It’s Okay to Laugh at Your “MStakes”

Aoife Kirwan
Written by
Aoife Kirwan

My main symptom with multiple sclerosis is fatigue. It is my number one downfall. When I am struck with a bout of fatigue, my mind slows down. I do things absentmindedly and say things that I don’t mean. I use the wrong words, or I lose my train of thought completely. I am awful with my car keys. No matter how many times I designate a ‘place’ for them, it never works. There is a daily hunt for them and this is something I have accepted. I have tried things, leaving them on a hook, in a bowl, on the piano in my hallway, but nothing has worked so far. This week I managed to lose my purse and keys. I searched high and low for them. I enlisted the help of my seven year old son who, to no advantage, informed me that I would find them in the last place I had them. He couldn’t understand how I couldn’t manage to remember where that place was.

During the search for my purse and keys I began thinking of ways in which my MS has affected my concentration and cognition. I think it is my main concern. However, I find it hard not to laugh at the little mistakes or “MStakes” I make. If I took it all too seriously it would be unbearable, so I laugh when I can.

Once, I left the house having forgotten to put on my skirt. I had leggings on, so it was not a huge deal, but the fact remains that I left the house without my skirt. I often take wrong turns on routes I know well. For example, if I am on my way to do the grocery shopping and I think of something my son needs for school, I find myself on the school route instead of to the grocery store. I leave keys in the door, forget to lock the door. Last week my little boy Adam called from the shower asking for a towel, and as it was close to bedtime I absentmindedly found myself telling him to lie down and go to sleep. Thankfully he is able to see the humor in these things too. He just laughs and often points out what I have said, to an oblivious me.

As cheesy as it sounds, the key to laughing about your MStakes is to think on the bright side. When you invite people to laugh with you, they can identify and listen to you in a playful way. In fact, using laughter as a coping mechanism is a tool used by so many great comedians, including Maysoon Zayid. Check out her TED talk “I got 99 problems…palsy is just one” for some hilarious motivation.

Of course, I’m human and sometimes I can’t laugh at it. I get very frustrated when trying to get my point across and forgetting what I was trying to say mid-sentence. But when it is funny, it’s funny!

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