Fatigue and Insomnia – Community Feedback

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Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms among those with MS, but this fatigue is not the same as just being tired. And to make matters worse, it’s possible to be completely exhausted but unable to sleep. Our amazing contributor, Ashley Ringstaff, recently wrote an article called “Extremely Tired….but Can’t Sleep.” She says, “I can be completely exhausted where I can’t do a lot, I have no energy to even move all day, and when it’s finally time for bed, I will lay there hoping I will get some much needed sleep. But sometimes, that’s not the case.” As it turns out, many of our community members could relate to Ashley’s story. Here’s what they had to say:

I find that I’m always tired but have trouble sleeping at night

  • I need naps in the afternoon and then can’t fall asleep at night. I seem to wake up at 3:00am almost every night. I’m lucky if I sleep more than 4 hours at a time. It’s very frustrating, but at least I don’t have to get up for work.
  • This has been a new symptom for me in the last 12 months it is driving me crazy. I take trazadone for sleep, and it has worked for over 20 years but it doesn’t seem to work anymore. The summer also seems to make it worse. I am barely functioning during the day.
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 I haven’t slept more than a few hours a day for the past 6 months. I can feel the effect on my whole body.
  • MS has given me insomnia.
  • This happens to me all the time. I used to sleep 10 hours a night, anywhere, anytime! I miss that so much. But even getting some sleep now does not mean feeling rested.
  • This was me last night. I was tired but up until 5:00am, then slept until 9:30am. I’m exhausted but my body is ready to party.
  • 

‪This is me exactly! One reason I had to leave my job was because I was falling asleep around 3pm. At night my mind goes 100 miles per hour, so hard to shut it off but during the day I can’t remember what I was doing.
  • I’ve gone 7 days now with only 15 hours of sleep. In my opinion, this is this is the most irritating part of this disease.
  • People don’t believe me when I say how tired I am. They just don’t understand.

Even when I do sleep, I’m exhausted

  • I slept 10 hours last night and woke up exhausted. I spent the day riding around with a friend looking for yard sales. My body is so tired my legs don’t want to work now.
  • I think I sleep well for a while, and then I wake up. It takes hours for me to fall back to sleep, but I wake up every morning fatigued, and some mornings dizzy and disoriented.

I’ve found a few methods to help with my insomnia and fatigue

  • Meditating can help to “shut off” your brain when you’re trying to go to sleep.
  • I have tried multiple drugs, techniques, yoga, baths and meditation. I exercise frequently too, which helps when I am up for it.
  • I have had this on and off since being diagnosed in 2004. Some things that might help include taking a warm shower or bath a little before bed time or using a little lavender essential oil on your chest.
  • I only get about 5 hours a night if I’m lucky. I lay down at 11 30 but my brain won’t shut down. I read and listen to music to relax enough. Last night I had to take my lorazapam to finally fall asleep at 3am.
  • I’m lucky to get 5 hours of continuous sleep any night. I have done the sleep study. I lost significant weight some years ago, which resolved the sleep apnea. I take naps when the fatigue has taken its toll. I have accepted insomnia as my normal. I find it easier to work with it than to fight it. I do some of my best work at 0 Dark-Thirty AM.

What about you? Do you have trouble sleeping despite being tired? Share with us in the comments!

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August 2015 Artist of the Month: Celebrating the Work of Artists Affected by Multiple Sclerosis

MSAA is very proud to present our 2015 Art Showcase – celebrating the work of artists affected by MS.

We have received many wonderful submissions from across the country and are delighted to share their work and their stories with you. Please visit our online gallery to view all of the new submissions.

August Artist of the Month:
Jeffrey Waldron – Granby, MA

 Jeffrey Waldron - Male Hummingbird and Flower

About the Artist:
“My name is Jeffrey Waldron, I’m 53 years old, and I was diagnosed with MS in 2001 – although there were symptoms some years before that. I used to be a teacher (math & computers) and a scientist. Before MS, those were the best ways for me to contribute and make a difference. With the MS, however, I notice that my perceptive strengths have shifted from the quantitative to the qualitative. Today I find that I can share insights of value more effectively through art and visual recreations of the beauty I see in the world.”
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Be inspired – please send an online card featuring artwork by MS artist Jeffrey Waldron and spread awareness of MS and MSAA.

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July 2015 Artist of the Month: Celebrating the Work of Artists Affected by Multiple Sclerosis

MSAA is very proud to present our 2015 Art Showcase – celebrating the work of artists affected by MS.

We have received many wonderful submissions from across the country and are delighted to share their work and their stories with you. Please visit our online gallery to view all of the new submissions.

July Artist of the Month:
David Desjardins – Union, ME

 David Desjardins - Jody on the Beach

About the Artist:
“I think like most artists here, I am using my artwork to show that even though MS has slowed me down and has limited what I can do, I am proving to myself and others that I am still capable of creating something beautiful and unique. When I finish a project, and my framed painting is hung, I have such a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction – “I created that!”

