I have been reading a recent issue of ms matters (quarterly MS Society magazine). It had invited readers as part of MS Week, what they thought was the most common misconceptions around the disease – usual stuff – wheelchairs; appearing to look well etc.
One of the more common misconceptions centred around fatigue, how it is generally percieved as being a bit tired or even plain laziness.
The only way I can describe full-on MS fatigue is, imagine you are working on a computer and you want to install a new program or you are downloading several megabytes of information and you PC crashes. Everything freezes, the egg-timer doesn’t look like it is ever going to be anything other than that indefinitely.
Having MS fatigue is just like that – a sudden brain-crash. Nothing works. I have been jolted ‘awake’ from such moments when I have realised that I have just spent a period of time (seconds? minutes?) where I have been thinking zilch, nada, nothing at all – a completely empty thought process. I just didn’t seem to have the energy to think. While that’s quite a scary thing to realise, it’s even scarier to feel your mind sliding back into that position again only seconds later. It’s like my brain has been determined to shut itself down, but without the luxury of a ctrl-alt-del.
Of course, that’s the mental side of it. Physically, it’s like being in a four-legged race with both legs strapped to sumo wrestlers.
Right – now I’m off on my holidays. Going to do battle with hot weather.