if you are feeling isolated, just know that you aren’t alone. Do we cause the isolation on our at times, yes, but that’s most likely because we’ve been burned before, and want to prevent it from happening again. Or maybe were making ourselves isolated due to depression, anxiety, stress… there are many reasons on why I have isolated myself in the past, and I’m sure there are other reasons for anyone else who has done it before.

I don’t feel like it’s a bad thing to kind of go on a ‘mental vacation’ for a night, etc. but be careful on how far you isolate yourself and for how long… because you don’t want to push people away that really truly care about you.

Until next time…

xoxo

Ashley Ringstaff

**Originally Published on MultipleSclerosis.net**

My Emotions Are Broken?

Okay, so my emotions aren’t actually ‘broken’, but I feel that they don’t work… normally, if that makes sense. I have taken some time to really think about this, and look back at my reaction to certain things/situations. And I just feel that sometimes, I don’t respond with the right ‘emotion’ at the right time.

The “wrong” emotional reaction

For instance, if someone is mad at me… I don’t react the way I would have say … 10 years ago. I just seem to have no emotional response to the situation. And that can be a problem, cause then people think I don’t care about what they’re voicing to me, but that’s not it at all. There are times, that I feel the ‘right’ emotion, but I don’t show the emotion. It’s like my brain can’t compute how I’m feeling to really show through my actions/words.

I don’t know if this is just me, but it’s something that I wanted to bring up for a while now. And no, I’m not trying to ‘blame’ this on my MS… cause for the longest time I felt like something was just wrong with me… until I discussed with my doctor. He stated that MS could affect emotional behavior.

Now, let me just point out that my emotions aren’t always broken… but just at certain times it seems. And it’s not something that I can predict when it will happen. I’ve never been a very ‘emotional’ person to begin with, by the way. I had the mentality that crying was a show of weakness growing up, so I didn’t do it. But I then learned that it’s okay to be emotional, and it doesn’t make you weak.

My emotional response isn’t predictable

It’s just so weird… I will get in an argument with my husband (because no relationship is perfect) and there are times that I will show emotion during the argument and we hash it out, etc. But then there are the times that we argue, and I sit there, listening to what he is saying and it appears as if I’m ‘bored’, or not paying attention. And I can’t seem to get a hold of it to not make it seem that way. I have been able to repeat everything back to him that he said, and do it with no emotion, almost like I’m reading it off a script.

I guess I just come off with an attitude most the time of “I don’t care” when that’s not always the truth… I just get so frustrated with how my mind won’t let me compute my emotions then I get angry at myself, not the person or situation. It’s almost like being locked up and being held prisoner inside your own head. Same thing applies with the whole “broken brain filter” or “cog-fog” issue.

If you really think about it, MS is inside our nervous system, so we’re being held back from doing certain things, accomplishing certain tasks, etc. But no one is physically holding us back, or keeping us locked down. It’s our heads, nervous system, whatever you want to refer to it as.

There was this video that I saw a while ago that was made for MS Awareness, that I felt really fit what I’m talking about right now. I have included it below… Now, let me just say that the video is kind of scary for some, and doesn’t really sit well with some… but it’s just want I’m trying to communicate in regards to my thoughts, emotions, etc. literally being stuck and not able to communicate them properly.

“Trapped”

So, while I was looking for the video I posted above, I came across a series from MS Society of Australia called “Seeing MS”. This specific video is called “Seeing MS – EXPOSING THE INVISIBLE DISEASE”.

I’m definitely going to look into the whole series, but I always like sharing things I find online, and sharing them with my family and friends, and all of you.

That’s all for now. I hope everyone is having a wonderful New Year thus far.

xoxo

Ashley Ringstaff

**Originally published on MultipleSclerosis.net** 

My Definition of ‘I’m Fine’

I'm fine. Save me.

I know that most of you have said “I’m fine” in the past, when you really weren’t… you hear other MS’ers saying it, when you know they aren’t… It’s just something that I frequently say… and I’m going to try and ‘define’ on what it means when I say, “I’m fine”, when I’m really not.

Well for one, when I hear the statement, “I’m Fine”, it makes me think of this image I saw that I want to get in a tattoo… It shows the “I’m Fine” writing, and then you flip it over… and it reads “Save Me”.

What do I really mean when I say “I’m fine”?

So what do I mean, and maybe others with MS too… what does it mean when we say “I’m Fine”? Well for me, it just seems like it’s easier to say I’m fine, rather than explain everything that is wrong. Now that is not be being overly negative or exaggerating… because let me tell you, if I described to someone everything that was wrong, when it was happening, I would never stop talking. And I already talk a lot as it is (See I got jokes).

