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Advice please

My wife was diagnosed with MS 21 years ago, six years before we were married. So I knew what I was getting into but in truth I was not prepared for the rapid progression. Just 4 short years into our marriage she became totally disabled and everything changed. Her relapses were horrible and long lasting.

The physical part of the marriage stopped although the love never will. As her caregiver, my question to all is, how do you handle to severe mood swings this causes? She is happy one moment and literally will start crying the next. Now I am old school Italian and very family oriented but this is starting to have an effect on me as I am always questioning whether or not I did something wrong or if I caused the crying.


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  • hadel
    5 years ago

    Hello Sonny,
    I am 38 and was diagnosed with MS May 8, 2013. I had also been dealing with extreme depression and mood swings. I went to my Dr. and I was treated for 4 months for depression and it didn’t seem to help. I was still depressed and seemed to be getting worse. Finally after a major depressive episode and toxic levels of anti depression meds, I was diagnosed with Bipolar. After being treated appropriately with a cocktail of mood stabilizers and antidepressants I am, for the most part, able to control my mood swings. It doesn’t take care of them all together, but then again we all get moody, but with them I can just focus on my MS issues with a more balanced approach.

    I was really shocked to find out that Bipolar and MS have been linked to each other, meaning that people with MS often also suffer from MS. Doing a little research about it and then going to your wife’s Dr with that information may help with a diagnosis that could help you with your struggles.

    Best of luck

  • Stephanie Buxhoeveden, RN, MSCN
    5 years ago

    I agree with the others, your wife is very lucky to have you as a caregiver.
    I just wanted to add that you should talk to your wife’s neurologist about her mood swings if you haven’t already. Many things can cause mood swings in people with MS, the most common of which is depression. Another cause is called the pseudobulbar affect (PBA), which is treatable. Of course it may not be PBA, but it is always worth having a conversation with your healthcare team. Here’s a bit more information for you:

  • Vicky
    5 years ago

    It’s very difficult to be a care giver for someone with m.s … The best thing you can do is have patients and understanding,I believe there depression is caused more by the frustration as opposed to anything else,I experienced this with my dad for 21 years,he would often cry as he gradually lost certain abilities,walking,incontinence etc ..the list is endless …always try and have a sense of humour around an ms sufferer as I find this often helped my dad…also as somebody else pointed out try and get support from family etc,my family tended to shun away from him,which I found upsetting however I felt alone in his care way before his illness became secondary progressive …please do get support wherever you can it’s vital to yourself as the main care giver,best of luck to you

  • Gary.
    5 years ago

    I went through an almost identical situation. My wife now lives in a rest home. She is wheel chair bound and cannot use her left hand. Moving her there was one of the hardest things I ever had to do, but probably best for my health.
    You have to take care of yourself!!! But you still have to support her, also. It doesn’t do either one of you any good if your health goes bad.

  • lowejules
    6 years ago

    I have a very good friend that has MS, and my brother just recently was diagnosed. One thing I remember vividly with my friend, and this was about 7 years ago: he had these manic episodes as a side effect to steroid treatment. The good mania would have lots of laughing and the bad would be very very bad, with crying. I just wanted to mention that, for what it’s worth. I wish everyone with MS had someone as wonderful as you to support them!

  • ahchancey
    6 years ago

    I have been experiencing mood swings for many years now. I was dx in 2006. Sometimes I would say I am feeling depressed but usually more unappreciated for my efforts as a wife and mother, those feelings lead to poor me woes. Most of the time my mood swings are anger and irritation, that I just want to be left alone. My family has never been really apart of my illness or even understood it for that matter. I often wonder how they will cope should my day of complete disability come. I try to explain things to them and most of the time, I cant explain myself very well or because I have pushed myself so hard over the last several years that, i feel like I am being brushed off. So at this point to try and explain to them that my mood swings could be from MS, I can almost bet you I would get laughed at. Seriously, I have been seeing a psychiatrist for years and have never been told lesions on my brain could effect my mood. I have been on several medications, and none of them really seem to work, now without anything I may see a big difference, who knows. Is this something I should discuss more with my neurologist or psychiatrist?

  • ahchancey
    6 years ago

    I do want to ad that to Sonny, that it takes a special person to be the spouses caregiver. In April 2013 I lost my dad, that my mother cared for. He was 61 & and she 59. 3 days after my fathers funeral, my mother had emergency surgery, because she had let her health go for 5 years and had ulcers that ruptured, tearing a whole in her bowel, causing leakage and was septic with diabetes. Please keep your health in mind. I have always taken care of myself, saying that I cant care for my family, if i dont take care of myself. May God bless you and your wife

  • kylenixon
    6 years ago

    I have had MS for over 12 years and have experienced similar unpredictable mood swings including crying and laughing for no apparent reasons, not only does the central nervous system have trouble communicating with the body but also from one part of the brain to another part of the brain. It is not you the caregiver, it is not your spouse, it is the MS. Here is what the National Multiple Sclerosis Society has posted on their site about mood changes and crying.

