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It’s time to get real about Depression and Suicide in MS (and other Chronic Illnesses)

When it comes to multiple sclerosis and other chronic illnesses, we seem to be very fond of talking about some of our symptoms, our difficulty walking, speech problems, our pain, and even our fatigue. It’s time, however, that we get real about our mental health problems. Yes, there are mentions here and there about depression, but I still don’t feel this topic is given the full attention it needs. It’s my opinion that more than any other issue, depression and anxiety have the ability to shut us down even more than unresponsive or numb legs, more than speech troubles, and even more than having little to no energy. All of these things are, of course, related, but these mental issues can cause the most suffering.

One reason I feel a need to write this is the enormous stigma that still seems to surround the topics of depression, anxiety, and suicide. It’s 2016, our society needs to get past that, and the only way to do that is to talk about it and be open and honest about it. These are issues that affect a large amount of the population (even more so those with chronic illness) and yet it still seems taboo. I’m not sure I’ll ever understand why, even with all we know today, that people can’t grasp that these issues are just another problem with our body. We don’t usually think less of someone with a broken bone and we shouldn’t think less of someone with depression or anxiety.

You’ve no doubt seen many of the stats about depression and suicide before. I took a quick look at the National MS Society’s website and right now, those with MS are 50% more likely to suffer serious depression than those without the disease. The same section says we are 7.5 times more likely to commit suicide than the regular population. That statistic is staggering and can not be ignored. These are stats for those with MS but I’m sure the numbers are high for other chronic illnesses as well.

I really wanted to discuss this because I’ve begun to realize I have issues here too. I’ve recently said in conversations with others that depression and suicide need to be talked about more, and we need to do more, and blah, blah, and on and on. I realized today that I was preaching and I was talking about this issue but from the outside. I wasn’t being real, if that makes any sense. The truth to the matter is that I myself have these issues. I feel depressed, I get anxious, and yes, even recently I have thought about suicide. These aren’t things I really share with people and now I’m sharing them with everyone because I believe we need to talk about all of this. My first thought, my gut reaction (I literally have an uneasy feeling in my stomach typing this), like many, is to be embarrassed. Apparently, I’m a product of all that stupid social stigma as well. But in the interest of trying to break those stigmas, I’m going to ignore those feelings and own up to it.

Depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. I’ve had them all. I didn’t always have these issues but the last few years have been tough. Three years ago, I had a major relapse that left me with issues that my body just couldn’t bounce back from. My doctors basically said I was beginning to transition into secondary-progressive MS. I started Tysabri right away and that, for the moment, has apparently halted that transition. However, damage was already done. The demyelinated areas are there and they can’t be repaired. I was put on disability at the age of 36. Wow, even now I feel like my heart stops briefly when I say that. 36. I felt like my career as a software engineer was one of the defining things about me and suddenly it was stripped away. Not even getting into the financial impacts of that, it felt like a part of who I was died. Three years later and that’s still an issue for me, one I struggle with daily.

My symptoms also cause a lot of my problems and I’m sure some of this is true for others as well. I deal with a lot of pain. Let me tell you something, pain changes a person. Being in pain a lot can really influence how you see the world. Not being able to sleep well because of pain and not being able to ever really get comfortable can really give you a sour outlook on life at times. There’s loss too, I can no longer be as active as I once was and I struggle with that. It’s hard to think I played ice hockey in college and ran marathons and now just walking to the bathroom can be difficult. Even if my legs would cooperate, I’d have no energy to do many of the things I once enjoyed. The ever present weight of MS fatigue would hold me down. Like a lot of people, I see those pictures of “memories” on my social media. I see those and can’t help but think, what happened?

Feeling like a burden is something that a lot of those with chronic illness deal with. The same is true for me. The last thing I ever want is to be a burden. Yes, I know I’m not and I know that everyone will say I am not. But it’s still not easy to avoid feeling that way. Not working and not really being able to drive do a lot to bring on that burdensome feeling I get. A lot of us who suffer from chronic illnesses have this feeling. Whether someone makes you feel that way or you come to it on your own, feeling like a burden is a sensitive and serious issue for many.

Another issue a lot of us deal with, and I am certainly no exception to this, is the loss of friends. Having a chronic illness is a very lonely situation to be in, but it’s compounded by the fact that, for a variety of reason, we tend to lose friends. MS can be a great measure for bringing out who your “true” friends are, but that doesn’t lessen the hurt of losing them. Even the friends we still have we don’t get to see as often. Not being able to go out as much or do the same activities as others can really increase those feelings of isolation. MS can be a very lonely disease and that absolutely affects our mental well being.