I’m not as prolific a painter as I once was, but I find that concentrating and losing myself in my current painting is a great way to spend an afternoon while creating something of beauty.”
Read more about the Artist of the Month

Be inspired – please send an online card featuring artwork by MS artist David Desjardins and spread awareness of MS and MSAA.

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June 2015 Artist of the Month: Celebrating the Work of Artists Affected by Multiple Sclerosis

MSAA is very proud to present our 2015 Art Showcase – celebrating the work of artists affected by MS.

We have received many wonderful submissions from across the country and are delighted to share their work and their stories with you. Please visit our online gallery to view all of the new submissions.

June Artist of the Month:
Paula Breiner – Tamaqua, PA

 Paula Breiner - Sunny Disposition

About the Artist:
“I am an MS Survivor. No, I am not cured; it means I live day to day with this disease. I recently took a painting class to help strengthen my hand, to better my thinking and concentration, and because I haven’t drawn or painted since high school back in the 80’s.

I was diagnosed in 2006 with MS. Over the years I have developed more symptoms, and last year I was put on Rebif. I have a very loving and supportive husband whom I will celebrate our 30th anniversary with this November. We have two beautiful daughters and four amazing grandkids.”
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Be inspired – please send an online card featuring artwork by MS artist Paula Breiner and spread awareness of MS and MSAA.

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May 2015 Artist of the Month: Celebrating the Work of Artists Affected by Multiple Sclerosis

MSAA is very proud to present our 2015 Art Showcase – celebrating the work of artists affected by MS.

We have received many wonderful submissions from across the country and are delighted to share their work and their stories with you. Please visit our MS Art Showcase online gallery to view all of the new submissions.

May Artist of the Month:
Lisa Wright – Austin, TX

 Lisa Wright - Mum and Dad

About the Artist:
“MS can be a challenge. It saps your energy, dulls your wits and creativity. Sometimes it feels like an effort to pick up a brush or pencil. I was diagnosed in 2002 after a bout of optic neuritis that left me temporarily blind in one eye. It was enough to leave me wondering about what this meant for my future, and not just as an artist, but everything.

Fortunately, my MS had been discovered early. They put me on a therapy immediately and my flare-ups have been minimal. I am grateful to my doctors for their guidance, to my family and friends for their love and support, and to my husband – also my caregiver – for his patience. He keeps me focused if things become difficult.

And thanks to you, MSAA, for all the thorough information you provide. I’m part of the MS community, along with a lot of creative people just like me!”
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Be inspired – please send an online card featuring artwork by MS artist Lisa Wright and spread awareness of MS and MSAA.

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April 2015 Artist of the Month: Celebrating the Work of Artists Affected by Multiple Sclerosis

MSAA is very proud to present our 2015 Art Showcase – celebrating the work of artists affected by MS.

We have received many wonderful submissions from across the country and are delighted to share their work and their stories with you. Please visit our online gallery to view all of the new submissions.

April Artist of the Month:
Michelle Hotchkiss – Palmer, AK

 Michelle Hotchkiss - Wilberforce the Rabbit

About the Artist:
“I live on a small farm in a small town in Alaska with my husband who is very supportive and wonderful, a very large dog, and my dog-tolerant cat. I have two wonderful adult children and two of the cutest grandchildren ever born.

After 15 years, MS started to slow me down to where I am no longer able to lead the life I once had. This led me into looking for new hobbies that I could do in spite of the limitations. I tried scrapbooking but it was very expensive and I wasn’t satisfied coloring in stamps, so I decided to try drawing and found out I was pretty good at it. This led me deeper into drawing and painting and exploring different types of art such as mixed media and art journaling. I continue to explore other mediums and art styles and whatever makes me happy.

I am a big believer that hobbies are great for a person’s mental health and provide a sense of satisfaction and pleasure, which help counteract the things that MS has taken away.”
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Be inspired – please send an online card featuring artwork by MS artist Michelle Hotchkiss and spread awareness of MS and MSAA.

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March 2015 Artist of the Month: Celebrating the Work of Artists Affected by Multiple Sclerosis

All-New Artists for MSAA’s 2015 Art Showcase

MSAA Art Showcase 2015

As part of MS Awareness Month, MSAA is very proud to present our 2015 Art Showcase – celebrating the work of artists affected by MS.

We have received many wonderful submissions from across the country and are delighted to share their work and their stories with you. Please visit our online gallery to view all of the new submissions.

As in the past, we will highlight an Artist of the Month throughout the year and share their artwork and their story.