It's hurts, but it's okay.. I'm used to it.

So why don’t we explain how we’re really feeling, when someone genuinely wants to know? Please don’t feel like I’m brushing you off by answering I’m fine, for starters. But to try and explain it… I already feeleverything I’m going through because of my MS, I don’t want to have to describe it all the time. I explained this to one of my friends recently… and she sent this to me…

She basically stated that, this is what she feels it is like for me… just by seeing what I’ve gone through over the years. I can’t remember the last day where I went the WHOLE day without feeling any pain, or dealing with ANY symptoms. The only reprieve I get from the symptoms unfortunately is by medication to help treat my symptoms. But who wants to take medicine all the time? Not me… unlike what SOME people like to assume… that I am a pill popper. Which couldn’t be further from the truth.

So easily put, I answer with “I’m Fine” just so I don’t have to describe and listen to myself list off everything that is wrong. I don’t like to dwell on the things I cannot change, and I don’t like to be a downer, if you couldn’t tell from my heavily sarcastic posts in the past. But I do have my moments where I’m being blunt and honest, and I’m not looking for attention, or pity, I’m just explaining the facts.

Sometimes it’s just easier

Sometimes it’s easier to say I’m Fine, rather than explain what’s wrong… then have to explain in depth about each certain thing, because the person isn’t familiar with MS, the symptoms, etc. It’s tiring, and I’m already battling fatigue as it is.

So for the honest truth, that I myself don’t like to admit a whole lot… is that I say “I’m Fine” because it can be extremely depressing for me to sit there and think about everything that is wrong… I don’t want to think about it. Kind of like out of sight out of mind.. This is my ‘normal’ now… This is my everyday. You just grow accustomed to the things you cannot change and grow from it and move on and do the best you are able to do.

Did I even make any sense just now? Or am I just rambling? Oh well, you probably get what I mean.

Xoxo

Ashley Ringstaff

**Originally Published on MultipleSclerosis.net** 

What Were We Talking About?

Have you ever heard of people ‘zoning out’ or doing it yourself? I’ve done it a lot, particularly when I’m not interested in what’s being said. However, ever since my diagnosis, it seems to happen much more frequently than before; and I’m not even zoning out on purpose!

I get so frustrated with myself, because I’ll ask a question, or be talking about something with a friend or co-worker, then my mind just draws a blank. It’s like I see the words you are speaking, I can hear the noise you’re making, but my brain is not computing what your words are saying/meaning and computing in my brain.

Feeling guilty

I feel so bad, when I am having a conversation, and I have to ask people to repeat themselves. This can also be because I’ve lost some hearing, but it’s also because my brain is blocking the information to compute in my brain.

I know that some people have been put off when this has happened with me. Then I feel bad… and try and explain… but it’s hard to explain, unless you actually KNOW what I’m going through.

This can also happen when I’m thinking about something… working on something… etc. I can read an article online, word for word, and I will have absolutely NO idea what I just read. This tends to happen more frequently if I’m tired, it’s at the end of the day, etc.

Forgetting things almost instantly

There are also times that I will be engaged in a conversation, listening and responding… 10 minutes later, I sometimes completely forgot what we talked about. My husband has noticed this because we will talk about something, then like an hour later, I’ll bring it up to him… and he just looks at me weird, then informs me that we just talked about all this not even an hour ago.

I think he finally understands that it’s not on purpose. I think this issue can really be classified as memory issues and cognitive function… sort of a mixture. Let me tell you, where I work full-time, I have to remember mileage on an odometer of a vehicle at times. For example… I went out to a vehicle, checked the odometer and by the time I got inside to my computer I completely forgot the numbers. Mind you, I repeated them in my head the entire walk back to my desk. So I had to go back and do it again… and it happened again! So I ended up taking a picture of the odometer on my third trip, with my phone, so that I could have it plain as day in front of me.

So let me just issue a BIG apology to anyone that I’ve spoken to in the past, that I’ve had multiple conversations with about the SAME EXACT THING… I know I’m a broken record at times, but you will have to excuse my brain, it likes to go on vacations with out me, it appears.

I can tell that me asking people to repeat themselves, sometimes more than once… or bringing up things to them.. more than once, it can be exasperating to some… trust me, it’s exasperating for me as well, once I realize that we’re having a repeat conversation… I’m also embarrassed about it at times, to be honest.

xoxo

Ashley Ringstaff

 

Originally Published on MultipleSclerosis.net