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The 7 Things in My 'Survival Kit' for Bad Days With Multiple Sclerosis

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When you’re chronically ill, one of the worst phrases you can hear is “flare day.” It’s a big phrase in chronic illness communities. I’ve been in a “flare” since my diagnosis with multiple sclerosis (MS) a little over two years ago, because my MS is a rare type without remission periods. I also have several other tagalong conditions with it, trigeminal neuralgia being the most pesky.

There’s no break for me. I don’t have “flare days.” My life is a flare. Since I’ve been sick so long I have a good idea of what I need to get by on those days when it’s too hard to push through. So here’s what’s in my bad day survival kit:

1. Pain medication and muscle rubs. I mean, more than I usually need. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.

2. Heating pad, gel cool patches or ice packs, for muscle stiffness or cramping. If heat doesn’t help, sometimes cold will. Cold can also help my intense headaches.

3. More pillows than you’d think one person could use. They often make me more comfortable, and who doesn’t love a pillow fort?

4. Water. Hydration is always important and I have problems with dehydration.

5. A support system. I’d be lost without my family and friends.

6. Comfort food. Lately, mine is a sweet cherry Pelican’s SnoBall.

7. Distractions. Reading, writing, crochet, social media sites, TV.

I hope my survival kit helps you think of ideas for your own. Let me know what you’d put in yours. Remember how strong you are. Turn to others for support and don’t forget that even the strongest people wobble sometimes.

Originally published: July 29, 2016
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