MS’in with Depression
Updated: Dec 27, 2019
Many people are eager to discuss what the definition of depression is and the symptoms it’s associated with, but most are too ashamed or uncomfortable to personally relate to the matter and share their own experiences. I was that person for a long time, and partially still am due to the social stigma that is placed on depression and not having a safe space to confide in. Up until recently I didn’t add two and two together: that depression was a common symptom of MS, but then I considered the course of this illness, where demyelination of the nerves in the brain in areas that can affect how we generate moods and emotions, and it became more clear.
For that past couple of weeks I’ve been putting blogging and posting on Instagram on the back burner because I haven’t been feeling myself. There was a gentle sadness/frustration/irritability that crept up on me and before I knew it, I was drowning in my own sadness. I didn’t know where this rooted feeling came from but the crocodile tears flowed so easily, so fast and sometimes for reasons I didn’t know why. Before I knew it, I was feeling alone, scared and hopeless for my future. I didn’t want to be on the phone, socialize, be around pets, shower, change my clothes or even speak for that matter. I only wanted to lay in bed and stare at the walls.
Unfortunately, this is what most people experience when they are depressed, occasionally accompanied by feelings of anger, worthlessness, lack of concentration, overeating or not eating enough and sometimes suicidal thoughts/ideations. These feelings can be felt all the time, in certain environments or triggered by psychological causes. The onset of depression is never clearly understood and it can consume you with little or no warning. It can come as a shock to some folks while to others it can be expected, and the killing part is, we tend to feel it’s necessary to hide our depression or our sad feelings from others out of fear of being judged or misunderstood and often leave it untreated. At least, I know I do.
To my surprise, after researching about the connection between depression and MS I learned that cases of depression associated with MS are most often misdiagnosed, denied or receive no treatment because the treatment process was “challenging” in deciphering if the depressive state developed from a disorder alone or from the demyelination.
Symptoms that I’ve experienced are feelings of fatigue, of course, indecisiveness, irritability and mood swings of which are also simultaneously present in those with a demyelinating condition. For a while I guess you could say I didn’t consider these things as signs of depression because I knew them as signs of MS. I ran away from the idea that I could possibly be depressed. It took a loved one to tell me that I was indeed “dEpReSsEd” and that I could benefit from seeking guidance from a professional.. and I have to admit that it hurt to hear in the moment but I knew in my soul that they were right, I just wasn’t ready to accept it, but after giving it some thought I know that I want to be a better and happier version of myself for myself and for my partner.
I ran through all of the possibilities of what could have brought this along, other than casual daily life stressors. I ruled out that my depression could also be a symptom of my new medication, changes to my environment and personal growth and going through new and stressful situations that I’ve never experienced before. Change and growth are definitely not negative aspects to life but the realization can be scary and overwhelming, and no one is alone in feeling this way.
During times like these when my mood is low and I have little energy for most things, I try to distract myself with positive things like music, art and roller skating, and sometimes all at the same time. Roller skating, particularly allows me to get out of the sunken place and focus on a different aspect of myself. While it’s not professional therapy, it’s a quick daily fix that gets me back on track.
Having depression is no one’s fault and it’s definitely nothing to be ashamed of, especially when you have a loving support system who encourages you to be open and honest about your thoughts and feelings. If you ever feel things are too rough, seek guidance from a close friend, a family member or even a licensed professional. It’s never too late to get things turned around in your favor. 💕
I hope this inspires you to feel what you feel and let it be real.
With Love As Always,