The ‘Restless Leg Syndrome’

by on September 16, 2021 · 1 comment

in Ocean Beach

By Edwin Decker / Exclusive to the OB Rag

Hi Ed, I have a condition commonly known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The symptoms of my particular brand of ADHD are . . . excessive fidgeting, impulsiveness, disruptive arguing, interrupting others and inappropriate speech among other things. I get how this can be frustrating for my loved ones, but many of them think that it’s, “All in my head” and that with a little effort I can “get over it.” Any advice?

ADHD chick

Dear Chick, I must say, in the 21st century, it’s hard to believe everyone isn’t hip to the very real symptoms of ADHD. That’s why I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t a fake question. Apologies if you’re the real deal. The last thing I want is to dismiss you in the manner which your friends and family have. Therefore, I will afford the benefit of the doubt and respond in kind. If it happens that you are trolling, no biggie. It concerns a subject about which I’ve been thinking anyway.

The reason I’ve been thinking about this sort of thing is because my mother has recently been stricken with an affliction that, like yours, is often dismissed. It’s called restless leg syndrome (RLS) and despite common perception, RLS blows giant chunks of raw, steaming suckage.

I remember about 15 years ago, when we first started hearing about RLS. The FDA approved two drugs that helped with the symptoms, Requip and Mirapex, and the manufacturers began flooding the market with ads.

The backlash was swift. The syndrome was instantly ridiculed by comedians, journalists, politicians, and the general public. The running barb was that it wasn’t a real thing; that people with RLS were complainers, or hypochondriacal, or – as the more conspiracy-minded had theorized – was a disease fabricated by the pharmaceutical companies to line their pockets.

In 2014, Nick DiPaolo said, “I didn’t realize how badly the pharmaceutical companies were raping us till I saw a commercial for restless leg syndrome.”

Comedian Ben Bailey smirked, “What kind of horseshit . . . is restless leg syndrome? I have no idea what constitutes a syndrome but it’s a hell of a lot more serious than some freakin’ wiggly legs.”

Jayson Cross opined in 2011, “Restless leg syndrome is definitely made up. That is the dumbest damn disease I ever heard in my life.”

According to, “Even Consumer Reports . . .  mocked and questioned the claims of an RLS drug ad.”

The list goes on, and most of it was as nasty as it was ignorant. But I get it. Comedians make jokes that aren’t necessarily anchored in reality. However, it was all part of an anti-RLS media tsunami that caused many to think it’s, “All in their head” and that they should just, “Get over it.”

It’s hard to blame them though. As low hanging comedy fruit goes, RLS was an overripe peach lying at the foot of the tree. I mean, “restless leg syndrome” sounds like a mild annoyance – like when you repeatedly re-cross your legs during a Brendan Frasier film because your feet hate the movie as much as you do. Whoever named the thing was probably the same person who named sweetbreads and if I were the king of coining things, I would have called RLS the, “Please Cut It Off Before I Shoot Somebody in the Nostril Syndrome.”

I know this because Every night, my mom’s legs would lurch her out of sleep multiple times until, in utter defeat, she’d get out of bed and watch CNBC which – under normal conditions could knock out a whale – and wait for the tremors to subside. And this is with the medication. Forget about without.

According to, “Restless legs syndrome, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, can . . .  disrupt sleep, which interferes with daily activities.”

Well no shit, Sigmund. Disruption of sleep interferes with daily activities? That’s like saying frontal lobotomies disrupt thinking activities. And while restless leg syndrome doesn’t sound as horrible as, say, Necrotizing fasciitis, the disruption of sleep is no laughing matter. I can tell you, after watching my mother deal, it’s an ever-loving nightmare. Not because it’s painful. But because it’s like hiccups – that last for days. And anyone who has had hiccups for any length of time can attest that after 90 minutes, you’re ready to stick a shotgun in somebody’s nostril.

None of this is to suggest I’m against RLS jokes per se. I think everything is open to humor, even Necrotizing fasciitis. But it should come from a place of knowledge. The idea that someone is being a pansy when they complain or seek comfort from RLS is as inane as suggesting a Tourrete sufferer should choose a better outburst than, “Fistfucking fartlicker.”

People are quick to criticize what they don’t understand so, in my opinion, you have one option. Make them understand. And I don’t mean by simply telling them how much RLS sucks, but by sharing articles and descriptions from credible medical sites. Point them to an RLS Facebook support group where they can read the testimonials. Heck, give them this article so they can read this paragraph in which I tell them, “Hey, fuckface fartlickers! RLS is real. Be supportive.”

If their attitude doesn’t change, I recommend – as I have countless times before – that you employ The Serenity Prayer. In fact, there is a special, revised serenity prayer that was written for people in your exact situation. It’s called ADHD Psalm of Tranquility.

“God Grant me the serenity to accept my dumb family’s dumb dismissal of my stupid ADHD; the courage to change my dumb family’s dismissal of my stupid ADHD on the off chance there is a semblance of humanity still in them, and the wisdom to tell them to go hump a diseased chipmunk if I can’t tell the difference. Amen.

Edwin Decker does not mean to make light of Necrotizing Fascitis. It is a serious disease that is no laughing matter. If you or a loved one has Necrotizing Fascitis, please visit the Necrotizing Fascitis Foundation.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Chris September 16, 2021 at 5:19 pm

Robert Klein was joking about it before there was even a name:


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