War is Heck

By Doug Ankerman

You, with multiple sclerosis, fall-in, and listen up! You’ve got a battle to win. It’s time to step up and fight!

As you know stress is your enemy in this war. Your silent, invisible, debilitating nemesis.

Now, stress is difficult to avert but identifying situations causing stress can be helpful to remaining calm.

So here is my list of stress-causing events, objects and places to avoid in the life of every MSer…

Throw rugs
Sitting too long
Standing too long
Noisy crowds
Stairs without handrails
Picking up dropped change
Child-proof pill bottles
Replacing batteries in the remote
Finding the fresh batteries
Opening chip bag
Too small print
Loud TV/music
Wet floors
Button-down shirts
Button-fly jeans (who’s brilliant idea was this?)
Buttons, period

Sidewalk cracks
Too frequent MRIs
Trimming your toenails
Heat and humidity
Restrooms out of order (AND toilet paper)
Leg spasms at bedtime
Long car rides
Getting out of car (after the above)
Shoes that come untied
Walking in tall grass
Automatic doors that close too quickly
Narrow store aisles
Searching for Tupperware lids
Door thresholds
Spam (emails, not the breakfast meat)
Spam (the breakfast meat)
Reading your messy handwriting

And finally…..

Lists that are entirely too long

Soldier, this is war against stress. Your MS enemy is tough but so are you.

You can’t totally eliminate stress from your life but with patience, planning and preparation, you can loosen its grip. Good luck on your mission moving forward.


*Doug, a member of the MS Class of 1996, writes goofy stuff about multiple sclerosis and other stuff on his humor blog at myoddsock.com.

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About MSAA

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is a national nonprofit organization and leading resource for the entire MS community, improving lives today through vital services and support. MSAA provides free programs and services, such as: a Helpline with trained specialists; award-winning publications, including, The Motivator; MSAA’s nationally recognized website, featuring educational videos, webinars, and research updates; a mobile phone app, My MS Manager™; safety and mobility equipment products; cooling accessories for heat-sensitive individuals; MRI funding; My MSAA Community, a peer-to-peer online support forum; MS Conversations blog; a clinical trial search tool; podcasts; and more. For additional information, please visit www.mymsaa.org or call (800) 532-7667.


  • Mary Gilmore says:

    Rrms since 2006. I am 65 now everyday I worry about my mental health

    • Angel Blair says:

      Thank you for reaching out, Mary. Mental health symptoms can be very common in MS, and it’s important to know you’re not alone in experiencing this worry. Hopefully by working with your doctor and reaching out to other supports within the MS community, there are ways to help alleviate this concern and help to manage it. To talk to others living with MS, you can do so on MSAA’s online peer support forum, My MSAA Community, https://mymsaa.org/msaa-community/my-msaa-community-forum. On our website you can also find additional information, videos and other materials regarding mental health wellness in MS, http://www.mymsaa.org. And if you have additional questions please feel free to email MSQuestions@mymsaa.org. Thank you again for reaching out and take care. Best, Angel, MSAA Client Services Specialist

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