Sarah recalls the coping strategies her neuropsychologist suggested to cope with multiple sclerosis.
Well, the first that I was not crazy, and I wasn’t depressed and yes, there really was something going on with my cognition. She gave me medication which helps with the fatigue and helps with concentration. Those were the first things. She taught me strategies like using a Palm Pilot or some sort of electronic device to keep track of tasks and schedules because things like that would just always slide. Things that I can always keep in my head I just couldn’t do anymore.
She taught me how to communicate better with people about what was going on and what I needed, such as at work to say, “Listen, meetings in the hallway on the fly are not good, if you need something from me, you know, email me or let’s actually set up a time to meet. Or if you ask me something I don’t know the number is right away, it’s not because I don’t know, and I can’t do my job I just… give me a second to go back and look at it and trigger it.” It’s not that I haven’t done the work. I just need the cues to remember it. The information is there, I just have a hard time getting it out.
And that allowed me to structure my work environment so I could stay employed and move forward in my career. And then also with my family to say, you know just ways to communicate to say, instead of saying, “Oh, I can’t talk to you right now,” to sort of in one word communicate, “I need to concentrate on this, keep hold that thought I’ll be right… you know, bring it back to me just a minute.” And it’s a way to say all of that with one word which has been a lifesaver with family members and friends, too.
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