When I was first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2014, I expected some of the physical symptoms that came along with it, but I was pretty surprised by how the condition impacted my mental health.
For the first two years following my diagnosis, I worked at being super healthy, and I convinced myself that I was going to be one of those people that had one big rush of symptoms that prompted my diagnosis and then nothing would happen again.
So when I had a relapse two years later, I developed really, really serious anxiety, something I hadn't expected. No one mentioned it as a possibility, but looking back now, of course it was going to hit me emotionally at some point. MS is a life-changing condition, so naturally it will have a mental impact on anyone diagnosed with it. In fact, I found at times that the mental-health side was actually harder to deal with than the physical symptoms, which I definitely wasn't prepared for.
It took me a good year of really struggling before I actually decided that I needed help. I was meditating, doing yoga, and trying to do everything I possibly could. But after a year passed, I realized that I couldn’t manage it on my own. So I asked for help. I think of it this way: If I had a friend with MS and they needed help, I would want them to tell me so. I would not want them to have to struggle on their own.
For anyone else living with MS and facing the mental health challenges that can come along with it, don't feel like you have to manage things on your own — get the help that you need. It has changed my life for the better, and I’m so grateful I recognized my symptoms and reached out for assistance.
My Perspective articles discuss multiple sclerosis from a specific point of view. My Perspective articles don’t reflect the opinions of MyMSTeam staff, medical experts, partners, advertisers, or sponsors. MyMSTeam content isn't intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.