Vicki from the MS community: How can an MSer best manage the unpredictable nature of their condition at work?
Heidi Bowcher, Specialist Neuro Occupational Therapist: Yes, I mean this will always be a challenge, it’s going to be part of the MS story, journey, really. I think it’s to do with being reasonable yourself with your own lifestyle, possibly, that it’s balancing what you do in your spare time, your weekends, how that may impact on work. And it may be that you have to accept possibly not working fulltime hours, because it’s just impossible to have a good life, work/life balance, as well as doing well at work. So you can’t really expect to party all weekend and then get to work. I mean many people still push themselves to do that, but quite often there then can be a boom/bust cycle, then you can crash and be unwell for quite a few days. So I think it’s finding what is a reasonable balance, I think, but maybe at times it might be accepting what’s realistic to achieve and what hours you can do that in. Does that answer your question?
Vicki: Well, you mentioned a boom/bust cycle, I’d be really interested to hear a little bit more about what that entails.
Heidi Bowcher: I think people can have much better days, and so they suddenly get a lift and feel their energy come back and then they can feel, oh, I’ve got the whole house to clean, I think I’d better start that one now, and then do a massive sort of spring clean of the house, say, rather than doing it in short, short sort of small steps and resting in between. But unfortunately, with the MS condition, that can actually exacerbate symptoms, that you push yourself a wee bit too far. And then unfortunately there can be a bit more of a crash where the body has to catch up and recover. And then you can actually dip back further down than you would have had if you’d just done things more at a gentle pace, really. Which I know must be really frustrating, because when you get the good day you want to make the most of it.
Vicki: So it’s about rationing the energy?
Heidi Bowcher: Yes, absolutely.
Vicki: Okay, great. Thank you.