Living With the Creepy Crawlies
Imagine taking part in the British reality TV show I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here. Your task for that week is lying in a coffin-shaped Perspex case whilst being covered in spiders. I’ll wait here whilst you beat up your devices.
Okay? Not sure anybody has returned, but I shall carry on regardless. Welcome to I Have RLS...Get It Away From Me!! This is my layman’s terms introduction to restless legs syndrome (RLS) for those of you who maybe live with a sufferer and don’t want to bombard them with questions, or maybe you have checked your symptoms on Doctor dot net so you’re here looking for further information, or you’re just here visiting us! Welcome one and all.
An unshakeable feeling
Do you have an amorous partner who likes to run their fingers gently up and down your legs? That is my basic analogy for RLS. Now add that feeling when you’re trying to get away from a buzzy thing up the garden in the summer and it just keeps following you.
That is the frustration we feel when we are unable to shake the creepy sensation (literally and figuratively!), shaking legs and arms to try and hopefully get the sensitivity to pop out the end of the offending limb!
Unable to keep still
Forever moving would be great, if we had anywhere to go. Unfortunately, the local shops don’t open 24 hours a day, so you find yourself doing laps of the lounge or house.
If you have light-sleeping partners or do not wish to disturb the entire family, you end up jiggling from your bed, doing the RLS hokey-cokey, limbs in, out, and shaking them all about totally describes the movements that may hopefully give you a nanosecond of relief.
Pacing around the couch
Have you ever watched a film from behind the sofa?? Not because it’s a horror movie, but because you physically cannot stay still. Trying to keep a plotline straight in your head whilst walking up and down behind the couch is an art in itself!
Self-soothing in my sleep
Wearing holes in clothing is a new and interesting twist on an old story for me. It turns out that I self-soothe in my sleep, meaning I have been rubbing holes in my leggings near my ankles because they get so much friction. I am going to become a fire risk soon if I’m not careful!
RLS' terrible timing
In summary, it sounds intriguing to the non-sufferer that someone can have a condition that affects them in every part of their lives just because they have a symptom as bizarre as a creepy feeling in their legs.
If it happened primarily during the day, it might not be so bad, as you could actively walk it away by exhausting yourself to the point of abject tiredness. But the time of day it affects people is its main debilitating factor.
Maybe working night shift in a supermarket, stacking shelves might be an answer. Unfortunately, RLS tends to be a limpet condition. It attaches itself to you and all your other medical problems, just to make an already stressful life even more frustrating.
At what age were you diagnosed with RLS?