If you have ever felt defeated, know that you are not alone

Have you ever felt like your whole life was falling apart before your very eyes and that 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, fear and too much uncertainty to manage?

If you have ever felt defeated 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.

It was then that 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 defeated the enemy.

I wish more people understood that every day living with multiple sclerosis I am attempting the impossible, and just like that ant I fail more than once…but I don’t quit. I push, get exhausted, try some more, fail, rest, but still get up and try again.

My entire life seems to be one giant push. I push through pain, weakness, dizziness, blurred vision, muscle spasms, and a lack of sleep. I push and keep on pushing at everything I do. Nothing comes easy, not even something as simple as a trip to the mailbox. I actually have mail in my mailbox that has been out there for a few days. At some point today I will venture outside to get it, I’m just not in a hurry.

Sometimes we need a little ant to remind us that we can do it. That this fight is worth it. That we can make it. That even though things look as if they are impossible, there is still some possibility there. Today, let me be that ant.

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…now PUSH!

MS Gets on My NervesMS WarriorMS Superhero


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

    Thanks Penelope that’s very like the Scottish story about the spider but with the same result. We do need to keep trying, as long as it’s the right way to improve your life. It’s a bit useless if it is wrong for you and makes you worse. Before you waste your energy check what you are doing. I have had several ideas that may help me but they were all wrong so I don’t need to waste my time on them. They seemed right when I got them but other people had other ways that did help. This was totally due to my ignorant ideas as I had no idea what was around and I tried to work it out from not enough information.

  2. Tiffany
    Tiffany says:

    Penelope I love your ant story 😊 it really gives me encouragement to push up my big mountain and move forward 😬🌷thanks you’re the best 👍🏼😊

  3. Jan
    Jan says:

    Penelope….Thank you for that story of the ant!! I was that ant these past few months pushing myself to the limit and beyond till I collapse in exhaustion each night. My husband & I are in the process of moving to another state to have better MS care. He’s 72 & I’m 68 with MS for over 20 yrs. I can’t believe I’m getting through each day when all I want to do is cry in defeat. But like that ant, I keep pushing!! I know days are ahead!! Jan 😘


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