MS and anxiety is something that has interested me for a long time. When we talk of anxiety, we think of all the mood disturbances, psychiatric issues and such. As always different people have different things that they consider as being anxiety. Medical professionals tend to lump a lot of people into the "generalized anxiety disorder" category, or GAD. Along with this comes a host of medications to treat this, anti-depressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). I have taken SSRI's for what we thought was a form of depression, anxiety or something like that. Sometimes I don't think even the professionals know what is always going on. I have explored this topic extensively and keep finding that the popular rhetoric seems to be that MS is a baffling condition that often progresses so no wonder people get depressed and anxious. But we all express this sentiment in so many different ways. Let me talk about me for a moment.
I was diagnosed at age 20, in college. I was an active 20 year old, very athletic and out to find my place in this world. Then you tell me I have something I cannot even pronounce. I continued on, little broke my stride until many years later when not only my stride but my spirit was broken.
I picked up the pieces and continued on but things were not as they should have been. So I started to get anxious. But all this time, my brain was being "zapped" in certain areas that was in fact affecting my emotions. Now I think back to how I single handedly tried to bear this brunt. Almost 27 years later, I am finally devising a plan to handle the way my runaway emotions are expressed. Because of my anxiety and where the brain lesions are, I have a case of uncontrollable laughing and sometimes crying. Something inside me starts and cannot stop. This can happen at any time, anywhere with anyone. The worst part is, I am not doing this, it is almost being done to me.
We were at some friends at Thanksgiving. Someone said something that began that ripple inside me. Then I said something that in all honesty was not that funny but the uncontrollable laughing began. Something in me decided that I had enough of this behavior that surfaces only to embarrass me. So I stood up and said needed to use the bathroom and everyone assumed that is why I was laughing! I took a break in order to stop the cycle that had been started. It worked. I came back out and had no more feeling to laugh. We all started talking normally again.
The other morning we were having breakfast with friends and I practiced my mindful meditation and paid very close attention to what people were saying. By doing this, I got involved in conversation, very involved so my mind did not wander to places other than the table. If I would have felt vulnerable in any way, I would have voiced that I was getting a little anxious or just taken a walk to the bathroom or anything to break the pattern.
I have found by suppressing feelings, they come out with greater force. By either breaking the pattern or talking about the process or what was happening was an honest way of dealing with it. I don't seem to be able to get rid of this so these techniques are the next best thing.