Yesterday I received an email from the Daily Post at WordPress that said ‘Competition: What activity, task, or game most brings out your competitive streak?’

Activity: having multiple sclerosis.
Task: not going to bed when my body screams to should stop doing what I’m doing and make a triple Salchow backwards to land myself under my duvet instead.
Game: enjoying life.
Competitor: myself.

It was an easy enough question to answer because I (still) consider myself my own worst competition, especially right now.

‘Right now’ means: “I’m in the middle of a relapse.” Yes, I finally crashed and burned after taking on too much in the last few weeks. I only realised this yesterday, even when I’ve been feeling rather off for a few weeks. I’ve been smacking my own backside for the last 24 hours because once again I did not listen to my body screaming “stop!”

Hearing and listening are two different things altogether and oh I heard it scream alright. Listening? Not that much. I have very selective hearing when it comes to listening to my body even when it is in terms quite easy to understand. For two weeks or so I’ve been – perhaps unconsciously – going to bed at an earlier time than usual, as much as 2h earlier. I’ve also been falling asleep right after drinking two hot, steaming Mocha Latte coffees, double size and adding two Provigil (anti-narcolepsy) tablets as a dessert. That should have kept me awake for at least 4 hours but oh no, I fell back asleep about half an hour after drinking my coffee and taking my morning meds.

Did I listen then? Of course not! I had to read. I had to do grocery shopping. I had hospital appointments. I had reading group meetings. I had rugby to watch on TV. I had other things to watch on TV. I had to do my laundry. My dishes. Cooking. Cleaning bedroom. Bathroom. Living room. Kitchen. Cleaning my boots. I had to have my hair cut. Sleep. Be merry. Be happy. Be in pain. Wrecked. In need of more rest. Yes indeed, in need of sleep. And lots of it. And definitely in need of a maid and a butler.

When then did I finally listen to my body? Yesterday, after once again falling asleep after breakfast and snoring for 2h30, I woke up with more trigeminal pains and finally saw a bright, big, red lamp going off on top of my head, screaming: “relapse” … “relapse!” … “RELAPSE!!!”

At this stage, I consider myself a lost cause when it comes to getting enough rest. I do get lots of it already, so it’s not all bad but I went to three James Joyce and St Patrick’s Day events over three consecutive evenings last week and I thought it would not impact me. The events were short in time and I was in bed by 10pm on those nights, but I was still smacked senseless by severe fatigue on the way home. Crawled on the staircase on my hands and knees and squirted toothpaste in my mouth without having the energy to brush my teeth anymore. Fell in bed and well, woke up a few times of trigeminal pains, yet still being so tired that going to the loo was like running two marathons in a row, naked and backwards.

My mum would kill me if she would find out that I managed to vacuum my downstairs floors, hanging on to the wall with one hand not to fall over, and the other hand firmly attached to the vacuum cleaner. She’d also hang, draw and quarter me if she found out that I did my dishes and that I tried to perform a radical dance routine in the shower by slipping over shower gel while trying to save my face from being named and shamed (there wasn’t anyone around to name and shame me but I thought that I could just as well do some modern dancing to grace my non-existing bathroom audience. Some would have called it slapstick, I just called it ‘So I Think I can Dance).

When WP asked me yesterday, I need not think about it too long. The only thing I needed to do before writing it was to recover from my dance routine aka vacuum salsa galore and start writing in my head. Had some admin to take care of this morning but way-hey… I was wise and went straight to bed after coming home! Right now Discovery Investigation is showing homicides and other unruly stuff on television so I can let it all go over me while I am safe under my duvet and relax for the remainder of the day. Seeing the types of programs on that channel, I bet that in 100 years time the world will be full of FBI profilers, forensic scientists and murderers that each will exist to support each other. By then I should finally have finished my degree in psychology also but jeez, there are some seriously sick people out there!

But for now the competition is over; I will keep on resting today, or at least until another bright idea enters my grey matter, which will probably be tomorrow when I think of all the other laundry still waiting to do done…

© Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2013. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


3 thoughts on “Relapse!

    1. Ah no you’re not thick at all. You’re just trying to find a balance between doing what is right for your mind versus knowing that there’s a whole lot that needs to be done every day. Life goes on, even with MS. The dishes, the washing up and other tasks are not done by magic and by leprechauns, so they don’t wait. And if you think you can do it, then go for it. Your bed will always be waiting patiently for you to return to it :D

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