What stresses me out is unreliable and untrustworthy people

The crazy thing about living with multiple sclerosis is that stress can make your disease progression worse, but trying to avoid stress can be stressful thus putting you into a perpetual cycle of stress. Ugh…how stressful.

For me, the disease itself is not what stresses me out. It may take me ten minutes to pull myself up from the floor after I fall down or I may be unable to open an easy to open package even with the aid of a pair of scissors, a blow torch and a hand grenade, but I can work through those things given enough time and persistence.

What stresses me out is unreliable and untrustworthy people.

A few years ago when I began having trouble with my legs, a friend came to me and said she would like to take me to my physical therapy appointments. I was so grateful and thanked her for the offer. Driving for me was starting to become dangerous. The next day as I waited for her to pick me up, she was a no show. My phone calls to her went straight to voice mail, and because my therapy appointment was extremely important, I went ahead and drove myself.

I chalked it up to maybe she forgot. She returned my call while I was in therapy and left a message telling me she overslept that morning and apologized profusely. I forgave her and all was well between us.

A couple of days later, I called her early enough before my appointment as a reminder that I needed help. Once again my call went to voicemail, she didn’t show up so I drove myself. After that, even though I knew she wanted to help, her unreliability was not helpful so I found other ways to get to my appointments.

Just because someone has good intentions to do something doesn’t help a person in need. Good intentions make the doer feel good about themselves. They can go through their day patting themselves on the back saying look what I’m going to do, but it’s their actions that actually make a difference.

Over the years, I have had people say that they will come to my house to cut my hair so I don’t have to make a trip to the hairdresser, want to set up a cleaning schedule to help me with the cleaning of my bathrooms and kitchen, say they want to meet up for coffee and conversation, promise to stop by once a month to wash my van, and even say they will come over to cut my grass every other week…all without any followthrough.

But it’s the thought that counts, right? Well, actually no, it’s not.

Good intentioned people mean well, but without actions to back them up, those intentions mean nothing. Sometimes it’s better to step away from people who can’t be trusted in order to keep your sanity. And that’s okay to do. One thing I have learned over the years is that I don’t want to be a well intentioned, no action person. If I can’t follow through on what I say I want to do, then I just won’t say it.

I think the non-disabled world doesn’t understand just how much the small things they say they would like to do for us in order to help, matter. My philosophy: If you say you are going to do something, do it. Occasional changes are totally fine, just don’t make it an every time thing. Your word matters.

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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.

33 replies
  1. Jackie Peck
    Jackie Peck says:

    “Just because someone has good intentions to do something doesn’t help a person in need. Good intentions make the doer feel good about themselves. They can go through their day patting themselves on the back saying look what I’m going to do, but it’s their actions that actually make a difference.”❤️

  2. Abi Milton
    Abi Milton says:

    I find I’m alone most of the time – most of my family, friends and “associates” don’t understand MS, even though I’ve told them what it is and how it affects me… And I know I’m just gonna get worse… It’s horrible, and why me??? But then I know other people suffer worse than me – with or without MS…

  3. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    That is just crazy. I have had a few requests to help us get to hospital and we haven’t been let down. You must have a few inhonestable friends that are not worthy of your support and friendship. I hope you have to try and get to you have told them to try another time if they can’t. If they don’t respond to you are they still your friends? It reads like they don’t want to know you and that’s bad. We all want a certain reliable people to help us because we are unable to do somethings our self. I have 2 women to help me shower and get dressed to help my wife who is going through a rough time as well.

    • Penelope Conway
      Penelope Conway says:

      Agreed. I’m so thankful you have several people to help you shower and get dressed. That is a tough thing at times for me to do on my own, but not nearly as difficult as for you. We all need those kind of people in our lives. xoxo

  4. Carla L Broadbent Rogers
    Carla L Broadbent Rogers says:

    Stressed spelled backwards is Desserts. Not always helpful, but it helps. Be well. My thoughts on this matter…..”If you can Great….If you can’t fine. Put up or shut up. Both work for me.

  5. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    I can relate. My mother-in–law tried to help me up when I fell down but she ended up dropping me again. I ended up doing it myself and her response “that is quite a chore isn’t it?” Gee, thanks. STRESS.

  6. Julie Knapps
    Julie Knapps says:

    People who have no patience with my being slower then they are at everything is what causes my stress. The I try to hurry myself and only make it all worse. Uggg

  7. Karen Orlowski
    Karen Orlowski says:

    Yup stressed out over toxic people I need to remove from my life, lead to what is presenting as a right sided stroke. Real funny and entertaining to those toxic people. How sick is that?

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