It’s all so draining, thinking about it sometimes, but honestly, I struggle even when I’m not thinking about any particular cause. I’ll be upset. I’ll feel like my very soul is being swallowed into a deep and black hole and I will not know why. I’ll either find myself in the pit of despair or so anxious that my heart is racing, ready to explode from my chest. My wife will notice and ask what’s wrong and more often than not, I don’t know. Here is where one of those people (you know the kind) chimes in with “you just need to be more positive!” Which, quite honestly, is the most insensitive and hurtful thing to say because the truth about depression and anxiety is that you can’t just change how you are thinking. Telling someone that is depressed to just be more positive or happy is like telling someone with a broken leg to just rub it and they’ll be better. That’s the big disconnect that causes the stigma that we see, and if you think positive thinking will change it, you don’t understand the issue at all. Much of the time it’s not because of something that has happened in our life, it happens because part of us is broken. Many times that’s the only cause. Part of the brain is injured and no amount of positive thinking is going to fix that.

As I’ve stated, yes, I’ve thought about suicide. I’ve spoken with many who share my disease and they have too. Being in pain all the time, feeling like a burden, losing friends, etc, added onto the fact that our brains are in fact damaged is quite the combination. I’m sure it’s a much more common thought than most people let on. Who wouldn’t want to escape a lot of that? Not to mention, with feeling like a burden, I know I often want to save the people I care about from having to deal with me. I also know though, the reason I haven’t is because I know it’d upset my family. Unfortunately, not everyone has the great support system I do and that’s how we get that staggeringly high number of suicides.

I can just imagine the gasp and maybe even tears happening as some people close to me read some of this. Just as I see sad faces when I post other articles about suicide and chronic illness. The thing is, we need to try to control those reactions. We can’t shy away from these topics because that’s what makes them worse. We have to talk about depression, and anxiety, and yes, suicide. That’s the only way we will end the stigma and the only way that we are going to make those high percentages go down. That goes for the medical community too. Our neurologists, nurses, and general practitioners need to do a better job of accepting this part of the illness. Remember to treat these issues as part of our broken bodies, the same as you would a broken bone or an MS-related spasm.

My main goal in all this is to help break down that stigma and to help get the issues of depression, anxiety, and suicide to the forefront. There are a lot of people suffering out there and that suffering is made worse because they are embarrassed to talk about it. The embarrassment needs to stop. The stigma needs to stop. We need to start getting real about these issues. If you are having problems, you need to talk to someone. If you don’t feel like the person you are talking to “gets it”, than please talk to someone else. It is immensely helpful to just talk to someone even just to vent. If you are currently having thoughts of harming yourself, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the National Hopeline Network at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433). These toll-free crisis hotlines offer 24-hour suicide prevention and support. Your call is free and confidential. To find a suicide helpline outside of the US, visit IASP or Suicide.org.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • professorlockerbie
    5 months ago

    Hi Devin, thanks for sharing this. It’s so helpful to know there are others out there who deal with MS-related depression.

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    5 months ago

    Thank you @professorlockerbie, you are far from alone, as I mention in the article, it’s extremely common, probably even more so than we know because people don’t like to talk about it.

  • professorlockerbie
    5 months ago

    as someone who was diagnosed with MS in their early 20’s, I have definitely felt all of these things.

