MS Fatigue

Read the first blog for MS and Me from Katie St. Lawrence (24). She shares her experience of what it means to have fatigue, how she deals with it and how, thanks to being strategic about rest, energy and listening to her body, life is as enjoyable as ever.

I never knew when I was first diagnosed that fatigue would be one of my biggest challenges in my battle with multiple sclerosis. During the diagnosis process, I was always asked by the doctors and nurses how my energy levels/fatigue were. I never had any complaints. 

This changed a year after my first relapse. It was during the summer time when I started experiencing fatigue. I began to notice that the smallest of tasks would leave me feeling wrecked and needing to take a break. Jobs like preparing the dinner or cleaning my room (which never used to be an issue for me before) left me feeling like I had just completed a mini-marathon!

I started to get jealous when I looked around and saw other people around me doing these tasks without any difficulties. I also felt angry with myself when I thought about all the times, pre-MS, when I sat around doing nothing. I could have been enjoying myself! Little did I know then that I would be suffering from what I could only describe as the Ultimate Tiredness x10 for basic tasks.

Katie’s Fatigue = waking up after a full night’s sleep only to feel as if I’ve not had any sleep at all. Or being so tired that I can barely move and have to talk yourself into moving. Fatigue is when a hot shower can drain every ounce of whatever remaining energy out of your body. It leaves you feeling completely shattered and defeated. 

Like many people with MS, I have my good days and bad days when it comes to dealing with fatigue. Fatigue is with me all year round but is so much worse in the summer time in the higher temperatures. On my good days I can go most places or do most things without it affecting me too much- only a little bit fatigued. But on my bad days, I wake up feeling completely wrecked and basic tasks almost wipe me out.

Since the first year, I have learned to deal with my fatigue. I’m more strategic now- if I have an event coming up I prepare by taking things easier in the days leading up to it. I have also learned to listen to my body more and if I feel as if I am over doing things, I take a rest or get an early night. While fatigue can be extremely difficult to deal with, I try not to let it rule my life. When I listen to my body, I can manage. Things are very different to pre-MS but  despite the fatigue, by making small changes, listening to the changing needs of my body, the most important thing is I still get to enjoy myself.