Depression???

by April McKinley
(TN)

How do you know when MS is getting the best of you & you truly need help...such as mental counseling and/or physical therapy? How do you know it's not just self pity & laziness?


I'm just so physically & mentally exhausted these days & so confused. I don't want to quit my job but each day gets harder & harder to drag myself out of bed. But I'm afraid if I quit working I'll give up on life & just lay around waiting for the sweet relief of death.

On my days off I just want to be alone & I find myself crying a lot but I don't want my family to worry so I keep it hid.

Am I going crazy, am I just depressed like everyone gets from time to time or do I need professional help?

I try to pretend having MS doesn't bother me because I don't want people feeling sorry for me but then I find that I'm feeling sorry for myself & that makes me angry with myself! It makes me feel guilty because things could be so much worse. I feel stupid, lost, lonely & ashamed.

When do I know to ask for professional help & how do I make time for it with my job? We need my paycheck to make ends meet so I really can't just quit but I don't know how much more I can take. :(

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Jan 25, 2012
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You Need Help Now - Part 1
by: Cir & Akrista

Hi April,

From what I can see, you are exhibiting all of the symptoms of severe depression. And the short answer I would give after reading your question, is to go to a doctor now. Go to your neurologist and let him/her know what's going on. They may refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist.

And now for the long answer.

One of the worst things a person with MS can do is hide how you feel from the people closest to you. It may be easier than trying to explain what's going on in your head. In order for your family and friends to understand the progression of your MS, they need to know.

Maybe not every little thing, but you need to be able to talk about what's going on physically and emotionally. As it stands now, everyone thinks you are fine and everything is business as usual. It is not and they need to know that.

If you need to talk to your doctor first, do that. But you also need to talk to your family. It will be very hard for them to find out that all this time you've been hurting and they didn't know it. It will be even harder for them to "get it" that you are not well enough to continue on as you have been.

Even if you don't have to quit your job yet, you need to start thinking of alternate ways to make money. That's one of the reasons we have this web business. I couldn't go out and work, but we needed the extra income when Cir stopped working.

If you have a relapsing type of MS, there are some days when you may not feel like going to work. And it's not a will-power thing. It's an MS thing. If you have a progressive type of MS, then eventually this will become a reality. The day may come when you can't do it anymore. You can't work.

Your family doesn't need to hear this then. They need to know this now. That there may come a day (soon) when you can't work anymore. This is not something you want to do. This is something you have to do.

It's better to talk to those close to you so that you can receive support from them. You seem like a person who wants to spare everyone around you from the realities of life. You feel guilty, lonely, and ashamed for needing help.

(This ends Part 1 of the answer to your question)




Jan 25, 2012
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You Need Help Now - Part 2
by: Cir & Akrista

(Part 2 of your answer)

Believe me, your feelings are understandable, but unfounded. You are not alone. You have family who I'm sure, will want to support you if you let them. You don't need to feel guilty for being sick. You didn't ask for MS, it just happened.

You and your family need to learn together about what MS is and what you can do about it. You, with their help, should begin to work out what will happen if you have to stop working and when that might happen. You can't do this alone, because whatever happens will affect everyone, whether you want it to or not.

If you haven't yet joined the National MS Society (NMSS), do that now. They can answer a lot of your questions about the work issue. Before you make any decisions, talk to someone there.

Begin thinking about your family, close friends, your doctor, your neurologist, as part of your team. These are the people who will help you get through your days with MS. You will ultimately need to make your own decisions based on how you feel, but don't leave them out of the picture.

I think I would have felt terrible if Cir hadn't explained to me how he was feeling. I would have felt worse knowing that I could have helped him deal with it somehow, even if it was just being there.

I was glad I did know. That we were going through this together. I admit, there were times that I didn't "get it" (what he was going through), but eventually I did and we made it through. The most important thing is that we made it through together.

If talking about your feelings is difficult for you, (it is for me), then maybe a support group may help. There may be one through the NMSS that can help you and your family deal with what's going on. At least you can begin the dialogue or listen and learn how others have dealt with it.

Depression is a real symptom of MS. Sometimes it's a side effect of a medication you are taking (that's why you need to see your doctor). And sometimes it's a result of the MS. The uncertainty of living day to day with a condition where you don't know what's going to happen next can cause stress. This can lead to depression.

So get help, now, not later. Take the time now to see a doctor. Talk to your family now. Don't hide it from them anymore. Give them the chance to support you and don't feel guilty getting the help you need.

Hope this helps,

Akrista & Cir

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