The "invisible" symptoms that are common with relapsing-remitting MS and many other chronic illnesses can be the bane of our lives. It's difficult enough to manage them, as they're constantly fluctuating like a changing tide. But in some ways, it's even more difficult to explain them to others. The effect this has on our personal relationships can be the hardest part for me. The reaction of family, colleagues, and friends to my MS diagnosis was frustrating at the time for many reasons. One thing that particularly stood out was that I looked fine and healthy on the outside, except for the occasional myoclonus, or sudden jerking spasms. Other than that, my symptoms were all invisible (until I experienced paralysis 18 months later). I've since come to realize how difficult it must be to understand something you can’t see. I barely understood it myself. I felt like a hurricane was tearing through me. My nerves were becoming raw and exposed, and I grew increasingly out of touch with the world around me. I've tried for a long time not to worry about what people think of me, but I can’t say I'm entirely there yet. MS also causes me less-than-dignified problems, such as bladder and bowel weakness. This is very difficult to deal with, especially when I'm out in public. Additionally, mobility issues come into play. It's become apparent to me that the body's core is an important factor in moderating our excretion systems. I use a wheelchair and a mobility scooter, but when I occasionally walk around and my core grows tired, that's usually when bad accidents happen. My mobility is tied to a fluctuation of balance issues, spasms, spasticity, and numbness, which vary by the day, the hour, and even the minute. For example, I've arrived at the doctor's office with one set of symptoms only to see them change by the time the doctor performed neurological exams. It's exhausting. One important step forward is accepting that living with MS is an endless battle. Understanding the nature of the beast that is MS can help us eventually slay this dragon. Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.