  • ClimbAngel
    7 months ago

    Thanks Devin,
    This is a really great article! I think people really have a hard time letting the people closest to them know when they are having issues with depression. For me when I mention anything regarding my MS to my husband he says “its all in my head” and man this just makes me so mad. Because literally speaking it is sort of but at the same time I am not crazy and I am not spending all of my day thinking about my MS if anything I try to avoid thinking about it. I have even considered doing or taking anything that will give me some sort of relief from the pain of it. I have called him out on saying that to me so often but he explains it like mind over matter as if I have some sort of control over my MS like Bruce Lee he says. So to open up to someone who cant think about my MS in a different way or be there for me I find it really hard to open up about more difficult topics like depression or suicide. It took an argument with my husband for me to just break down. I don’t cry often because I see it as weakness and I have tried so hard to be so strong. But after the argument with my husband I let him know how I had been feeling lately. And I expressed how I feel about being married with MS and if he regrets it. We just got married this past December and since getting married I have just started spiraling down hill with my MS. It was nice that he reassured me that he doesn’t regret a day. I recently have progressed to Secondary Progressive MS and have been going through worsening symptoms that are just relentless. I go through bouts where I feel like it is unfair that I married anyone because this disease is not a fun road to go down. Almost guilty that I involved someone else in this. I have mentioned suicide to my mom and my husband so they know where I am coming from. Its not that I don’t love them enough to stay its that I love them too much to stay when things get to that point. I have had so many people in my family who have committed suicide so I am completely aware of the ramifications of it. I am certainly not there yet but like to leave suicide as an option. I will eventually talk to my Neuro about depression but want to time it right. I have hinted to him but most of the time I don’t think people listen when I talk anyway lol I am not going to go through finding a new Dr either cause it was pretty daunting trying to find this one that accepts my insurance. Its a fight I am not willing to fight right now because its so exhausting and I am just so tired. I am tired of fighting. Fighting for time off to see the Dr. Fighting to pay bills. Fighting to stay positive. Fighting to continue working. Fighting to complete normal day to day tasks. Its too much sometimes. My mom is a pretty religious person and tells me God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. For me that is a slap to the face. I have come pretty close to the end sometimes but something always stops me. For me right now its being prepared. So for now I will make every effort to prepare for that day and I don’t know when it will be. I am just trying to get all my ducks in a row for when it finally comes.

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    7 months ago

    Thank you @ClimbAngel, sounds to me that you husband’s lack of knowledge and understanding about the disease re greatly affecting your life (as it would anyone in that situation). It can be a pretty common issue. I encourage you to talk to him and give him items to read even from this website) so that he can learn that it’s not just in your head, that it’s real and just because you can’t see it, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Some folks really have a hard time understanding something when it comes from family or someone close to them, they need to see others talk about it to help them understand.

  • ClimbAngel
    7 months ago

    Thanks Devin,
    I will try to let some articles lay around and see if he has any interest in learning more about it. I don’t want to force him to do anything he doesn’t want to do. It is really hard especially when you feel so isolated and alone in it. His attitude towards it does effect me in a negative way. As well as what happened in most recent events with my Boss and co-worker. It makes me feel very hopeless like no matter how hard I try I will never be good enough and people will always hold MS over my head as if it excuses their behavior. And I do think it would be helpful for me to see someone if nothing else just to talk. I will work towards that because I think it would be beneficial and they might have better methods of dealing with people that have no empathy or desire to understand. I also feel as though people like my mom use my MS to warp versions of things that have happened in the past. Like they are trying to use my MS as a tool against me. Trying to make me believe I am not able to remember occurrences that have happened. Almost like they wish my memory was effected more so they can get away with past transgressions without feeling the guilt of their wrong doing. How would you combat that? Yes memory may at some point become an issue but I am able to recollect things that have happened in the past the way I have always remembered them. Honestly dealing with all of the symptoms of MS and pain its not worse than the feeling I get when I express something happening with my MS and the people who “should” care about me the most don’t seem to. And that feeling of wondering why they don’t. It makes me question my very existence and why I cant shake this feeling that no one will ever love me the way I love them and I just have to be ok with that. Its been that way my whole life so why would I expect it to change now. I don’t think that I am just down and feel this way for no reason either. it makes it really hard to want to continue. I have to wonder why I am not worth love or care. And question whether or not I want to continue relationships with people like my mom who are trying to use this disease to benefit herself in those kinds of ways. Sometimes they even get me believing that I am having issues with my memory. Then I start getting angry and wonder why I am even trying to get things in order for them so that in the event I die they are taken care of. Why even do that for them. Sorry I realize I am bringing up some very big issues. I am just lost right now.

  • Sylvia V
    2 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. MS aint no punk. Some days feel normal as i forget i have it. But there are the days, when i think how much more can i take??? I frustrate myself being that i cant do the smallest things as i used to. Not only am i having a hard time with getting older but getting older with MS??? I feel hopeless at times. Who is gonna want a 49 yr old woman with MS? Thats when the pity and crazy thoughts come crashing in. I keep the hope that something good will happen to me eventually. Ive got to hold on to that hope.
    Again, Thanks for sharing.

  • lolobeeb
    2 years ago

    Devin. THANK YOU thank you for writing this post… it’s like you crawled into my brain . You are really making a difference to people like me by sharing so much of yourself. Just …thank you.

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    2 years ago

    Thanks so much lolobeeb, I really appreciate you taking the time to say that, it means a lot!

