Tristan Ben Mahjoub/PhotoSpin
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune condition where the myelin of the central nervous system is destroyed by the immune system.
MS is unpredictable. Living with multiple sclerosis means constantly living with the possibility of symptoms flaring up, often without warning.
Cognitive skills can take a drubbing when flareups of symptoms occur. Short-term memory can take a dive. You forget names, appointments, things that are normally simple become too difficult to wade through.
Concentration becomes foggy, and you may be all too easily distracted and derailed. Continuity suffers and things become fragmented.
Solving problems, making plans, and taking iniative, are no longer normal parts of day-to-day life when MS symptoms are bad. Instead they may be overwhelming and impossible.
According to MSfocus.org, conceptual reasoning, recent memory, sustained attention, verbal fluency, and visual-spatial perception are most often impaired functions for those with MS.
Immediate memory, remote memory and language are less frequently affected.
1) Break things down.
Healthy people don't notice the complexity in much of everyday life. But people dealing with cognitive problems become intensely aware of the multiple levels of many mundane tasks.
Learning to break tasks down into smaller, more manageable steps may get you all the way from Point A to Point B, and maybe even beyond.
2) Rest when you need to -- and before you need to.
Knowing when to take breaks and stop everything for a rest can also mean the difference between getting something accomplished, or nothing.
It may not seem fair that the person with cognitive impairment is also the one who needs to be continually monitoring their cognitive levels, and adjusting their expectations and activity accordingly. But doing so can make the difference between a good day and a bad one.
3) Surround yourself with people who understand.
Take every opportunity to explain what things are like for you, and don't be reluctant to speak loudly and clearly when you need something from others.