With my numerous posts about exercise, you may begin to wonder whether or not I have any Multiple Sclerosis symptoms of my own. I can assure you that I am not immune; I join half of the MSers in the world today who have been faced with Cognitive Issues:
- Attention & Concentration
- Speed of information processing
- Abstract reasoning and problem solving
- Visual & spatial abilities (such as driving or reading a map)
- Ability to shift between tasks
For me, forgetting what I am doing, saying, and thinking can and does take place in the middle of each of these activities. This is not as much of a problem for me now, since I am no longer working, but it did cause me some embarrassment while I was working nearly 1 year ago.
Luckily, I had the BEST boss in the world who was more than understanding, so I did “get away with alot” but I was still embarrassed just the same. I lost my keys at work and she talked me out of my “poor me” crises when I cried because I thought I was never going to be the same sharp manager that I once was. On a smaller scale, I would forget whether or not I spoke to someone about something, so chances were they heard what I had to say multiple times. Sometimes I felt uneasy stares from my customers as I visited their table(s) more than once in a 15 minute period to see if their experience was going great. I did always play off any “overdue visits” with a joke so I was able to get away with those mishaps too. Another thing I had going for me was the fact that I had been managing for so long, things actually became a repetition, and most days were a pleasure because I spent them talking to repeat guests and employees who really liked being there. The bad days, were of course, when something out of the norm popped up and I could not handle the pressure. Thinking back; I do miss it but I am happy that I am not hurting their operation with my illness while potentially worsening my health in the process. As the saying goes… “It is bitter-sweet” that I left.
Currently, I forget things like passwords, the spelling of different words, and what my plans were. I can’t remember how many times I have changed my passwords because I could not remember what I had entered (sometimes… even if it was just 5 minutes prior). Spellcheck has really become my buddy; I use it for all kinds of words, large and small, because I forget the silliest words imaginable! Besides forgetting what I was doing, more specifically, I forget where I put my keys! I sometimes even leave them in the door (this one bothers so much when I do it) but I talk myself out of it fast so that I do not feel too bad.
There are many different MS symptoms and each person can have one to all of them in varying degrees. The picture below shows the symptoms with the percentage of people who have each one.
Image from: Colintec.co
So, enough with the problems, let’s talk about the solutions! Cognitive Issues can be better managed by:
- Having quiet time.
- Identifying and avoiding your distractions.
- Using your optimal time periods to get the harder things done.
- Take your time to do things by pacing yourself so that you can save your energy!
- Learn about your attention span’s lifespan so that you can take breaks at the right time.
- Don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed! Break things down so that they can be done in sessions.
- Have fun with things like puzzles, meditation, and reading!
- Don’t be shy to ask people to repeat things or speak slower if you didn’t catch their quick response(s).
- Talk more slowly yourself so that you do not loose your train of thought!
- Don’t stop learning new words; synonyms come in handy when a word is forgotten.
- Be organized. Use notes, a journal / blog, calendar, and checklists so that you have yourself covered in case of a memory lapse. Post-its are my friend!
- Always put things in the same place. I now have a key holder right next to my door to avoid leaving them in the door and/or misplacing them further inside the house.
- Speak to yourself in a loud voice when you do things so that you can remember that you did them. For example… “I am turning off the stove now.” OR “I am putting my keys on the key holder.” 😉
- For errands; plan and write down everything from the “stops that need to take place” to “items needed” so that you can be sure everything gets done and gotten.
- You can use a paper note, or electronic notepad app and voicemail on your phone, if you want to remind yourself to do something later on.
Thank-you for reading this post today! Great news!!! That is it for now. 😉 Next time I will share with you all one my favorite cake recipes of all time. This one is a close tie to the Kentucky Derby pie recipe that I shared last week.
I hope that this post finds you all having a great start to your week. As always, I would enjoy hearing form you, so please leave me a note below.