Depression…it happens

Depression…it happens. Not even the happiest, peppiest, most positive person in the world is exempt from it’s effects. It can sneak up on anyone. It’s not known exactly why Multiple Sclerosis has a higher rate of depression than other chronic illnesses, but it’s believed to be caused by changes in the brain’s functionality along with the emotional stresses of unexpected progression, loss of mobility, pain, social isolation, and financial struggles.

Those of us living with MS are fighting our bodies every minute of every day. At times, we feel as if we have slipped into a raging river and the current is pulling us under as we fight the rapids in order to pull our head up far enough to get a breath of air only to sink yet again. We find ourselves lying in our bed with tears flowing, completely worn out, weary, and with thoughts spinning out of control.

All those “what if” thoughts, doubts, fears, and questions flood our minds. They have a way of overtaking even the smallest amount of hope we have left and leaving us with only a tiny strand of hope to pull us in to safety.

That has happened to me more than once. During those times, I find myself feeling alone and worthless in a world that doesn’t seem to understand me, MS, or why I can’t just get over it. For some reason, it always catches me off guard almost as if I got sucker punched by the Hulk himself. It’s not easy pulling yourself out of a raging river after being knocked out.

What I have learned most during those awful, vulnerable times in my life is that I need someone there with me to help me process those crazy random thoughts that I find bouncing around in my brain …not with advice, opinions, or judgements, but with a hand to hold, an ear to listen and a box of tissues near by. Oh, and maybe a piece of cheesecake, or ice cream, or chocolate.

Don’t beat yourself up just because you are having a bad day, week, month or even year. Depression is real and sometimes it’s really, REALLY hard to overcome. It takes guts to talk with your doctor, friend, counselor, spouse, or family member about what’s going on inside your head and heart.

Don’t allow guilt to creep in and cause you to think that you can’t open up about what’s going on. Sometimes we need help to weed through everything that’s going on in our life in order to find hope once again. And just so you know, seeking help is not a sign of weakness. It takes great courage to admit you have a need.

Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes that’s the hardest step you will ever take…but you can do it. I know you can!

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About the Author
About the Author
Penelope Conway

Penelope Conway
Penelope started Positive Living with MS as a way to help others with MS stay positive in the midst of a terrible disease. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day. Multiple Sclerosis may never go away, but neither will her determination and her drive to help others through the journey.

23 replies
  1. Patricia Forren says:

    I was taken off my antidepressant and put on something else…then I was taken off that along with another drug and suffered withdrawal and had to restart one drug and then taper off…after that event, I got into a very bad place. I was even having issues leaving the house. Finally seeing the light of day again as I’ve restarted the original antidepressant. If you need help, get it. Some of my lesions are located in the part of the brain that affects mood.

  2. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    You’re so right about needing someone. As I have written I have had a lot of muck happen to me over the years, but I have never (fortunately) taken over by depression.I had once thought that I had but it was sorted out. I have been on anti depression pills but stopped them recently and found that life is still livable. I must have thought that being on them helped me when all I needed to do was to work it out and put ‘it’ where it belongs.
    Recently my right leg has gone on holiday and not told me. It makes things interesting when a need for the toilet does not make it easy. I have lyold it to come back soon or I’ll find another way to move.

  3. Rich Edwards says:

    It really sucks, at this point I generally have my depression under control, but whenever anything stressful happens, it almost immediately sink into it and I’m forced again to dig out of it. My ‘demons’ are always there, always pointing out things, but I’m fighting them. I guess my depression gets really bad when I am just sick and tired of fighting myself.

  4. Karen
    Karen says:

    I had the flu in January (even though I got my shot) and have been feeling crappy ever since. Some days I wonder why the hell I’m even here.

  5. john-david biggs
    john-david biggs says:

    Hi Penelope,

    Surely it’s not a mystery why those with MS symptoms are more subject to depression?
    If I woke every day with realizing I can’t easily get out of bed, or have to spend an age in the loo, etc. etc. how could you be not?

  6. Leslie
    Leslie says:

    Wow Penelope, you nailed it! Happily I’m not in that dark place right now, but boy have I been there, and I know it might be just a few bad days away.

  7. Katheryn Marash says:

    I’m working on this … It feels like I’m constantly at war with my body. I hate feeling like I’m trapped living inside it. Alone.

    I’m trying to be more compassionate towards myself and open to accepting help. My body is trying-even if it’s failing. We’re trying.

  8. Daisy
    Daisy says:

    Thank you for this, it’s especially hard being single and having MS when you get to the point you can’t work anymore and disability has not come through yet. I’ve lived without electricity for 8 months here in TX summer, car got repo over year ago, I could go on and about what I’m doing without, but then you add the pain and challenges of MS to that, you can probably understand why I’m depressed. I have no one to talk to, so your posts mean so much to me, a friend of mine provides me with a phone that has Internet or I would be completely isolated. I know things will get better, but this has really been a eye opening experience to say the least.

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