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**

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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’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**