Advancing Multiple Sclerosis: Coping with depression, stress and anger

Multiple sclerosis (MS) can deeply have untold effects on your physical health. Your mental health will not be left out, too. Anxiety, mood swings, depression, and stress seem to be reported by people who have advancing MS. But you know what?  All of these emotional changes can be managed so that you don’t have much of the symptoms in your daily life. You can actually work on your mind, cut down on your stress level and maintain a great quality of life. It all boils down to you.

Emotional stress and multiple sclerosis

If you are one of the people with MS, I believe you already know that every day comes with new challenges and perhaps questions. Your constant feeling of uncertainty and worry about everything can really cause you more stress, anxiety and fearful.

Cleveland Clinic has given us some typical symptoms associated with MS:

  • anger
  • depressive episodes
  • grieving over a “normal” life loss
  • stress
  • anxiety
  • cognitive changes
  • insomnia

Multiple sclerosis
Photo Credit: Medscape


Multiple sclerosis usually comes with depression. For instance, the drastic changes in your body and mind can make you start having feelings about your life and about yourself.

Everyone has a myelin sheath in their brain. This myelin sheath surrounds cells that are responsible for the transmission of signals in the brain. These cells are called neurons. What the myelin sheath does is to conduct fast transmission signals across neurons in the brain. If you have multiple sclerosis, your myelin sheaths are gradually eroded so that fast electrical signals can no longer be conducted from neuron to neuron. In fact, electrical signal conduction is badly affected. And the pathway for mood excitation is affected.

Depression has a whole lot of treatment plans. I guess that is good news for you.

Your doctor will very likely give you a combination of antidepressant medication and talk therapy.

Talk therapy will be one-one with a professional that has been licensed to practice. You could as well engage in group therapy sessions with those who also have the same condition with you.

How to cope with stress

Stress, when it is in small doses, can be healthy. A little stress dose can help you respond to situations faster than you would have responded if that stressful condition was absent.

You know a little stress dose can even boost your immunity.

But when that little dose of stress becomes consistently prolonged, then it will no longer be healthy for you. It will worsen your condition and make the symptomsmore severe.

Multiple sclerosis cannot be predicted. This alone can add to your stress. Multiple Sclerosis can change and get worse suddenly without a prior notice.

The fact that the symptoms are invisible, financial obligations towards treatment staringat you, and the need for constant adjustment can add more stress to the alreadyexisting stress from the symptoms.

I want you to know that stress can be treated. In fact, a study conducted by some group of researchers found out that Multiple Sclerosis patients that followed the 8-weeks non-stop program for stress management had fewer symptoms and less stress. The program includes muscle relaxation and relaxation breathing.

Engaging in regular exercise can minimize your stress. You should ask your doctor or physical therapist as the case may be about ways you can live an active life without your symptoms getting worse.

How to cope with anger

In moments when you are greatly stressed, you may have no other option than to let it find expression. Yes, express your anger. Express your frustration. Doing this can help you reduce your stress levels. But note that it shouldn’t be your main way of coping with bottled anger from stress.

Calm down. When you have calmed down, ask yourself:

  • Why did I have to be that angry?
  • What made me feel that frustrated?
  • Is there a way I could have prevented what made me angry or frustrated?
  • Is there anything I can do to prevent further occurrence?

You can develop a game plan you can play with for possible future occurrence.

Finding ways to relax

There’re really no right ways to relax. What relaxation means to me might not be what it means to you and some other person. You can relax with what makes you comfortable. You can read an exciting article or book. You can listen to music of your choice. You can cook your favorite meals. Just find out what relaxation means to you and throw yourself into it.

Deep breathing has been listed as one activity that can help anyone get relief from tension, relax their body, and help their mind feel really relax. You should try it often whenever you are stressed or are anticipating stress, for instance, talking in a public setting, checking your test results etc.

You don’t need any special treatment to practice deep breathing. You only need a couple of minutes to do it. You can do it any time you need some calm atmosphere in your mind and body.

Yoga can be considered too. In yoga, deep breathing is combined with gentle stretching of the body. The goal is to ease mental and physical tension. In instances where MS limits your stretch range, you can modify your poses.

What you should aim at is relaxing and putting your stress in check. Find out from yourdoctor when you can begin a yoga exercise.

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