  • Patticake
    2 years ago

    I frequently second guess myself. I have to read something a few times to be sure of what I read. I transpose numbers so that’s a slow read. I’ve had RRMS since 1994 and
    and now wheelchair bound. I’m not a person who likes (liked) to sit a lot. Now I occupy my mind with crossword puzzles, word search, hidden object puzzles and anything to challenge my mind. Of course, I’m in charge of the bill paying and budget for the household, so I don’t have a problem with that, other than checking my numbers twice
    to be sure I don’t add an extra 0 ! lol. Just try to stay positive and maintain cuz all we have is this day.

  • debrakay
    3 years ago

    Thank you for writing this article. I don’t worry about stigma, I just don’t like to bring people down. I agree that it needs to be discussed openly and regularly.

  • Al2010
    3 years ago

    This is my story all around. I spent a whole week in the psychiatric hospital and several months afterwards working on how to cope with the anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. It was one of the hardest things to do, but it brought my husband and I closer together. The main coping tool that worked for me was coloring in an inspirational adult coloring book. My faith helps with the suicidal thoughts and has extinguished the plans I had to carry them out to make it look like an accident. I’ve been ashamed. I’ve lost friends, I lost my job and awaiting approval for disability.
    That’s my story~A.C.

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    3 years ago

    Thank you A.C., I appreciate you taking the time to share you experience. It’s not an easy thing to talk about. Nice to hear you are using those adult coloring books, my wife and some friends have been using the, as well, they’re a great way to ease the mind and help with some of stress. Sometimes that little distraction, that little break from our thoughts can be so helpful. I build Lego sets for the same purpose, it helps me cope. I wish you well, and I can’t thank you enough for commenting and sharing your thoughts!

  • Sad bud
    3 years ago

    I feel like I wrote this myself.. It’s hard to admit but I sure can relate to every word you said :-/

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    3 years ago

    Thank you Sad Bud. I hate hearing that, but at the same time, it does mean we aren’t alone in this. There are many others like us too. I try to remember that when the times are really crappy (like literally just last night for me). Sometimes, as weird as it may sound, that really does keep me going. Like I keep on fighting, not just for me, but for everyone else dealing with this. I hope you have a good day, I find just focusing on one day, even one moment can be helpful too. Always feel free to reach out to me too!

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Sad bud, we’re glad to hear the article resonated with you. Please know you’re not alone. Please don’t hesitate to reach out here or on our Facebook page whenever you need support or just a friendly ear. -Warmly, Donna (MultipleSclerosis.net team)

  • barberintex
    3 years ago

    The absolute worst symptom of MS that my husband had to deal with was depression. His disability compared to most others would look minor. He was still working. Regardless of that reality he came very close to suicide. I sure didn’t see it coming. Therapy and anti- depressants helped take the edge off but he was still miserable. A new psychiatrist recommended Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). He was a completely different person after treatment. The effects on anxiety is known to be temporary so it’s return was inevitable but the depression only return in a moderate way and probably could be effectively treated by TMS again but we can’t afford it out of pocket. Medicare doesn’t pay for follow up treatments.

    I have seen recent studies that indicate that depresssion in MS does not correlate to degree of disability so be aware that it isn’t situational. That is why you can’t just change your attitude and be more optimistic, etc.

    I am grateful to the neurologist and family doctor for both insisting we seek psychiatric treatment and find new options when drugs were not effective.

    It was difficult to get my husband to accept the need for more than just talk therapy. He didn’t even recognize that he was depressed. I came very close to losing him.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Barberintex! I’m so glad to hear that you found an effective treatment for your husband, he’s lucky to have you to share his walk.

    MSAA talks about depression and possible assistance available through MS sorganizations. You may also want to check into the Financial Assostance Program offered by National MS Society.

    Another option, that might bear fruit, check with the psychology departments of universities close to you. They may offer free or low-cost treatment for some procedures as part of their graduate programs. When my children were small and exhibiting some snesory-related behavior problems, I contacted our local University and their OT department did a full evaluation, including an in-school assessment, complete with a full report,recommendations and a sensory diet for them.

    Thanks for sharing your story and for being part of the community. We’re sending all good wishes to you and your husband. -All Best, Donna (MultipleSclerosis.net team)

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    3 years ago

    Thank you! Like your husband, I had a very hard time recognizing my issues too. I credit my wife with really getting me to seek help. Thank so much for your comment, it’s very appreciated!

