Overwhelmed in chaos

My emotions have this tendency to run wild. I find myself crying for no reason, laughing at ridiculous things and getting mad at nothing…absolutely nothing. My brain has mixed things up and doesn’t know the difference between a laugh and a tear.

I wish I could say it was just me being me, but Multiple Sclerosis is at fault. Somewhere, deep in my brain, the area that controls my emotions has been damaged. The communication of my feelings and the need to express them is a complete mangled mess.

Life changes a lot with MS. It changes in ways we expect and also in ways we never knew possible. Sometimes those changes happen all at once and other times they simply pile up, little by little, until we find ourselves surrounded by a sea of change.

That’s me at the moment…overwhelmed in a torrential sea. It feels like my world has been knocked off its axis and is bouncing around inside some perpetual game of universe pong. I just want things to slow down a bit. It doesn’t have to stop entirely, I just need the brakes put on and for things to stop spinning out of control for awhile.

I’m sure you understand the feeling all to well yourself. Today you may be facing a boatload of MS changes, financial struggles, relationship problems, emotional chaos, or a little of them all wrapped up into one. That’s a lot for anyone to have to face.

I hope you know you aren’t alone in this journey. I may not understand your exact struggles, but I understand what it feels like to ache so deep inside that you can’t put the pain into words; to dread a new day because you just aren’t sure what the day is going to bring; to wake up in the morning wishing you could just go back to bed and wake up from the nightmare you find yourself in; to watch your dreams get crushed and feel as if you will never be able to dream again.

I mean it when I say I’m standing with you. You can vent, you can cry, you can spill out every emotion that’s been bottled up inside and I won’t judge you nor look at you with that weird blank stare so many of us see on others faces when we try to explain what’s happening inside.

Yes, you may be living with Multiple Sclerosis, you may have a crazy mixed-up life, your emotions may go bonkers on you, your day may be spinning out of control, but regardless of how things look today, we are in this together and together we are STRONG.

Life is tough. Anyone who says otherwise isn’t really living. But even though we face some awful things in life, there are great things happening that show up and bring relief to the pain. And wouldn’t you know it, they happen at the very moment you feel as if you’re about to break.

Things like a “thinking of you” card in the mail from a dear friend, a fistful of weeds and smiles from a child, your favorite song playing on the radio at just the right moment, a piece of chocolate, ten minutes of silence, coffee with a friend…they are happening all around you, you just have to pause for a moment to see them.

Today may be a tough day but don’t let the struggle cloud those sweet moments that are happening in your life. Pause and breathe. Find something to be thankful for. Look around. There is some good in the chaos, in the moment when you are overwhelmed. You are going to make it through this storm. Hang in there and let those sweet pauses give you strength to get through the day.

MS Gets on My NervesMS WarriorMS Superhero  

About the Author
About the Author
Penelope Conway

Penelope Conway
Penelope started Positive Living with MS as a way to help others with MS stay positive in the midst of a terrible disease. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day. Multiple Sclerosis may never go away, but neither will her determination and her drive to help others through the journey.

18 replies
  1. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    I know what you have been through Penelope. I have had seemingly too much go on in my changed life I should be insane. But all has been done and I’m still here so I figured that all the ‘big’ problems don’t mean a hell of a lot and as you have written, keep the goo things ahead and lose the bad things as best as possible.
    Like this morning we had our mainly music program and it went well. My wife unfortunately had missed some medication and had to leave early so one of the other ladies brought me home (with the wheelchair) and I was use my stick to enter our house and my right leg just turned off and I tripped on the first step. I came out ok but a little annoyed and embarrassed but mt help was frightened for me. I got myself up and told her it was just my right les refused to lift and proceeded indoors.
    After that I thought ‘yes it was n unexpected trip but I have no injury but just a bad feeling dying in my head.
    o I thought this is what I have to put up with it’s not too bad at all. I just have to be ‘careful’ more.

