I fall down a lot

I’ve always heard that balance in life is essential. I have a feeling the person who originally penned that thought didn’t have Multiple Sclerosis. I can no more balance my body on a flat surface than my life on a daily basis. I can’t even balance my check book due to the financial strain of living with a chronic illness. A balanced life with MS sounds more like an oxymoron than a reality.

How do you balance a life that is constantly changing and where the unexpected is more expected than the chance of rain in today’s weather forecast? Each day with MS is an adventure filled with obstacles and booby traps. How do you balance that?

I gave up trying to plan my day in advance. Before MS, I was an organized, planned individual with my day planner in hand everywhere I went and a memory like an elephant. I remembered birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, and special occasions. I could remember anything I read, heard or saw. I even earned the nickname “Human Google” and was the go-to person when someone had a question.

Now, I have a hard time remembering what day it is, what I did yesterday and what happened on the last episode of “CSI.” I burn pizza in the oven, lose my way driving to the grocery store and forget to wash my hair while I’m in the shower. You have no idea how many times I have stepped out of the shower, dried myself off, then realized my hair was still dirty. Even my no-fail plans to remember things don’t help me remember. I lose post-it notes, forget to set alarms and can’t read my own writing.

Because of MS, I have learned that balance has nothing to do with ensuring equal time with work, fun, and family. It’s not about pleasing others or how much I can get done in a day. It’s about going with the flow and doing those things that are important to my wellness. Sometimes that means I spend the day focused on my own needs instead of work, family or fun. Sometimes that means I can mix it all up. But the important thing is to never give up when the unexpected happens.

And never forget, even the greatest gymnast in the world falls off the balance beam from time to time so don’t stress out when your emotions get the best of you and you become overwhelmed with everything happening around you. Just take a deep breath, get back up and keep trying. Don’t hold onto the stress that comes with all the daily unexpected moments. Instead, hold onto the smiles you find in the moment and keep going.

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.

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

    This is why I am in a wheelchair. I have been tired of falling over and hurting myself, just lucky not to have broken any bones. But I sill have to use the sticks to get outside when no one is here. Janice has been in hospital since Monday and came home today. It has been lonely for me and our phone was cut off due to missed payment on Wednesday ( oh today is Thursday here). But I got my breakfast and mostly dressed. (I can’t put my socks and shoes on} and cleaned the log burner of ash and tipped it outside. So i can still use the sticks but it’s not easy and what took minutes a few years ago now takes longer. I can’t get out in my wheelchair and get back kin without help. This is annoying but it’s going to get fixed soon.

  2. Rachel Fleming says:

    i think we can all fall over just standing still. yoga helps, but i’m so impatient, that i rush through it. we have an inversion table to help with back problems and that helps me be mindful of balance.

    • Rodger Ashton-Smith
      Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

      I know what you are going through. After 43 years I have had to give up driving as my right leg has lost my control. It is hard but help is always good to get.

  3. Ginger Grobe-Herbert says:

    Some days , one of my daughters will call and while we are talking , she will tell me my speech is garbled or slurred and I need to stay in. Or, they will stop by and notice my balance is way off and sat , “Mom, you need to sit down ; you’re listing to the left bad”.
    Many times I don’t even know til someone tells me. Crazy !!!

  4. Nancy Pierce says:

    Sometimes it just suxs. I get a little/lot flustered when I try to do anything in a hurry, So now I just have to slow down when walking or just trying to do simple things.

  5. Tiffany Lanthier
    Tiffany Lanthier says:

    I just started using walking sticks and it seems to be so much better than a cane. I get to walk and have stability on both sides. My motto these days is that I have MS but MS doesn’t have me 😁 Of course I have some good/bad days, seems like more bad days than good right now but I want to be a fighter not a person who gives up all the time… Happy thoughts your way today 🌻
    Thank You Penelope for your positive words, I love to read them, they help ALOT ❤️❤️❤️

  6. Tiffany Lanthier
    Tiffany Lanthier says:

    I just started using walking sticks and it seems to be so much better than a cane. I get to walk and have stability on both sides. My motto these days is that I have MS but MS doesn’t have me 😁 Of course I have some good/bad days, seems like more bad days than good right now but I want to be a fighter not a person who gives up all the time… Happy thoughts your way today 🌻
    Thank You Penelope for your positive words, I love to read them, they help ALOT ❤️

    • Sharon
      Sharon says:

      .Ditto ! Have a lesion on the cerebellum so guess that makes sense. Too hard for the MS brain to coordinate eyes, feet etc. Given up and use a walker to solve balance issues. Overpower a cane and after falling and breaking my hip done …..

  7. Jean Preston says:

    Good morning I don’t fall but I do run into walls. Today is my Birthday day and I feel so bad and I had a really bad night, but I am strong and I will get through it. My body feel like I just started my shots. All over again. Thanks you all for your support

  8. Beatrix Huber says:

    Yep, you could say that again. MS made me fall into a hole and break both of my legs, and then I stumbed on a flat surface out of no reason at all and twisted my ankle again (cast for 6 weeks). I gave up on high heels, let alone heels at all. You can wear the perfect outfit nowadays, wearing sneakers, loafers or flipflops (at high risk). Just so lovely. But we look so good, don’t we? :/

  9. Geraldine Lowrey says:

    I can relate! I can’t turn in one smooth move. I turn in small circular steps. It takes me twice as much time to perform tasks that “normal” people can do in a flash. Everything I do is thought out in terms of “energy needed to accomplish”. Do I walk to the bedroom to put away the slippers I kicked off, or do I save that for later? If I do it now I may not have all the energy needed to finish cutting up veggies for dinner. Sounds silly, but it’s so real! I tried yoga which I loved. The place closed but I need to start yoga again. Anyone know a good DVD I can buy? My legs are getting worse. I “upgraded” from a cane to a walker. I no longer go out alone – fear of falling and balance issues. But, hey! Have a good day! I’ll be trying to do the same!

    • Samantha DeGroot says:

      I watched a yoga session on Netflix and created my own routine. My moves are not yogi perfect but they help with balance fatigue and spasticity.
      Just do what you remember from your class while you wait for a good DVD. Every little bit help.

    • Geraldine Lowrey says:

      Samantha DeGroot Thank you! The instructor actually gave me a sheet with the various poses which, being the “collector” of all things, I still have – somewhere! I’ll dig it out and begin again.

    • Dzesika Golden Alexander says:

      It’s true, practising what you have regularly will help😁 little by little. There are tons of Wonder men and women on things like youtube that provide institutional videos from 5 minutes to an hour. And pay sites like Grokker and omstars. I hope you can find a class. I’m looking as well =]

    • Geraldine Lowrey says:

      That’s a great idea! Let’s get started – before I forget! That’s an issue, too. I, too, had a memory like two elephants. In college I remember having major acting parts in plays, singing solos in the choir, also acting, singing, dancing in a Polish folk group. All these required memorization of lines, songs, dance steps and another language. Now I turn to get something for cooking and as soon as I turn around I forget what I need!

  10. Dave
    Dave says:

    Fantastic article, so many points as what I do aswdll.
    Penny, we’re not abnormal, but unique.
    We get drunk for free, lot of bonuses lol.

  11. Leah
    Leah says:

    I too have more tumbles than I care to remember…that is when I’m able to remember. My bruises are reminders of my nasty bumps and falls. I totally get you!

  12. Leslie Beaver says:

    It is a constant challenge. But taichi plus yoga has made me much more aware of proper posture and balance. Which has, with the aid of my cane, kept me upright and fall free for some time.

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