Thursday, November 22, 2012

When MS Gets Agitated

The very word says it all, doesn't it?

"Agitate". Could be the phonemic structure of the 'dj' sound followed by the crisp 't' sounds that make a slight grinding sensation on some tiny nerve in my head. Like a nail file. Or something.

Over the past few weeks, I really don't like the way I've been 'feeling'. It's nothing that I'd traditionally be able to pinpoint, because I've run the full inventory. I can see just fine, aside from a slightly annoying nystagmus when reading tiny font. Mobility's good. Hearing's on point. Cognition is solid. Even the ol' bladder is holding it's own - pun intended. I give thanks to the Lord each day for these blessings and take none for granted.

So what's the problem? Well, it's taken a few weeks and at least 3 combustions for me to finally figure it out:  Agitation.

A new source of noise has been added to my work environment. It isn't a loud or shrill noise. You know what it reminds me of? A particular sound an Occupational Therapist I worked with used in small group therapy sessions for children with neurological differences. She would play a track of a man's monotone voice, which spoke a series of words that did not form sentences, at low to mid-range volume. She would then ask the children to play games together, answer educational questions, etc. They would become highly agitated...not by the games or her questions, but by trying to function through the nonsensical recording she used as background noise. Her answer to my question of what the goal of her treatment was in using this method? "To help them overcome their agitation in social situations." To which I said, "in what social situation is there an intermittent, monotone, nonsensical, sound occurring while you're trying to complete a task?" She said, "you'd be surprised!" We had a good laugh over it, and I have to say she was totally right...I am surprised.

I am mentally fatigued by the time I get home, not due to the work I perform, but due to this noise. By the end of the day, I'm ready to combust. By the end of the week? I combust. Sometimes, it's happened in front of others. And it makes me feel absolutely awful. I repeat: Absolutely. Awful.

I don't want to be this person. For years prior, I've been referred to as the 'most patient person', possessing that 'of a saint'. Where'd that go, for goodness sake? Because by Wednesday, the 'saint' has left the building.

But you know how we roll - those of us with super cool neurology - we compensate! So that's what I'm going to focus on. Compensating. Coping. Not combusting. Because people can't possibly understand the mechanisms behind a combustion...and it just makes me look like...a bad person. I'm not that. I don't want to be that. Ever. I want to reflect Christ in all I do. I consciously strive toward that goal each day. And I can't be like Him if I'm ready to slam my face into my monitor by 1pm.

Note to self:  Slamming face into monitor  portraying the woman I am in Christ.

I think I'm going to try a sound machine with white noise. And if that doesn't work...

I'll put on a face mask and go for it?


Muffie said...

Oh, Tina, I'm so sorry you have to go through this, but I know exactly what you mean. When people are talking in the background (especially more than one conversation,) you hear that almost humming noise. It freaks me out and it wears on me. I, too, try to be cool, and I try to just move past it, but I'm rarely successful. I go into total meltdown mode, and it's not pretty.
Right now, as I wait for family and friends, I'm listening to quiet music as I read blogs. Hopefully, it will calm me enough so I won't self-destruct when the noise begins.
Wishing you and your family a peaceful and blessed Thanksgiving.

Tina said...

Muff, thank you so much for commenting. I was honestly afraid it was just me...though I knew how certain sounds at certain pitches would bother the students I worked with.

I hope you had a beautiful Thanksgiving - sans meltdown!!!

May God continually bless you and yours <3

Terrie said...


I just found your blog and am so excited to read that others face the same challenges that I do.

I have been diagnosed since May '07, with the Dr.'s belief that I actually had MS for 7 - 10 years prior, but never had any symptoms.

I know how any type of additional noises can grate at you. From what I have researched it is because our "scabby" brains can no longer filter the important noise from the unimportant noise, and our brains work harder just to function in no noise.

So hang tough! Try to stay as positive as you can. I have semi-learned to see my outbursts coming before they actually happen, and have tried desperately to remove myself from any situation in which I am about to explode.

God Bless you!


Tina said...

Thank you for your note, Terrie! And thank you for your advice :-)

God bless you!!!