MS-related fatigue is not “regular” fatigue, but it’s hard to help people who don’t have MS understand what this type of fatigue is really like. We recently shared an article by one of our community experts outlining some things others may not know about having MS-related fatigue. So many of our community members shared their feelings with us, so we wanted to capture some of their thoughts on what they wish others understood. Here’s what they had to say.
Wishing Others Would Simply Understand
“I know I work, and by the time I get off, my body doesn’t want to move, much less think. I can be somewhere and be just as lost because of the fatigue. I feel your pain that if you don’t have MS you don’t understand”
“Thank you so many times over. I started crying reading this. I have tried so many times to explain the difference between being tired and fatigue, I feel to no avail. My fiancé tries to understand but gets so frustrated with me when all I want to do is sleep”
“I have had this issue since my diagnosis, and like you said, when I say I am tired, people tend to go straight to their own tiredness and talk straight over me if I want to explain”
Cognitive Fog Troubles
“I am one of those who still work, but the stress of the job causes brain fog and cognitive issues and mental exhaustion. It’s not that I can’t do my job, it just takes me longer”
“More and more it’s not just physical fatigue, but a mental fatigue as well. My once very capable brain slows down to a point that the simplest math task or organization plan has to be figured over and over again until I’m annoyed and frustrated with myself”
“Spot on! I often find my brain sending me messages to give up. I can compare it to the feeling of sprinting until you can’t sprint any longer. Your brain tells you to stop, give up. The same is true for me with MS. My brain is telling me to give up”
Frustrations, Life Changes, and Never Giving Up Hope
“I always get the, ‘you’re just getting older.’ Hello!! I’m 34, how’s that old? Isn’t that like the prime of your life? People run marathons well into their 50’s!”
“On day after working, my then 10-year old son asked me to play a board game, I replied, ‘I’m too tired.’ He shot back, ‘mom you’re always too tired.’ That broke my heart”
“I can feel great, go out to dinner, order my food, and by the time it gets served, I’m so fatigued I don’t feel like picking up my fork to eat”
“You have the fatigue, but you still try to do things. It takes twice as long, since you drop things or are off balance. This leads to frustration, then anxiety, and full-blown stress. And your mind keeps playing the tune, ‘I wish I could feel good for just one single day.’ And to top it all off, it’s a beautiful day and you just want to enjoy it. The day in the life of a person living with MS”
“Remember that MS is not what defines us. We can still have a good life if we remain positive and keep trying. We CAN NOT let it get us down. We are all better than that. And for me, I try to remember that I am not in this alone, and sometimes that helps me get through the day… In between naps!”
Thanks to our community for your awesome responses. Keep sharing with us, and with each other, how you handle MS-related fatigue, and what you wish others knew about your struggles!