Multiple Sclerosis Community
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667078 tn?1316004535

MS and Depression

It is easy to slip into medical depression and not realize it. Some of the depression related to MS is situational. Having an illness which causes so many medical problems. Financial strain. Relationship issues with changing rolls with family and at work. Our career defining who we are and the loss or changes in careers.Then there is as Shakespeae said "the Strains and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune and the thousand Natural shocks that Flesh is err to." Loss of family members and friends.

Also with MS being neurological stress and just plain missed fired signals can cause a chemical imbalance in the brain. Also Seasonal Affective Disorder with days getting shorter.

The tricky part of Depression is sneaks up on you. The person with Depression might be the last person to recognize it. It is one of the few illnesses that tells you you do not have it Denial is a big factor.

There are things you can do once you recognize it. Medications and counseling. Spending time with friends you can do an activity and not talk. Spending time with animals. Getting mild exercise even chair aerobics. Laughter a funny joke or a happy movie.

I found myself getting depressed first friends called me on it and I denied. Then family. Finally my family doctor. She explained I had plenty to be depressed about with MS and Cancer but I did not have to be miserable. I was on a antidepressant but she gave me something else.

I have been prone to depression my whole life and have had MS since 1965. I still get embarrassed by it. I would not look badly to anyone else with depression. I just think I should fix it myself. My hardest thing is being at the Cancer Center every Thursday for over a year. I have to wait, and get a needle put in my port, be examined, drink contrast which tastes like yuck and wait an hour for a CT every two months.Then wait hours for the results. Even once a month I have to wait an hour was they make over twenty appointment they will change later. I have to be asked the same questions over and over in a day. They take my blood pressure and temperature twice each visit. I sometimes feel like a sheep. I waited for a blood draw for and hour last week then they came out and said "I'm sorry you do not need a blood draw today".  I never dreamed that in my early 50's I would spend so much time at the hospital. When they are pumping in the chemo in I just want to get up and walk out but I can't. So yes I am human, yes I get depressed. Yes I do take medication to keep from punching people.

17 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi Alex. I don't have cancer or anything else so bad, so I don't often feel justified in complaining or feeling as if I have it tough. I'm very much a stiff upper lip, suck it up kind of person, and don't want others to know when things are bad with me. And that's just physically--much less mentally or emotionally. Yet sometimes I have to drop the guard and acknowledge it when I'm having a rough time.

2914 has been horrific for me from a physical health standpoint. Not just MS, but several other issues that make my life kinda difficult, to say the least. Various other things have happened in my personal life that have been hard to bear, and I'm getting old and less able to bear them, it seems. I've never thought of myself as depressed, and really I still don't, yet I don't quite understand where situational stuff stops and real depression begins, or whether there's actually a difference.

This is all to say that though I don't and can't truly understand your life struggles, in the past and now, not having had the same experiences (but some quite similar), I can still reach out my hand in friendship. As always, I do care. Please continue to reach out here whenever you feel the need to, knowing that others are here for you. If it helps even a bit to share, that's a good thing.


Avatar universal
Thanks Alex for sharing this with us; I too think many of us are in the Denial stage for depression.  We go thru so much that no one can see and if we mention all of our problems, we do get uncomprehending looks; I have friends who think my Tysabri infusion should just bring me back to normal, just like them.  There is the "but didn't you just have an infusion", and it takes all the patience I have to smile.

I think I need to bring this up with my neuro next month, my list is getting longer for him…..sigh…..
9745005 tn?1410047966
I'm still in limbo and not certain yet what new hand I've been dealt,  but would really like a reshuffle!  My Mom has made mention that I seem depressed, and I think, how the heck CAN'T I be?  All this uncertainty and symptoms and watching others do so easily what I took for granted as being able to do myself just a few short months ago...heck ya, I'm depressed, bummed out, angry and struggling...but I'm slowly learning, that , although I'm not to the point I feel I need medication..the person I really need to "stop from punching" is myself!!  Trying to grant myself a little grace as I go about my day in a new and different manner...and allow myself to feel the most logical feelings I now have because of this curve ball!    Hugs to you!
987762 tn?1331031553
I know depression and anxiety very well, but for me it's only ever been second hand, someone who's forever lived through the chaos and gluing the pieces back together.....

I don't really know why I'm more like dad than my bipolar mum, sure genetics plays it's part but i'm a big big believer in nurture, maybe there's just truth in children either being the same or the total opposite. What ever it is that stops me from falling into chaos, may never be known but i like to believe the consistent state of my mental health, has something to do with me always focusing on the positives in my life, no matter what!    

I maybe just kidding my self, that my choices are protective of my mental health, I chose to take a brake to save my sanity but it's stretched out to 4 years now and i'm still okay with not being officially diagnosed. To be honest I think it's easier for me to cope with everything, if I can keep telling my self i'm fine and can get through this. lol By no stretch of the imagination am I ever going to fit the definition of 'fine', logically i know that but it helps me regardless and officialdom will take away my crutch and i'm still not ready!

I have always felt that people who live with disability no matter what it is, are stronger than able bodied people will ever realise, it takes true strength to keep getting back up.....


PS keep looking after your self, find your sunshine!  
Avatar universal
Hi Alex,
I can hear the pain and frustration in your post. I just want to say that I'm sorry that you have to endure so much. I agree that depression and anxiety definitely can sneak up on you.
We found out when our oldest was 5 that he had a tethered spinal cord and spina bifida and with in  a few weeks he underwent spinal surgery. After surgery had neurogenic bladder and had to start self cathing. A year later another spinal surgery then ended up with spinal meningitis.  Another year a foot surgery followed by 3 more foot surgeries from the nerve damage causing him to develop foot deformities. Then within a few years of all of this  our youngest started having issues and we found out he has Chiari malformation. I look back and wonder how we got through all of this but we did.
Then my MS diagnosis and this was the last straw. I was in such a hole and I couldn't breathe. I constantly felt like I had a brick on my chest. This is when I became very open to medication for depression and anxiety. I have to say it's helped so much. Is life easy, no, but I feel more equipped to handle things without caving. I still have very sad days but I feel I can bounce out now.
You have every right to feel like you want to punch something. Allow yourself that cause your human and your life isn't easy. You are one tough lady Alex and I get a lot of strength from reading your posts.
I'm sending you many HUGS and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
My very best regards, barb
667078 tn?1316004535
Thanks for all your posts I really respect all of you for what you have been through.

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