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**