Mood Changes in MS
The Many Moods of MS
What’s in a Name?
Our blog is titled "Sleeping With MS," but that is really a misnomer. We are actually living with MS. It’s not just Brad, but all of us. Sometimes MS is a behind-the-scenes nuisance and sometimes it's at the forefront of our daily lives. Then sometimes it is right in your face, especially when it comes to the emotional upheaval caused by MS.
So many people talk about their MS symptoms, but they rarely hit upon the emotional aspect. People don’t always want to admit they suffer from depression. A lot of times others don’t understand and treat it like you should be able to do better or feel better. Like it’s your own fault, instead of recognizing depression as a disease to be treated.
The Chicken or the Egg — Both!
So the question is, does MS cause emotional problems or does living with MS cause the problems? I think it’s both. I know that when Brad started experiencing symptoms, depression was one of the first. We did not know where it came from at the time, but you could not miss it. He was suffering from depression as a symptom, even before he knew he had MS. Then also, he has had depression related to his loss of abilities, social isolation from leaving the workforce, and guilt from having to place extra burdens on others. It is very tough for a young husband and father to no longer be able to hold a full time job, which took his emotions to a whole new ‘low.’
Over the last decade he has been to many doctors and one psychiatrist to figure out what he can do about his depression, anxiety, and mood swings. He was prescribed several different medications at varying dosages to find what works best.
I am sure that the medications he takes for symptom management also contribute to his emotional troubles. Some medications make him sleepy and some more awake. It’s a cocktail designed for emotional chaos. Brad tries to balance his medications with a lot of naps and exercise. He takes himself out of the picture for a little while at a time to take care of his needs, and so far this seems to work.
Being Candid and Open About MS Depression
When the anxiety and mood swings become a problem for us, we have learned to talk about it. It's not easy to talk to someone about their depression and anxiety, especially if they are not recognizing the symptoms. It has become even more important to have this open communication between us. I need to be able to tell him how I feel and what I see. He has learned to trust in my assessment of the situation. So even when he can’t distinguish his depression from sleepiness or stress he knows I have his best interests at heart.
Initially Brad did not want me to write on this topic. He felt shame about his depression and at times blames himself, I wish he wouldn't. I felt that it was important because there are probably so many suffering like he does and it’s important to be open about it. If you are reading this and suffering emotionally from MS or any other illness make sure you speak to your doctor about it. There are so many ways to treat it today that no one should suffer.
Video: The Many Moods of Ms. G...
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