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!