  2. Rosario Lòpez says:


  3. Marcene Currey
    Marcene Currey says:

    The tunnel of depression, thrust upon you by MS I know it well. You go in and then you have to ride it until you exit. Some days you think that you will lose your mind – the anxiety, the fear, frustration, doubt, sadness from nowhere over nothing, how will I be in 5 years let alone 10. There are people all around you who want to care and even help but MS takes you to a place in your mind where that is not possible. I try to have a plan for when it takes me there. Some small strategies that I know are normal everyday things that I do – basic things – try to smile more – just listen to conversations because engaging in them does not help, cook a decent meal, listen to your music, find your place but keep moving, fighting every day of your life is exhausting (18 years MS) a monster that is a big word too scary to acknowledge. So I will continue my daily struggle and especially enjoy the days when I am out of that tunnel. Pray for strength of mind and try your best to keep strength in your body. One day at a time my mum use to say and hell let’s face some days that is all you can do and there is no shame in that everyday is win agains the MS fight.

  4. Natalie Borodchak says:

    Have experienced this alot !
    Noise, Husell & Bussell, being pulled in all directions….it can be alot! Not to mention new symptoms to experience and incorporate into daily life!

  5. Kim Black-McKinley says:

    I needed to hear this today, I’m scared… It’s overwhelming the changes in me mind and body… I’ve been stable for so little big 15 years, but everyday is something new, or a combination of small things that I nerves really noticed, all comes no together.. Thank you for your article… It gives me hope and reasoning to what is going on with my life..,

  6. Donna gammon
    Donna gammon says:

    Thank you! You’ve captured the words that I can’t seem to find to explain the perpetual circle of emotions that I experience,daily!

  7. Colleen Sennott says:

    This chaotic feeling I have is so frustrating because before MS I was able to handle so many things without a thought or worry. Now the smallest things set me on an emotional rollercoaster. Planning holiday meals was always my favorite thing to do and I would start months in advance to find the right recipes. Last few big ones I coudltn’t even think about doing anything without tears. Making sure bills are paid on time is so everwhelming that I forget about thiem. Ugh I hate this part of MS so much. I feel like I have lost more than just my strength but my mind. It is awful and trying to explain is pointless sometimes. I don’t see my family on a regular basis (different coasts) so they don’t see the daily struggle I face. I really hope someeday in my lifetime for some sort of cure. But for now reading your posts everyday helps me feel MS normal. Thanks so much Penelope for that.

    • Kathy Buys says:

      You just told of a common struggle that overwhelms me more & more. I miss my multitasking & abilities so very much. Thanks, hope your week is a good one….

  8. Roxanne
    Roxanne says:

    Oh how I need this today. Upon visiting out of state son and my grandchildren ages 14, 13, and 8 I have scared the kiddo’s so badly by an emotional breakdown and having to use steps to get in their house that my rigid body did not want. My son, 42 thinks I have given up on life – I had to quit driving 8 months ago, live alone and lost almost all friends due to this monster. I love your blog and literally it is the first thing I do upon weakening is to treat myself to you! Thank you!

    • Penelope Conway
      Penelope Conway says:

      Aww Roxanne. I am so sorry you had to go through that. I’m thankful that the things I share are helpful. Sending positive thoughts and lots of love your way today!

  9. Christine Moran
    Christine Moran says:

    Thank you for this. I have had way out of control emotions all weekend exactly how you describe them. I so needed to feel less alone today. I have a supportive family but they still can’t possibly understand even though they try to. And they still can’t deal with my emotional swings even though I have given them things to read about it, and tried to explain.

  10. Leah
    Leah says:

    Good to know that I’m not alone with these bursts of melancholy and frustration. Thank goodness for anti-depressants…which have helped me a lot with my occasional bouts of depression. It’s tough living with MS…but somewhere deep down, I know I’ve become a much stronger person for it. Thanks again for this enlightening blog!

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