Some days I feel about as useless as an empty tube of toothpaste

You don’t realize how many mornings I wake up and find myself unable to motivate, encourage and uplift others. Sometimes I am so down that I don’t even think I have anything left to actually give. Today is that struggle for me. I have often asked myself, “Who encourages the encourager because I could us some of that about now?”

But you know, somehow after I contemplate throwing my hands up in surrender and giving up, I find a bit of strength left to keep going. It’s not always easy to find but I find myself able to squeeze some out. It’s kind of like when you have an empty tube of toothpaste but instead of throwing it away you give it one last shot and get a few more uses out of it. Today, I feel like that empty tube of toothpaste. Used up, squeezed dry and empty.

The thing about it is that I know many of you face the day feeling the same way. You wake up feeling defeated even before the day actually starts. All motivation flies out the window or gets swept under the rug. I want you to know that you are not alone when you feel that way. I get there sometimes too. Yes, even the encourager gets discouraged.

Multiple sclerosis is kicking my butt. Lately I can’t hold onto much. Even my iPad is too heavy for me to hold onto. I think I dropped it at least four times yesterday. Dizziness is a constant, weakness is increasing, I find my voice is harder to eek out a syllable, my vision is wonky, and brain fog…wait what was I saying again.

I set my alarm to go off at 10 AM yesterday but when it went off, I forgot why it was even set. I am finding I need reminders for reminders and even then I forget what I was trying to remind myself of. Ugh! It’s such a vicious cycle.

One thing that encourages me is you. It’s true. You always remind me why I am doing what I’m doing and just how much you appreciate my efforts. You are my inspiration. You are the reason I do what I do. You laugh at my sarcastic, witty social media posts, you smile at my musings, and you encourage me. That is priceless.

Thank you for that.

If you are feeling defeated today, hang in there. There is still something left in today that is worth the effort. It may be tiny, it may be silly, it may be hard to find, but it’s worth the wait. Hang in there and know that you are too amazing and too important to end it all now.

Yes, depression is real and tears flow sometimes more than we care to admit, but know that you are not alone in this fight. You are going to get through this day. Take a break or even a nap if you need one. It really is okay to not have everything all together. You are only human and even humans lose it from time to time. Give yourself permission to break down. Then take a deep breath, shake off the defeatist thoughts and move forward. You got this!!!

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

    Thanks again Penelope. We all face some problems and getting over them gives hope that MS doesn’t rule your life. Do you have some music that you can listen to and enjoy? I have found it can help.

  2. Jan Gudbrandsen
    Jan Gudbrandsen says:

    I want you to know how much you have encouraged me to get through the sad blue days that seem endless. Just knowing you’re here is such a blessing 😇 so keep up the excellent work encouraging all of us even when YOU yourself need the strength to go on. You’re like my guarding angel 😇 always beside me. Much ❤️ & hugs.

  3. Meeya
    Meeya says:

    Trying to send as much love and positive vibes in your direction as possible, dearest Penelope!

    • KaLyah Body...#~Ms. Body~#😉
      KaLyah Body...#~Ms. Body~#😉 says:

      Just KEEP 🏊🏾‍♀️… just KEEP 🏊🏾‍♀️❌ 🏊🏾‍♀️…FLOAT…FLOAT on FLOAT on ❌FLOAT…just lay there and 👀 whatever the case PLEASE just KEEP it movin!!!

  4. Tiffany
    Tiffany says:

    WOW Penelope you are so AWESOME at encouraging us all XOXOX I love every word you ever type because you nail it everytime!!! Yes we all have issues some small and some huge but the way you put it we all can be great warriors and conquer them all. THANK YOU Penelope 🙂 you really do rock!!! 🙂 stay strong you MS WARRIOR 🙂

  5. Shari
    Shari says:

    I think of you often Penelope, I often wonder how you find the courage to greet each day.
    MS just seems to take so much and yet somehow in some way you find a way to not only face your day but help so many other’s face their’s. You have been such an example of courage, not just for an one time event but living it out on a daily basis, all the while reaching out to other’s to help them face their day. It is your courage that has helped me through plenty of very dark days, so I hope you know the impact your life has on other’s, including many who find sharing on a public site difficult. Thank you from the masses out there who appreciate so very much for what you give, you touch so many lives. I hope you can feel the love out there!

  6. Christina
    Christina says:

    Penelope, of all the mail I get, I make sure to always read yours because I know, at the very least, it will make me smile if not uplift my spirits. I’m sorry to hear about your ms pains. It can get overwhelming at times; I can’t imagine going through what you are and still finding the strength to encourage all of us. That really is selfless. Hank you for that. Someone once told me “I have ms, ms does not have me.” I think that really applies to you!


  7. Mary E Slavik
    Mary E Slavik says:

    I really look forward to your column. It makes my day !! My husband has Alzheimers, and this plus Ms is very, very challenging. But when I read your column and what others have to say, it makes my problems a little lighter. Thank you so much. Mary E

  8. Jim Manner
    Jim Manner says:

    Penelope, you are an amazing woman. The battle is hard, I know, and yet you continue to put on a smile and try to inspire the rest of us each day. And you do! Thank you so much for what you do, despite the challenge that is on many days. Even though all of us don’t get together for the holidays, we are still a family, and we are here to love and support and encourage you, too!

    You are greatly appreciated and an inspiration to me!

  9. Leah
    Leah says:

    Don’t despair…because I care. You’re going through a rough patch now but tomorrow is a new day. Penelope, “queen” warrior” stay strong and know that you are appreciated, admired and loved…thanks for everything you do to motivate me. Have a delightful day!

  10. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    I love the encouragement, positivity, raw honesty and emotions I feel from every post by you, Penelope. Thank you for reminding us all that some days it is harder to be ok, and that’s ok. It doesn’t change who we ARE at our core……your outlook on life with MS is contagious. Thank you!

  11. Peggy
    Peggy says:

    THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO! I can so relate to all your posts Penelope and hope to Encourage You the encourager. You have no idea how many times your posts. Have helped me…like this one

  12. Carla L Broadbent Rogers
    Carla L Broadbent Rogers says:

    Once again you give me that Penelope Combo…..A hug and a kick in the behind. Be well. Time for coffee.

  13. KT
    KT says:

    I’m sorry you are struggling more these days. I can relate to reminders for reminders. You are such a strong person, you got this too. Your post reminds me of a saying, “we may not have it all together, but together we have it all”. We are all in this together…stay strong, warrior woman!

  14. Jode
    Jode says:

    You are an amazing woman Penelope. You help so many of us on this journey and I’m very grateful that you continue to push through and write to us. It helps me as I’m sure it helps many of us to know we are not alone in this battle. Lots of love and positive vibes.


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