of something that happened in your life to you that is a funny memory –
something that reminds you about an experience that you had, before Multiple Sclerosis entered your life.
if you have problems remembering what you are doing or what happened to
you last week or what someone said to you recently, you still can
remember something about yourself. You are still you. That hasn't
How do I know this, because I have been there too. I have battled with more severe MS memory problems off and on, since I was given the Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. It is not easy when you could remember things before MS, but now you can not remember as much or as well as you did before.Let
me give you an example of what I am talking about. I have a funny
story that has to do with me and my good memory before Multiple Sclerosis entered my life.
When I was in college, I had a Theater class. I heard the teacher was very good and made it
a fun class to take. I have a brother,
Dan, who is 13 months older than me and we went to the same college. My brother and I did not take the same
classes at the same time, except for this one, which we did take together. This was a play directing class.
The teacher divided us into play acting
groups and we had to pick a director. We
then were given a 1960s play called “Light Up The Sky” to perform a scene
from. The scene that we performed was a
cast party for a group of actors on the opening night of the play that they
were performing together. The play was called a comedy, but that did not mean
that the play was supposed to be funny.
This just meant that the play was not a tragedy.
My brother ended up in the same play acting group as I did. Our play acting group was mostly women and
more of the parts were male than female.
I liked the character for the main male part, but my brother ended up
with that part because the main female character had many lines to remember and
she also was all over the stage talking to every other character, since she was
the hostess of the cast party. The main
female character had to know where she had to be and she had to be able to
remember who she had to talk to next and the rest of the women in our play
acting group did not have very good memories, like I did at the time.
Before Multiple Sclerosis entered my life, I had a very good
memory, and so did my brother (who does not have MS). I did not want to play the main female
character because she had to go around calling everyone “Darling” and acting very
girlie (and I was not that girlie). But I
played the part anyway, because my theater teacher specifically asked me to do
it. I was not sure that I could do well with
this part because I had to step so far out of character from what my own normal
At the beginning of the scene that we were acting out, I had
to do a dramatic faint. I could not do
it to save my life. My younger sister
could do this, so she tried to teach me, with no success. During the rehearsals within the last
before we did the play, I could not get into character. We had to come up with
our own costumes and props for the play we were performing. My mother sews and she decided to make me a
The costume that my mother made looked like the type of
long flowing dressing gown that many of the actresses wore in the older movies that we had
seen on TV and she dyed it pink by soaking it in beet juice until it developed
the color that she wanted. Once I put on
the costume for the dress rehearsal, before we did the play, I became the
character that I was playing. My theater
teacher told me that she never saw anyone do that before and I told her that the
costume was everything to me and made the difference.
The only thing that the costume did not help me with was the
dramatic faint. When we actually
performed the play, before a real audience, the scene opened with me doing the
dramatic faint. I was very nervous
before we started performing our scene and I was very tense. I could not relax. So when I did the dramatic faint, it looked
like someone had just chopped down a tree.
I fell onto a couch, so that I would not hurt myself, but the who whole
audience broke out laughing for at least 5 to 10 minutes straight.
We had to wait until the laughter died down before we could
continue the scene.
I thought that I would be so embarrassed when the whole audience broke
out laughing hysterically, but it actually felt like a relief and I finally
relaxed after this.
This actually helped me to do better for the rest of the scene.
But, if that was not enough, halfway through the scene, I
went blank. I totally forgot my
lines. My brother happened to be
standing near me at that point and he tried to prompt me to help me remember my
lines, but it did not help at all. I remembered
that somehow I was supposed to end up on the opposite side of the stage. I remembered what my lines should be when I
arrived at the other side of the stage, but how was I going to get there? So, I improvised and just made up anything
off the top of my head just so that I could get to the other side of the
stage. I confused everyone else in the
scene, because I spoke to people that I was not supposed to speak to and I
shook hands with people that I was not supposed to shake hands with.
My theater teacher was standing on the side of the stage
while we were performing the scene and she was frantically flipping through the
pages of the script, trying to figure out what I was doing. When I finally
arrived at the opposite side of the stage, I went back to what my lines should
have been. My theater teacher finally
figured out where I was at that point and had a look of relief on her face. My theater told me afterwards that she never
saw anyone do this before. She said to
me – you forgot your lines didn’t you.
I said yes I did, but I remembered that I needed to somehow get to the
other side of the stage. She said to me
– you made that all up off the top of your head didn’t you? I said yes I did. Then my theater teacher told me that people
in the audience didn’t suspect anything was wrong, because I did such a good
job improvising. At this, both my theater teacher and I laughed about all of this.
During the play, we also had a make-shift bar set up on the side of the stage and
the actors were supposed to go to the bar periodically throughout the scene to
get a drink. My brother, Dan, had the main male character part, who had to go to the
bar at least 10 to 15 times throughout the scene. My brother is a real ham and he did something
goofy each time that he went to the bar.
We did not actually have anything to drink during the scene, but one of
the other actresses had brought in fake plastic champagne glasses that we could
use as props during the play, that added to the effect of the bar in the scene. My
brother went to
the bar so many times that many of the people in the audience were
most of the time and counting how many times that he went to the bar
and to see what he would do the next time that he went to the bar.
After my play acting group was done acting out the scene and
the lights became brighter again, we received a standing ovation. That was incredible! I loved it!
That was so much fun at the time!
My point with telling you this story is that when we have MS
memory problems, this can sometimes leave us feeling like we are not a whole
person any more. But that is not
true. You are still who you are. You may not be able to remember things like
you could before Multiple Sclerosis entered your life and took away your
ability to do a few or many things that you could do before. You
may not be able to remember what you did yesterday or what someone said to you
recently, but I would suggest that there are some memories from your past that
you do remember. Some memories are good
and some are not.
But choose something
that you remember about yourself – something good or funny or brings back good memories about your past experiences
and use these memories to remember who you are or ask your friends to help to remind you about reliving the good memories to help you remember
your life does matter. You are
still you. That has not changed just
because you can not do the things that you could before Multiple Sclerosis entered your life and
reduced your abilities to function.
Whether you can walk or not, you are still a valuable human
for ways to be involved somehow in the world around you and connect socially with other
people. Volunteer somewhere or try to help encourage other people not
to give up or help other people to learn to laugh again. I find
that doing these type of things not only helps others, but it helps me
not to feel like giving up so much when I take my focus off of me and
my problems for even a short period of time. We all need each other somehow.
There are also ways that can help reduce your symptoms of
MS. I have found that there are
alternative and natural ways that can help to reduce the effects of MS on our
bodies and help us to function better.