Grieving Over MS

By Jack Webb
Updated 2024-03-24 18:50:48 | Published 2022-06-18 02:14:03
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A few weeks ago, I had a terrible night due to bowel problems related to my multiple sclerosis (MS). The next day, I started seeing all the wonderful and enjoyable things people were doing that I am no longer able to do. It made me feel like crying as I remembered all the things I have lost and how difficult things have become. This is not something I usually feel as I tend to have a positive attitude. So, I decided to reach out to the MS community on Facebook and posted a question about grieving over MS and whether it is helpful or better to stay positive all the time.

5 Things About Grief No One Really Tells You

The post received over 60 responses, and I thought it would be valuable to share some of the wisdom from the community and my own experience. The responses were divided on the merits of grieving. Some agreed with Debbie, who believed that grieving is a waste of time and energy. Steven shared a similar sentiment, emphasizing that dwelling on what you've lost only leads to a negative spiral. Lois advocated for staying positive. On the other hand, some individuals mentioned that grief was inevitable for them. For instance, Cindy expressed her sadness over not being able to move quickly or independently, and missing out on activities with her granddaughter. Others shared that their therapists had advised them to allow themselves to cry sometimes, as suppressing emotions could be harmful.

Tina highlighted the unique nature of grieving with MS, as losses are ongoing rather than one-time events like the death of a loved one. She emphasized the desire to feel included in activities and the difficulty in pushing away grief.

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Some community members focused on the things that they can still do and expressed gratitude for the blessings in their lives. Molly mentioned feeling lucky compared to others, both with and without MS. Bettye, however, mentioned feeling ashamed for feeling sad when others have it worse, which I understand but do not believe to be selfish. Many individuals also noticed that grief related to MS can intertwine with other forms of grief, such as the loss of a friend or world suffering. Grieving is a personal experience that should not be dismissed.

According to the American Psychological Association, grief is the anguish experienced after a significant loss, usually the death of a loved one. However, grief can also be experienced for other types of losses, such as regret or sorrow for personal mishaps. I believe grief and loss are often interconnected, even if one is not visibly sad. The body may mourn the changes and losses caused by MS, and it is unhelpful to ignore these feelings. However, dwelling on sorrows excessively is not productive either.

MS community members have developed various coping mechanisms for grief. Some find solace in sharing their grief with friends, while others suggest channeling anger instead of depression. Psychotherapy can be beneficial in managing depression, and periodic crying can also help individuals move forward. It is important not to hide or pretend everything is fine, as this can place additional burdens on loved ones. The advice commonly given is to stay in the present moment and avoid dwelling on the past. Eating mindfully and being aware of the present can help foster a balanced mindset. It is crucial to find a balance between grieving and staying positive that works for each individual.

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