Beginners Guide to MS

Multiple Sclerosis: Emotional Issues

Multiple Sclerosis and the Emotions

"I was prepared for the worst but when the words came out of the doctor's mouth, I was devastated."

Multiple sclerosis (ms) plays havoc with your emotions. Not only do you have to deal with the rollercoaster of fear, denial, grief and anger you may feel about being diagnosed with a disease which is unpredictable and may lead to disability; but multiple sclerosis itself, has some profound influences on emotional well being.

Let me explain.

"Bad News: You Have MS"

When you are diagnosed, or even get to the point where multiple sclerosis is a possibility given the type of symptoms you have been experiencing over the years; you have to come to terms with it.

So how do you handle such devastating news? That you have an illness which can lead to disability? You will probably feel anger at some level. Fear too, since the future you thought you had is no longer clear. You may not really feel anything. You might lash out at everything and everyone around you.

You may feel; frustrated, sad, lonely, anxious, afraid, unhappy, angry, hostile, belligerent, bewildered, lost, depressed, scared, confused ... (No doubt you can add to this non-exhaustive list)

Just coming to terms with the myriad of emotions which a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis brings, is a process. One which occurs over a period of time as you come to adjust.

Bad News, and then some ...

So you have been given your bad news, and you are doing your best to deal with the diagnosis ... and you think you are doing quite well. And you are ...

So why do you keep crying all the time? Why do you feel so down? And, pssst, don't tell anyone, but why do you keep bursting out laughing for no apparent reason, or at really inappropriate times? What the f***? Oh yeah, and why am I swearing so much?

This is because the damage being caused as lesions form has measurable emotional effects if they occur in any part of the brain which deals with emotions.

What this means, is that you have to deal with a highly emotional situation (i.e. the diagnosis) and you must do so with additional emotional problems which are caused directly by the disease.

This can take some effort, not only on your part, but on the part of those around you, so do not leave them in the dark about the situation. Talk to your family, especially a partner. They need to know.

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