Life gets hard sometimes

Have you ever felt like your whole life was falling apart right before your very eyes and no matter how hard you tried you couldn’t do anything to stop it? That the very ones you thought would stand beside you forever turned and walked away? That in each passing day a wave of hopelessness flooded your heart and clouded your mind, inching you closer and closer to simply giving up? That just the thought of facing one more day filled your heart with tremendous pain and fear? If you have ever felt this way before, just know that you are not alone. I have been there too.

People who know me, know that I’m not a quitter…I never have been. I face everything with the confidence that I will overcome.  But there have been times when I’ve felt like giving up and waving the white flag of defeat. I’m not immune to having the feelings of being overwhelmed, weak and uncertain.

I read a story once about Emperor Tamerlane who was badly defeated in battle. He ran from the battle and  hid himself away in a barn. Enemy troops searched the countryside for him. By this time he was depressed, his troops had been terribly defeated and scattered, and he didn’t know what he was going to do.

Suddenly he noticed an ant trying to push a giant kernel of corn up over a stone wall. As he watched this ant attempt to do the impossible, he counted its futile efforts to see how many times the ant would try until it gave up.

One, two, three… twenty… forty… sixty-nine times the ant tried and failed to push the kernel over the wall. But in one last push, on the seventieth try, the ant made it. Leaping to his feet, Tamerlane excitedly said to the ant, “If you can do it, then so can I.” That day he changed his outlook, reorganized his forces, went back and soundly defeated the enemy.

Just like that ant pushing the kernel of corn, we are pushing the impossible up over the wall every day. Living with Multiple Sclerosis, I get interesting responses from people as to why I am not healed and how I need to simply try a little harder.

I have heard everything from “you need more faith” to “have you tried this new diet that worked for my great aunt’s, second cousin’s, friend.” Regardless of the response, people need to understand that just because someone is living with a chronic illness or going through a difficult time in their life, that doesn’t mean they have done something wrong or that they aren’t trying with everything within them to push through.

Every day we are attempting the impossible, and just like that ant we fail more than once. We push, get exhausted, try again, fail, rest, but still get up and try some more. Our entire life has become one giant push. We push through pain, weakness, dizziness, blurred vision, muscle spasms, and lack of sleep. We push and keep on pushing at everything we do. Nothing comes easy, not even something as simple as a trip to the mailbox.

Everything we do, we do with tremendous strength, determination and courage. We fight, we push, and we get discouraged. Sometime we need a little ant to remind us that we can do it. That this fight is worth it. That we can make it.

Today, let me be that ant…don’t quit. Don’t let the fact that MS is a part of your life cause you to feel defeated. You can’t stop trying. You can’t stop pushing that kernel of corn. Don’t let MS win. You got this.

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.

34 replies
  1. Amy
    Amy says:

    Two thoughts:
    1. How do you get into my brain? Every time I read one of your posts, I get a message I really needed at that time.
    2. I now have an earworm (or should I call it an antworm?). I can’t stop singing “High Hopes” about an ant trying to move a rubber tree plant.

  2. Linda Fry says:

    And you do have this Helen. Not only MS to fight but Lopus also you are the strongest person I’ve ever been around and I’m proud you are my daughter and you fight everyday. Don’t ever give up or change. Love you

  3. girl1dir
    girl1dir says:

    I needed a pep talk today… This was the second one I got. Thank you for this blog. =) <3

  4. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    Thanks Penelope it’s good to be reminded that we can try and get results that help us.. I have done some things in the last few weeks I thought I would never do again. That was some gardening, mostly pulling out grass and weeds that have taken over. I stretched myself further than I have before and found that in doing that, even though I got knackered, it helped me feel a bit better and things started to work better within me as well. So I am going to keep on pushing myself as far as I need to and see what developes. I don’t expect anything so if anything happens I will be pleased.

  5. Fran
    Fran says:

    Thank you. Like other day have written here, I so needed to hear this today. I was sitting crying when one of my cats snuggled up and wouldn’t stop until the tears stopped. Thank you for reminding me to keep fighting and giving me an image to use.

  6. Jane Heron says:

    Thank you for this, today I have been asleep most of the time, trip to the bin to take the rubbish out resulted in having to go back to bed grrr, so hard not to beat myself up for wasting another day in bed !

  7. Wendy Brower says:

    I cannot even express to you how important seeing your posts is for me!! You really help me to realize I am not alone in this struggle and the fight is real….

  8. Roland Clarke
    Roland Clarke says:

    I like the ant analogy/lesson so thanks for the encouragement. I attempt to find a lateral approach to my MS barrier, by trying a different approach. But I try not to give up.

  9. Debbie Ford says:

    Yesterday marked the 4th month of using a cane to try to walk. I am grateful to still be able to walk. I have been trying so hard to maintain my independence and walk again without the cane. Someone recently told me that if I had a little more will power that I would be able to. Really?? Some days it takes all the will and energy I have just to get up and face the day!! I will not quit!

    • Tina Thompson says:

      People don’t undetstand. They also aren’t sure what to say. I usually laugh and say “you really don’t have a clue”. 😉 Then I might suggest some reading material on MS. That usually shuts them up.

    • Jen Zordan says:

      I “ran” the gamut of mobility devices and I am now in a power chair. I have two things that I remind myself of every day. The first is that every assistive device I have used wasn’t giving in, each was another weapon in my arsenal that I have used to continue to fight and function. The other is that I am not stuck in a wheelchair, I am living life sitting down.

    • Sheila Van Dyke says:

      I use a walker for anything more than 1/2 block. I am happy because I lost ability to walk about 18 month ago . Just jeep doing what you can . Most people haven’t a clue what they are talking about. 😀

  10. Marianne Wallace says:

    Awe thank you ! I needed to read this today ! I’m in a constant, lonely, daily fight to keep going with very little support! Yes, it’s hard and after 28yrs of this fight, I do feel like giving in to it . .
    I pray tat I can get the strength to fight on again! Thank you for your inspiring words x

  11. Laura Allison Duncan says:

    I’m lucky to have a bit of a break being in remission.. But I had years of struggling and the one thing that gave me a push when I wanted to give up was my Beautiful Boxer Daisy ..yes lol a hyper bouncing off the walls Boxer.. She knew I was sick and changed she became my legs and was able to keep me steady on my feet ..

    • Christine Pechstein says:

      Boxers are the best! Ours knows when I’m not feeling well and is such a blessing. I think they are more clown than dog, because they’re a hilarious and fun breed. I don’t know how I would’ve endured so much without ours!

  12. Mary Flowers Arbogast says:

    I’ve had a busy last couple of weeks. I could tell last night how tired my body was because I actually slept! That almost never happens lol One more busy week/weekend (I think) and then I think I get to relax 🙂

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