Presenting MSAA’s Artist of the Month for March

We are very excited to present the inaugural Artist of the Month for the 2015 Art Showcase…

March Artist of the Month:
Lisa Yeager – Thousand Oaks, CA

 Lisa Yeager - One Touch

About the Artist:
“In 1990, I was an art director, part-time college student, and more, when I encountered blurred vision and fatigue. I assumed it was due to my busy lifestyle. Three years later, the symptoms returned. Days before my wedding, I had my first MRI. This was the  wedding present that I wanted to return. Through tears, I replied that MS had picked the wrong girl!

Today, my family and I enjoy sailing, music, and traveling. I have taken martial arts and improv comedy plus saxophone lessons. I volunteer and visit others with MS. I live each day quoting another … ‘I may have MS but MS doesn’t have me.'”
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Be inspired – please send an online card featuring artwork by MS artist Lisa Yeager and spread awareness of MS and MSAA.

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February 2015 Artist of the Month: Celebrating the Work of Artists Affected by Multiple Sclerosis

MSAA’s Next Art Showcase for 2015

Thank you to all of the artists who were part of last year’s Art Showcase for artists with multiple sclerosis. The wonderful artwork and personal stories have been inspirational to many who have visited our online gallery and who have sent and received online art cards, celebrating the lives and talents of people living with MS.

MSAA will soon debut the 2015 Art Showcase in March as part of MS Awareness Month. So, get ready for some new artwork and stories to enjoy! As before, each month we will share with you an Artist of the Month with a new online card that you can send to friends and family to spread awareness of MS, while showcasing the wonderful talents displayed by artists with MS.

You still have time for one more look at last year’s collection! Then, get ready to enjoy the many new works to be featured in MSAA’s 2015 Art Showcase!

Presenting MSAA’s Artist of the Month for February

MSAA is very proud to present our 2014 Art Showcase – celebrating the work of artists affected by MS.

We have received many wonderful submissions from across the country and are delighted to share their work and their stories with you. Please visit our online gallery to view all of the new submissions.

February Artist of the Month:
Tammy Jennings – Monterey, CA

 Tammy Jennings - Flowers Pots 2

About the Artist:

“My name is Tammy Jennings and I live in picturesque Monterey, California. I am a 54-year-old, single woman, and I have been living with multiple sclerosis since 1996; I was 37 when diagnosed. I worked full-time until December 2006 when I had to “retire” as the unpleasant “side-effects” of my MS became too much to handle in a work environment.

As a result of having more free time and at the suggestion of my cousin, I started painting. It has been a wonderful outlet. The inspiration for the paintings submitted were spring and the beautiful flowers blooming everywhere.”

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Be inspired – please send an online card featuring artwork by MS artist Tammy Jennings and spread awareness of MS and MSAA.

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Monday is a Day of Service

by Kimberly Goodrich, CFRE, Senior Director of Development

In 1994, Congress declared the federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King to be a day of service. Each year, citizens all across the country honor Dr. King’s memory by participating in acts of service that benefit their community. This Monday, January 19th, we encourage you to help improve lives today for the multiple sclerosis community as your act of service.

MLK 2015

Start volunteering today!

Need some ideas to help the MS community?

1. Donate your time by creating a fundraising event to benefit MSAA.
2. Participate in Swim for MS.
3. Make a purchase from a company that supports charitable causes.
4. Make a monetary contribution.
5. Sign up for our Street Squad program and begin spreading the word about MSAA.
6. Perform random acts of kindness for someone in your community.

We would love to hear how you are spending your Monday. Let us know what fun activities you’ll be doing either here or on our Facebook page.

MLK Day infographic

*About Kimberly

I am the Senior Director of Development at MSAA and have worked in the nonprofit arena for over 15 years. I love reading, running, theatre and the Green Bay Packers. I volunteer with the Disabled American Veterans teaching outdoor sports like skiing and kayaking to injured veterans and find that I receive much more from them than I am able to give.

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January 2015 Artist of the Month: Celebrating the Work of Artists Affected by Multiple Sclerosis

MSAA is very proud to present our 2014 Art Showcase – celebrating the work of artists affected by MS.

We have received many wonderful submissions from across the country and are delighted to share their work and their stories with you. Please visit our online gallery to view all of the new submissions.

January Artist of the Month:
Bob Donner – Apple Valley, MN

 Bob Donner - Aurora Campfire

About the Artist:

“I think you have MS, the doctor said to my wife and me, and then promptly left the room. We stared at each other, wondering ‘What the heck is MS?’ Of course we’d heard of MS, but to us it was only a charitable cause with no personal connection. Since that day in June 2008 we have learned so much, probably way too much, about MS.

Being forced into ‘medical retirement’ gave me the time to discover I had an artistic side. Due to its constant availability, a computer screen became my canvas. I may be confined to a wheelchair, but my art has opened up a new world to me – a world of color and shapes and shading. It has forced me to look at everything with ‘new”eyes. As limiting as my disability is, I can’t help but be grateful for what it has given me.”

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Be inspired – please send an online card featuring artwork by MS artist Bob Donner and spread awareness of MS and MSAA.

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