Anxiety and MS

  Anxiety, Nervousness, Is This Related To My MS?

One condition that I live with each day that is associated with Multiple Sclerosis is Anxiety. Not every day is as severe as others but some days it can almost be disabling. I fight every day not to let it take over my life but it takes concentration and distraction to help keep this condition under control. There is no specific reason for why this seems to be happening, and over 80% of the time no other MS symptoms are even accompanying this.

Some describe this as a nervousness and to be honest I can see why. There seems to be a mild tremor which can be visible if being observed. Uncomfortable is a word I would use to describe how I feel. Some complain of having an elevated heart rate, increased breathing, even breaking out in a cold sweat are other symptoms experienced. It is like something is going to happen which will bring trouble into my world. It has nothing to do with caffeine intake since I monitor this closely. I do have 2 cups of coffee a day but the rest of my fluid intake is water. My anxiety is the most noticeable when being still like watching television or even just driving. No particular time of day seems to be worse. If I allowed it, anxiety could prevent me from performing any activity during the days that it seems to be overwhelming. Even though many with MS seem to have this similar issue, between 30-40%, I have met many individuals which suffer from this who are perfectly healthy. So, is anxiety a separate issue from MS or is truly a symptom associated from this auto-immune disorder?

I have read that there are people who are actually on disability from having anxiety. It prevents them from being able to work, drive, or have any social life what-so-ever. There are medications available to help calm the symptoms of anxiety, and counseling for those who may have an underlying cause; but I have found that meditation, deep breathing exercise, and moderate physical exercise has helped me keep my symptoms under control. It also helps when me when I feel it progressing to just stop and ask myself what is going on in my life that has me in condition? Am I under some stress which I haven’t dealt with? Is there a fear of something happening and if so what is the worst thing that could happen? I am the type of person that internalizes things or puts things in mental departments to deal with later; those departments need to be cleaned out from time to time. Often, it can just come from having way too much on my to-do-list that I haven’t taken the time to prioritize of level of importance. Depression can be accompanying anxiety as well, but this is not a factor for me.

Understanding that you actually suffer from anxiety is the first step in dealing with this condition. Next, make a list of all the things going on in your life which could aggravate it. Try solving or thinking these issues through if possible. Maybe you can talk things over with a family member or friend to help sort it out. Follow through with meditation or deep breathing to help calm the symptoms or even take a brisk walk or an exercise which will elevate your heart rate. Monitor your caffeine intake since this will increase the autonomic nervous system; causing increased heart rate and blood pressure making symptoms worse. If none of these things help, make an appointment with your doctor to see if a medication will alleviate these symptoms. We have enough symptoms with MS without living with this condition too.

MS Blogger and Multiple Sclerosis Activist shares her journey living with MS, tips for others living MS and her husband, Steve, offers his insight as a caregiver for MS.