  • tfs
    3 years ago

    Devin: your pages are so thoughtful, true, and necessary to the MS Community. Depression. Never mentioned in our MS Exercise Group. This aspect of MS is at least as debilitating as spasticity, numbness, fatigue, pain. Its not even separate. Fortunately, my family attended the very first appointment with me at a major MS Clinic and depression was acknowledged. I was referred to a Neuropsychiatrist specializing in MS and have been very proactive with my own health care.This is my top priority and I am working very hard with cognitive behaviour techniques, weekly counselling, and starting mind/body work techniques this month. This is not a choice if I want to live. Your honesty is helpful. This is my struggle and I think I will be challenged to grow for the rest of my days. That sounds daunting, but I also believe I have been given the luxury of time to devote to my spiritual growth. I am not always optimistic about this, but the truth is I cannot work any longer. My days are filled with this new way of exploring self. It’s a solitary journey, but we do share this interesting hero’s journey. As I read your story and other people’s stories, I am humbled. I really care about the desperation, the sadness. I worked with a lovely woman who committed suicide. Sad and painful beyond description for her loved ones. Every person who feels suicidal deserves love and caring and help. I hope it is there for each of you.

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    3 years ago

    Thank you for the kind words! Thank you too for sharing and pointing out that our struggle never ends, it’s a fight that is with us every day. That is something that I don’t think people “get”.

  • Pachyderm
    3 years ago

    Thank you for writing this. Very brave of you. You have helped me decide that it is time for me to go and talk to someone about my depression/anxiety. Thank you.

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    3 years ago

    Thank you for reading it! I’m so very happy to hear it made an impression on you! Very glad you are going to talk to someone! Good luck!

  • Sue
    3 years ago

    I agree 100%. My brother had progressive m s and red in a coma at 38. He went from being a jazz piano player, writer and all round playful man to a shell. First he couldn’t play piano, then walk, then hold silverware and drink from a glass. By the time he went into a nursing home at 35, he was diapered.
    My younger sister stopped walking and was diapered at 55. At 60, she leaves her apartment to be hospitalized .
    I retired at 57, walking slowly, but with no cane. At 64, on a good day, with a walker and someone spotting me, I can walk 25 feet. Today I fell getting on the commode over the toilet. I hit my head on the tub and had to wait for 2 cops to pick me up.
    No, no one else in the family has ms. Am I depressed ? Do I go to bed every night hoping lightening strikes or the fan falls on me? Do I curse the fact that my husband has to pick out my clothes, tie my shoes, pour my cereal and cut my banana? You betcha. How long will my husband of 42 years be able to pick me up?
    Once I took a few too many valiums, I left two in the bottle and was rushed to the ER ,then the ICU. After 5 days of no treatment ,just observation , I was transferred to the psyche ward which was aptly called “the towers,” where I got no treatment , not even baclofen for 5 days
    Anxiety? When I went to a psychologist who accepted Medicare , I was told not to think about all the things I can’t do. Maybe a new medicine will cure me. Don’t think about the future. Breathe deeply and think happy thoughts…
    I can tell you because some of you are thinking assisted suicide. Not in the US. You have to have a terminal disease with only six months to live..
    M S truly does suck the life out of me.
    Did I mention that I have a loving husband, great daughter, a good pension and social security disability, affordable insurance , good drug coverage and great friends. It doesn’t matter. Progressive jm s is stronger than I am.

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    3 years ago

    I’m so sorry to hear how things have gone for you and your family. I sympathize and hope that something good happens for you soon. Remember that you are not alone!

  • KarenLoftus
    3 years ago

    I bet this is great, but I can only read a few paragraphs of anything… 🙁 I’m down to short stories.

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    3 years ago

    Sorry, I have that issue too. This is one of the longer articles of written, because there was so much to say.

  • J Bel
    3 years ago

    Thank you for this article! It still baffles me to this day that people don’t understand depression is an illness. Just today, I posted a meme on Facebook that said, “I don’t struggle with depression. I struggle with reality.” And I got the comment, “Reality is what you make of it!” The ignorant comment from someone who has never dealt with depression, let alone a chronic, overwhelming illness. So many things I wanted to say, but left it alone.

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    3 years ago

    Thank you! It really is baffling that so many people just don’t get it! It’s 2016, people should be more educated on this by now! Thank you for reading and commenting, it’s very appreciated!

  • Ymmsvh
    3 years ago

    Thank you for your article. When I read things like this, it helps that part of my depression I attribute to “no one Really understands”.

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    3 years ago

    Thank you for reading! Remember, there are people that understand, but not everyone is always willing to talk about it. You most certainly are not alone!

