Jake and I understand multiple sclerosis and just how little control we have over this disease. We know it in our hearts and minds. We’ve talked about it and we’ve written about it. Intellectually speaking, we get it.
That doesn’t stop MS from occasionally playing mind games in our house. Even as we speak the words, we know how meaningless they are.
“Don’t worry, I’ll rally before then.”
“You’d better hurry up and get better, we’ve got that trip coming up.”
“I’m sure I’ll be getting better now... I’ve got so much to do next week.”
I can’t hurry the process along; I can’t force myself to get better. We are keenly aware that MS has no conscience. It doesn’t know or care about our schedules, our ambitions, or our desires. A party, a trip, or a night out have no bearing on the behavior of the beast.
That’s the thing about MS. Because of the ebb and flow of symptoms, we are teased into trying to gain control.
“If symptoms come and go, maybe there is something I can do to change the pattern. Maybe I can will myself to get better just for the wedding... I can collapse later!”
Nice idea, but that is simply not the case. What’s going on within the central nervous system has nothing to do with how hard we try. Now I will say that I have felt... what I am guessing to be... an adrenaline rush during certain events.
When something very exciting is happening to me, such as one of the kids coming in for a visit, I get a surge of energy. If I am doing very poorly at the time, I come up a slight notch. If I am doing fairly well, I really improve. Unfortunately, there is a time limit on the surge. When the initial rush fades, I come crashing back down.
One symptom untouched by the rush is fatigue. When that overwhelming, mind-numbing type of fatigue hits, I am down for the count, no matter how excited I am. I’ve been known to fall asleep while sitting up in a chair during my son’s visit. Fortunately, he understands that it is a physical problem and does not take it personally.
It seems to be a theme repeated over and over again in the lives of people living with MS. What we understand intellectually doesn’t always translate emotionally.
We keep trying to reason with the unreasonable. The MS Mind Games just keep playing...
Published On: September 24, 2008