When Emotions Take Over
Last updated: August 2018
If you read one of my recent articles, “The Itch Is Real,” then you know I recently was weaned off of Cymbalta. My husband and I are planning to try for another baby soon (YAY!!!), so it was necessary, but difficult nonetheless. I’m hoping that being without any antidepressant or anti-anxiety will be short-lived (because I hope to talk to my OB about something that is safe for pregnancy), but boy, this small period without it is so hard.
Managing my emotions has always been a struggle
My doctor told my mom when I was diagnosed (very young) that because of where my lesions are located, I would most likely have a hard time controlling my emotions, and he was correct. Managing my emotions on my own has always been a struggle. Mood swings, anxiety, and depression are an everyday part of MS. These symptoms often strike without warning and leave me feeling defeated by the lack of emotional control I sometimes have. They usually come out of nowhere. One minute I’m feeling stable, and the next I’m crying over a pointless commercial or feeling especially frustrated over trivial things. It also puts my stress and anxiety into overdrive. It’s disheartening and frustrating to think that you lack so much control over your feelings.
Coming to a realization
Every time I have to get off of my antidepressants for one reason or another, I always think, "This is the last time; I’m going to be able to stay off of it this time.” I’m quickly learning that’s not the case. I’ve been off of my medication for about a month, and I have come to a realization. I need my “happy pill,” and that’s ok. I’ve always been upset by the fact that I can’t seem to be emotionally stable on my own. I despise that I have to put more medication into my system to act and function like a rational human being. Depression, anxiety, and mood swings have always been big demons of mine.
My most challenging symptom
All of the physical symptoms of MS are easily seen, but the emotional side of things is often overlooked because it’s one of our invisible symptoms. In reality, I feel like other than fatigue and spasticity; it has been my most challenging symptom. Emotional health is not to be taken lightly though, and that is something I often remind myself. I have tried natural supplements and things like exercise and meditation, but they do not help me the ways being on an antidepressant or anti-anxiety drug can. So, like it or not, I know medication is a need for me.
Overwhelmed and exhausted
I wrote this article more to vent than educate. I normally like to include in my articles the facts about how these symptoms affect us and our bodies with MS, but today I needed to get these things off of my chest to an audience that I know understands. I’m not a big complainer, but I’m a firm believer in letting things out and letting them go. I can’t bottle things up, or I’m sure to explode. Mood swings and depression are affecting me, but it’s more the anxiety over EVERYTHING that is eating me alive. Every tiny thing seems overwhelming and it is exhausting.
It's not me
What stinks the most about anxiety is that it throws me off in so many ways. For one, it causes me to be tense which makes my spasticity flare up, which in turn makes me hurt. And, hurting makes me depressed, because it makes doing everything more difficult. It causes my tremors to return, which makes my anxiety worse. And, then again, I’m just exhausted and unmotivated to do anything. It’s a terrible, vicious cycle. Honestly, if I didn’t have a job and a family to take care of, then I would be perfectly content crawling up in a ball and doing absolutely nothing. It makes me feel like a bad wife and a bad mom, because I know I’m not myself. It makes me doubt myself and allow doubt to creep into my hopes and dreams. I have to remind myself again and again that this is the anxiety and depression giving me those emotions, and it’s not ME.
Anxiety and depression is a battle
It seems that people who struggle with anxiety and depression get deemed as “weak,” but in truth, anxiety and depression is NOT for weak people. Anxiety and depression is a battle, and you have to fight it with all of your might to get through. It takes a strong person to say, “Hey, I can’t fight this on my own, I need help.” It takes guts and bravery. And I’m fighting that battle right now. I know dealing with this is not something I can just brush off and deal with on my own. As I mentioned earlier, knowing I can’t handle my emotions well all on my own is a difficult pill for me to swallow. But, I know the person I’m capable of being, and I know that medication helps me be that person, so because of that, medicine will be my friend! I’m going to embrace it instead of harping on myself for it. These symptoms have the power to defeat me if I don’t stand up and help myself.
You are not alone
I want to thank you for allowing me to vent and I want you to know that if anyone else is currently struggling emotionally, I know exactly where you’re coming from. You are not alone in this battle. And, please reach out and talk to someone. Do not be afraid to get help!! We can’t always fight this disease and the crappy cards it hands us on our own.
PS: I do want to make it clear, I am not in a place where I have ill feelings towards myself or feel in any way suicidal, but you don’t have to be those things to be at a low place.
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