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eyes incessantly crying

Tips on Living with the Emotional Side of Multiple Sclerosis

I recently went to see a Broadway show in New York City about the life and music of Carole King. I had my heart set on seeing “Beautiful” but told myself on the ride into Manhattan that tickets would probably be unavailable. I’ve had a difficult year and not much has been in my favor. I thought I’d have to settle for my second or third choice. I began to cry.

Much to my surprise, tickets were not only available but the seats were located in the fifteenth row, middle orchestra. I was finally going to see the musical I’ve been dying to see about one of my favorite singers in seats that were perfectly situated. I began to cry.

I cried and cried

I offered my profuse thanks to the man in the booth who sold us the tickets and also to the security guard who showed us which counter was for people with disabilities to buy tickets. The two men probably thought I was crazy because my emotions were so open and raw that I cried and cried in front of them. I was overwhelmed with happiness. My display of affection was a bit over the top.

My emotions are running wild

I can cry at the drop of the hat. This is not my typical behavior, but I’ve noticed over the past year how easily I cry and it’s driving me nuts. I cry at inappropriate times, and when I’m done, I feel embarrassed. My emotions are running wild and out of my control. I believe this is due to MS.

You can lean on others

The emotional toll of living with Multiple Sclerosis can affect your mental health. MS can wear you down until you feel like giving up. Don’t. Ours is a difficult journey that can be filled with loneliness, depression, or anger, but it’s also a disease shared by thousands and thousands of people worldwide. For whatever it’s worth, please remember that you are not alone. You can lean on others to help ease your way.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s article about emotional changes outlines a few emotions you might be experiencing such as grief, changes in mood, depression, stress, generalized anxiety and distress, moodiness and irritability, and inappropriate behavior.

Addressing each emotion

These are all common behaviors that can be found in newly diagnosed patients as well as those living with MS for decades. Each emotion should be addressed by either sharing what you’re feeling with trusted friends or family or by reaching out to a qualified therapist. Therapy, medication, and communication can help you deal with your emotions.

Speak to your doctor about any emotions that worry you. Your family doctor, neurologist or mental health specialist can help you with the tools you need by offering counseling sessions, antidepressants, mood stabilizers or anti-anxiety medications

Tips and steps to take

Here are a few steps you can take on your own to help get your emotions under control:

  • Delegate – Delegate tasks to others to help you feel less overwhelmed and anxious.
  • Communicate – Communicate to trusted family and friends about what you’re feeling. This can help to relieve anxiety and stress.
  • Support – Support is crucial and a good place to start is by finding a support group where you feel comfortable talking about what you’re feeling.
  • Tell others – Discuss your emotions before they happen by letting others know this is part of your MS.
  • Practice yoga, mindful meditation or deep breathing.
  • Be quiet – Take time to be quiet and think through your feelings. Sometimes you’ll find that what you thought was scary or hurtful is not that way at all. The stories you tell yourself are sometimes ones that are not part of reality.
  • Stay activeStaying active can positively affect your mood and well-being and is a good time for personal reflection.

The right combination of social support, therapy, medication and healthy lifestyle habits can go a long way to positively affect our emotions.

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


  • Debbie S.
    11 months ago

    I completely understand. I am 57 years old and I am afraid to go see the new Dumbo movie because I know it will make me ugly cry.

  • potter
    2 years ago

    I think marriage has changed my son, his political attitude has become radical and his temper is ready to flare. Him and his wife had moved to a island 600 miles from Guam 3 years ago. He came back for his grandmothers 95th birthday. He tore apart anything I said and was acting paranoid about cameras on the highway. I am now worried about his mental stability. They are moving back at the end of October. His wife has never called me to even say hi, her family is very standoffish. My husband and I have resigned ourselves that we will probably never be close again. If this kind of treatment continues I am going to rewrite our will. He already told me we needed to get rid of all of our junk before we die so he doesn’t have to mess with it. I am sure a charity would want our money, house and junk. Potter

  • Dorry
    2 years ago

    I feel sad for you potter that a son could behave so badly. I have 3 children and one of my daughters sent me the most beautiful Mother’s Day Cards, Christmas, and Birthday with the most touching words a mother could be proud of. For over 30yrs. She always put me first. Suddenly I embraced my Son and his girlfriend for Christmas one year as they were needy and had nowhere to go. My daughter changed towards me. She could not see my actions as needing to embrace my other 2 children and she has become distant. She had a baby girl and did not tell me. She phoned her father to tell him and came to the home and called him outside to see the baby. I FELT HURT. But I have never showed it to her. I have done the opposite. Been the same generous giver. Her washing machine broke down. I bought her a new one and dryer. She shows no emotion. My daughter has changed after marriage. Almost like a stranger. As a mother we can only do our best. My daughter had the keys to our home. She could come in with her husband and children and make breakfast or anything she wanted. I just put it down to immaturity. Now she doesn’t have the keys to the house she lost this when she confronted me that she felt left out because I invited her brother and his girlfriend for Christmas. Reminding me of all she has done for me. You can’t please everyone. She didn’t take responsibility for not liking her brother’s girlfriend. If everyone got on it would make life easier. But this is just life. I just see it as their loss not mine. I have lost my husband now to cancer. Been a widow 6yrs. and just live one day at a time. Life is lonely but I soldier on.

  • potter
    2 years ago

    I had a uncontrollable crying spell like that on Mother’s day several years ago. We had take my mother in-law out to breakfast and I noticed all of the families gathered at the big tables. Mothers were sitting with their sons and daughters. My son wasn’t with me, he told me that him and his father in-law was starting a new tradition of going fishing on mothers day. I had no idea what I could have done to be treated this way. He didn’t live close so we only had short visits three or four times a year. I am usually a very controlled person and it unlike me to lose it like that. Potter

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    2 years ago

    I am so sorry, Potter. Have you talked to your son about it? I know it’s not always easy because we want to be careful not to alienate them. Parenting never stops no matter what age our children are. I hope it’s a passing thing and that you can have a conversation with him. That said I can understand why you’d cry! You certainly deserve to be treated better.

    Take good care and thanks for sharing your story here. We are always here for you.


  • clsuhre
    2 years ago

    Oh, Potter, this makes me sad. I hope your son’s new tradition turns into a “one and done” occasion. Otherwise, maybe you’ll establish a tradition of your own, like being out of the country on his birthday or Christmas!

  • Dorry
    2 years ago

    I really love this comment about being out of the country on his Birthday or Christmas. Good One!!!

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