Everyone faces moments in life where things may not be picture perfect. For some, it is easy to “snap out of it” and move forward, but that isn’t always true for those of us that have a chronic illness.
Multiple Sclerosis is a progressive disease that is honestly quite frustrating. Many people with MS face a daily struggle because we try to fit in, or appear as normal as possible. It’s tough when your legs have turned into loose noodles, or your shirt isn’t buttoned evenly because you can’t feel your fingers. So what do we do? We end up wearing a mask! Of course some days are much easier to manage than others, however we still have an invisible shield covering our outer shell. Why? Because this HURTS!
Let me speak emotionally first because it’s a given that there is some level of physical pain associated with MS (i.e. muscle spasms, nerve, & eye pain). Those of us with MS face tremendous challenges each day. Feeling as if you are a burden, leaving a job you love because of your disability, not being heard or understood can lead many down a long dark road. Emotions take control which leaves you with no choice. You grab your mask and make sure it’s on tight. Facing the outside world is too much so we remain covered and escape into our own world. Take a look at the article we talked about in episode 13. It explains how people living with MS are emotionally at ‘risk for several co-morbidities.”
People living with multiple sclerosis are at risk for several comorbidities, including depression and anxiety, both of which can be associated with suicidal thoughts and behavior. There have been several studies conducted over the years investigating suicide in MS patients. Here are the results of a few.
If you are feeling as if you need to speak with someone help is there. You are not alone. The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America has people available on their helpline from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm, (800) 532-7667 ext. 154. Email MSquestions@mymsaa.org or chat online at www.mymsaa.org.
Skip to main content We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. 1-800-273-8255 Three-Digit Number for Suicide Prevention Recently, the FCC recommended that 988 be designated as a national crisis hotline.
In light of the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, we felt it was important to highlight the topic of suicide and MS. It is important for people to consider that there is no “one size fits all” approach to dealing with suicide — especially as it relates to chronic illness. Join us as we share our thoughts on this important topic.
Check us out, listen and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or SoundCloud. Also, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @myelinmelanin to keep abreast of our latest goings on!
We also have a new YouTube channel. Search “Myelin and Melanin” on YouTube to find us — check us out and subscribe!
Please feel free to reach out and comment with questions, feedback or suggestions for what you’d like to hear in future episodes.
Let’s be honest being told that something is “wrong” with you and that you have been diagnosed with an illness with no known cure is completely mind-blowing. We can’t speak for everyone but it has to be a shock to the system. It seems as if a diagnosis can lead to a plethora of emotions, depression & anxiety are two which certainly stand out.
Depression can be difficult to manage on your own and when things go awry you may not know where to start to get help. MS is hard. There isn’t an easier way to say it. The unpredictability of this illness can lead someone into a whirlwind of emotions.
According to the MS Society depression is one of the most common symptoms with people that have Multiple Sclerosis. Of course, we all have highs & lows in life and I think what makes MS patients experience anxiety and depression is the unpredictability of the illness. We may go to bed feeling strongwith the ability to move about with ease, then wake up in the morning not being able to lift your legs or even see. Needless to say, it’s scary!
No, it’s NOT all in my head — is this really happening to me? A question that so many of us ask ourselves. How everyone manages their illness after the diagnosis is completely different. You’re diagnosed, now what? The control you thought you once had over your life is now in the hands of a disease. That lack of control we mentioned in the podcast, is the green light for anxiety.
Anxiety doesn’t care what time of day that it decides to disrupt your life. It creeps in — actually, it attacks your mind with a vengeance. We may be experiencing numbness is our legs and feet then all of a sudden lose the ability to walk which makes it easy to fall into the web of anxiety. Is this the start of another exacerbation? Is something else wrong with me besides MS? The “complex unpredictability” nature of this disease can open a window to all types of emotions. It’s important to listen to your body and talk to your doctor. Remember that you are not alone and you aren’t exaggerating how you feel. This is real and an adjustment to accepting a new normal.