    Emotional lability or “moodiness” may affect persons with MS and is manifest as rapid and generally unpredictable changes in emotions. Family members may complain about frequent bouts of anger or irritability. It is unclear if the emotional lability observed in MS stems from the distress related to the disease or if it is caused by some changes in the brain. Whatever the cause, emotional lability can be one of the most challenging aspects of MS from the standpoint of family life. Family counseling may be very important in dealing with emotional lability since mood swings are likely to affect everyone in the family.

    Also approximately 10 percent of persons with MS experience uncontrollable episodes of laughing and/or crying that are unpredictable and seem to have little or no relationship to actual events or the person’s emotions. A person may sob uncontrollably without feeling sad, or laugh inappropriately in a situation that isn’t funny. These changes are thought to result from lesions—damaged areas—in emotional pathways in the brain. It is important for family members and caregivers to know this, and realize that people with MS may not always be able to control their emotions.

  • margaret
    6 years ago

    I have had MS since 2008 and I have been quite well. I have experienced crying episodes that were out of control. I was blessed enough to have a wonderful psychiatrist who knew what to do. I take pill called Lamictal. It is a mood stabilizer and I take Pristiq which is an antidepressant. I have felt like a new person. Seek psychiatric help as I think that should a part of our care. Gods blessings for you and your family.

  • martin n shell
    6 years ago

    Hey fellow Italian brother. Send me a text we can chat. My wife also has MS and she is the select few that has seziures as well. 540-327-0183

  • TheMagician
    6 years ago

    I would suggest taking a look at her medication. Doctors tend to over-medicate, and that can cause a problem. I take five (5) milligrams of a Lexapro generic. It’s next to nothing, but it’s enough to help me maintain some equilibrium. I know she is disabled, but could she return to school, online, and find a reason to live.

    I am terribly crippled, physically, but I do what I can.

    You are wonderful. It is never you. Find some help with her care, and use that time for yourself. You need time to recover from the effort and stress of caring for someone who is disabled.

    This organization should be able to put you in touch with some good groups, and you should contact your state for possible programs.

    I am starting a charity. You can learn about it at One of the things the charity will do is post information to help people looking for services.

    Good luck with your life and, hopefully, one day there will be a cure.


  • kittykat7025
    6 years ago

    Try looking up PBA..

    Pseudobulbar affect (PBA) is a medical condition characterized by sudden and uncontrollable episodes of crying or laughing. It is sometimes referred to as emotional lability, pathological crying and laughing or emotional incontinence. An episode of PBA can occur at any time, even in inappropriate social situations.

    PBA can occur in stroke survivors or people with other neurologic conditions such as dementia, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) or traumatic brain injury. It is thought to affect more than 1 million people in the U.S. PBA is often mistaken for depression, causing it to be underdiagnosed, undertreated and sometimes inappropriately treated.

  • Kim Dolce moderator
    6 years ago


    Multiple Sclerosis can attack parts of the brain that control mood, and we can get severely depressed about losing our physical abilities. You should report her mood problems to her neurologist so s/he can assess what is causing them and point you toward treatments that can help her. Counseling could help you both as well; as wonderful as you are to stick with your ill wife, being a caregiver can its toll and you need to take care of yourself, too. Please reach out to the professionals for help, for both your sakes.


  • Donna
    6 years ago

    I have had MS since I was 21. I am. Now 57. I have mood swings too. Sometimes I just sit and cry and cry. And it’s no fault of anyone. And I know that , but it is hard on my husband and family, because they think they did something wrong . I now tell them up front” I’m having a weepy day” then they know it’s nothing they did. It’s hard on everyone dealing with the emotions . But at the end if the day, they know I love them and I know they love me.

  • Eden
    6 years ago

    Sonny, I hear ya.
    MS is very emotionally draining on everyone involved.
    I had to move back home with my parents because of my falls, memory, balance… etc.
    I do my best to try to be ‘upbeat & happy’ most of the time, even if I have to fake it. I’m really not fooling anyone though. Not even myself.
    I find myself in tears because of the guilt I feel for asking my parents for help (it should be ME helping THEM, not the other way around.
    It’s frustrating & irritating & scary &…
    It’s a terrible position to be in – for everyone involved. But you recognize her pain & troubles. I bet she is thankful for that. Think about it – How would she fare if you were not there to your love & support?
    You are a good man. We should all have a loving & caring partner like you!
    Chin up bud!

  • Sonia
    6 years ago

    Hi. I am very familiar with MS as my mother had it, I have it, my sister has it, and my best friend. I believe that she is crying out of frustration because of the disease. It has robbed her of the life she had, the hopes, and dreams. Reassure her that you still love her and will continue to do so as you do your best to care for her. Hug her, kiss her, show your love in any way that you can. Tell her that you understand her frustration and that having this horrible disease is not her fault. Are you a Christian? Having a strong faith in God will help you to get through this journey. I will pray for you both.

  • wheels460
    6 years ago

    I would be willing to bet the mood swings have nothing to do with you or your actions. I know my emotions are messed up compared to just a few short years ago it’s surprising what a few lesions can do to brain chemistry. I took care of my mother during her fight with cancer and she told me her outbursts were due mostly to her ineffective ability to take care of herself. Hang in there

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