I have MS, but you wouldn’t know by looking at me. Many MS symptoms can be invisible to people around you, or hard to notice. One of the most common symptoms is sight issues like optical neuritis. For me, one of my eyes will twitch in a random direction making me think there is something next to me. There never is. You can appear fine, and be in constant pain at the same time. Sometimes my skin is so sensitive that my body feels like it is on fire, or like someone is poking me with hot needles.
Or you can feel like you have insects crawling all over you. I’m often paranoid my house is full of fleas. Of course, it isn’t. Lots of people talk about ‘The MSHug’, where you feel you are being squeezed tightly by an invisible force. Dizziness is a common MS symptom. When I stand up quickly and look at the ground, it feels like I’m twenty feet tall. And if I turn too fast, I stumble and fall like I’ve had too many drinks.
Everyone gets tired, but MS fatigue can turn that up to eleven. I can wake up after a perfect night’s sleep and feel completely drained. Fatigue also affects all the other MS symptoms, and when it’s hot, it gets worse. Brain Fog is a big one. My head can feel like it’s full of cement, and the word I’m looking for can be just ‘on the tip of my tongue’ but never arrive.
And people with MS are three times more likely to suffer from depression, leaving you feeling sluggish, empty, low, and unable to concentrate or make decisions. Because I don’t always look sick, people don’t understand what I’m going through. But you don’t have to see my MS symptoms, to believe them.
Here we have the brain of someone who’s suffering from multiple sclerosis. You’ll notice that there are these bright spots that are found located throughout the brain, known as plaques. These plaques are also referred to as lesions. A lesion is really just a piece of damaged tissue. Now, note how these plaques are forming in different parts of the brain, so the really important thing to keep in mind, is that different parts of the brain will be responsible for different functions.
Some parts may be involved in vision, movement, touch, cognition, and even emotion, so you can get dysfunction in each of these categories, depending on where the lesion formed. For example, if you have a lesion that forms in parts that are responsible for vision, or for seeing, then you won’t really be able to see as well. As it turns out, visual symptoms are actually among the first symptoms that people usually experience in MS, so I’m gonna be talking about those first. I’m gonna show you here pictures of the eye.
At the back of the eye, you have this structure over here, called the optic nerve. The optic really just carries all the visual information picked up from the eye to the rest of the brain. As it turns out, its actually a pretty common site for lesion formation, so let’s say we have a lesion that, you know, maybe it forms around here. If you get lesions in the optic nerve, then you can imagine that there will be a lot of problems with the vision. It’s not as severe as total blindness, but, in general, your vision is impaired. Let’s say you go to the eye doctor.