The two most challenging symptoms of my multiple sclerosis are fatigue and pain.
However, in many people’s minds fatigue and pain don’t count as a disability. I’ve had people say to me, “Oh, I have that.”
Begging your pardon, but you don’t have that. This fatigue is not the “I’m tired. I’ve been working overtime and I haven’t gotten enough sleep,” kind of fatigue. I’m talking about the type of fatigue that’s “I’ve gotten enough sleep, I haven’t hardly done anything, yet I feel like I’ve been run over by a Mac truck, I’m literally too exhausted to lift my arms, and my brain has literally shut down.”
This level of fatigue can be experienced by those with multiple sclerosis, kidney disease, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, again to name a few. It destroys your life and makes normal activities impossible. I can’t tell you how discouraging it is to try to describe this type of disability to someone and then have that person say, “Oh, I have that.”
Many times people ask “When were you diagnosed?” That question is irrelevant. The question should be “When did you experience your first symptoms?”