You Are Stressing Me Out!

By Lauren Kovacs

I admit that I am not always great at this. My approach to stress changes like the wind.  Each issue or event is assigned its own thing. I often stress about stress. 2am is often my stress time.

I am a classic introvert. I am allergic to people, parties, or any gathering. Avoidance is often my plan, sadly. Kind of weird for a former cheerleader, actually. I get tired very easily. Being social is not my thing. I like being a stick in the mud. It is warm and squishy. The stress can’t get me, if I am in the mud.

My husband is the social charmer. I rely on him to be my butterfly. Rely on those that like being social. I just smile from my chair. I am polite and shake hands, but mostly I listen. I seek out less stress. Set time limits to being social. Mental fatigue is equal to physical fatigue.

Even listening wears me out. My speech is more garbled, as the day goes on. That wears me out even more. I used to be a talker. My 2nd grade teacher agrees, I am sure.

I then stress about no one understanding me when I talk. I have to remind myself that I need to slow down. After 20+ years, my husband and sons know when I am wilting. Time limits are important.

If they do not see me wilting, I tell them. I physically droop and when I have taken energy from my tiny reserve, my speech is about as messy as a blob of tangled string. Then, I stress because I know what I said, but it comes out as some unknown language.

Planning seems to be the key and setting limits. MS is not a good candidate for being a “Last-Minute-Lucy.” Have an idea of what actions cause you to stress.

Sitting in my chair helps, but due to other issues, my hearing is extremely poor. In a crowed room I can’t hear much of the conversation. I stressed because I can’t hear well and worry I smile and nod to inappropriate things. When I stress, I get hot too.

Dressing in layers helps me deal with the temperature issues. Correct footwear is also a way to deal with stress, no worrying about heels in the bathrooms. I can wheel in and not kill myself trying to use the potty. Smart footwear.

I tell my husband if I am tired. I have learned that I leave when I need to. I try to leave before I am about to wilt out of my chair.

Being a wallflower has been okay. I stay out of the center of conversations. Wheeling my chair brings fatigue and I try and use my energy wisely.

My wings came clipped so, being a social butterfly was never me, luckily. Due to my husband’s job, I kinda was thrown into being a social butterfly. Everyone knows I have MS. You can’t miss the tiny blond in the purple chair.

Stress is all around and can be anything. Due to no longer being able to use my left hand to eat, I eat right-handed. Great, but that increases the fatigue. I often give up eating when my right hand goes on sabbatical. To combat this, I eat before we leave. If I am too tired or uncoordinated to eat, I won’t starve because I already ate.

Hyper-planning fights stress. Planning is part of MS. Just like most of us take note of bathroom locations, make note of your stresses. Plan.

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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 or call (800) 532-7667.

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