  • marigoldg
    3 years ago

    I am a retired Licensed Psychologist and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. I say “retired” because MS forced me to leave the profession I loved so much. And I worked with many people with chronic illnesses and their families. So my perspective about anxiety and depression is a bit different from those without a clinical background.

    Yes, professional mental health providers ARE highly aware of the impact having a chronic illness has on individuals and their families. But awareness about the emotional impact may not always be at the forefront of your neurologist or other medical providers you see. If you are feeling depressed or anxious, you need to talk to your provider about it and get a referral to a mental health provider.

    While your doctor may offer a prescription for an antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication, pills alone will not resolve the issues. Repeated studies show that a combination of both medication AND therapy have the healthiest outcomes. Medication allows you to get enough above the emotional issues to work with the therapist to examine your emotions and learn better and healthier coping skills.

    Now, with all that clinical stuff said, I also have a different perspective about suicide too. Yes, having a chronic illness puts us a substantially more risk of taking our own lives. And the reasons for this are often due to depression and anxiety mentioned in this article.

    And my perspective is rarely talked about, although I think it’s pretty important to openly talk about.

    There are others for whom the idea of ending our own lives is not about depression or anxiety. It is about taking control of the end of our lives. I have Secondary Progressive MS, which is rapidly getting worse. I have a plan to end my life because I want to die with dignity and at not at the mercy of this hideous disease. I want to die with my loved ones being able to say goodbye and I love you when I am still able to acknowledge their importance to me. I want to die when I am still able to make my own choices. I have a plan, my family knows about it and we are all in agreement and have come to terms with my choice.

    I have also talked to my MS Specialist about this, and she is entirely sympathetic; largely because her own mother is also has MS that is even more advanced than mine and so understands more than most other doctors would.

    Now, I know there are people who will not agree with me. And I know that “assisted suicide” is legal in very few places in the United States. I wish that were different, but it is what it is.

    For me, this is not about being depressed. It is not about being anxious about the future. It is not about being worried about being a burden to anyone. It is not about being worried about finances. It is none of those things. It is about taking control of a situation in which I have very little control.

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    3 years ago

    D-bob I’m sorry to hear of your situation. But I understand it. You are certainly not alone in feeling that way.

  • D-bob
    3 years ago

    Thank you for your openness about this subject. I also have secondary progressive MS, near end stage COPD and PTSD from being a medic in Vietnam.

    Can there be any question about me having to deal with anxiety and depression?
    I don’t talk about it much to my health care providers, because even they misunderstand my attitude towards suicide and treat me like I’m in imminent danger.

    I feel like there are some things the MS may take that I’m not willing to live without. For this reason, suicide is not a question of if or how, just a matter of when.

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    3 years ago

    Thank you marigoldg for your perspective. I completely understand you opinion on assisted suicide. I share the same opinion. My grandfather has progressive MS and so I’ve seen the very worst of what can happen. Having control of one last thing like that should more accepted. I’ve met many people against it, but I have a hard time understanding their perspective. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  • Jeff G.
    3 years ago

    Thanks for your openness!

    Having MS for almost 15 years, I too struggled with anxiety and got to the point where I would avoid situations because I didn’t want to expose my “weaknesses”. About a year and half ago, I started meditating using an app called Headspace and it has been life changing. I have learned to be more aware of my thoughts and realize that I can actually choose to embrace thoughts and feelings or sometimes just let them pass as simply a thought that I don’t need to carry right now. It sounds simple but I have found it extremely empowering.

    I reached out to them to thank them and they actually ended up doing a quick video on my story! You can check it out here if you are interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWAxB9CjwOM

    Wishing you the best and once again, thanks for your openness. This is a topic that is avoided far too often.

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    3 years ago

    Thanks so much for sharing that! I will share it with others for sure! Very much appreciated!

  • Exiler
    3 years ago

    Great article.
    Thanks.
    You’re right. Actually I think the psychiatric community should be on high alert for MS being a cause of anxiety and depression. Even before my MS diagnosis I was suffering from anxiety and depression; they were my first symptoms. Incompetent doctors and therapists wasted so much of my precious time before I got the diagnosis and put on some DMTs.
    It’s even easy for mental health professionals to minimize anxiety and depression. Just take a SSRI!

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    3 years ago

    Absolutely agree! It’s such a common issue for those with MS that there should be more awareness in the psychiatric community. Thanks you for reading and sharing!

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