Living With Increasing Disability Associated With MS

IS Suicide Increasing With MS Patients?

One would think that with all the medications out there to treat Multiple Sclerosis and it’s symptoms that it would seriously reduce a great deal of all the annoying symptoms and flare-ups that we continue to go through. If you take a daily medication to control the progression of the disease, or every other day, even yearly like the medication that I am presently on, the side effects just from those can be disturbing at best but then when you go through flare’s or even exacerbations on an ongoing basis requiring additional medication, steroids, muscle relaxers, pain medication, nausea medication, etc., it quickly becomes a vicious cycle.

Changing of the seasons, cold winters, hot summers, storm fronts all seem to aggravate MS. Unfortunately there is nothing we can do to change, “Mother Nature”, just try to pre-medicate before events become too traumatic. Fatigue, pain, muscle rigidity and spasms all just increase difficulty with sleeping which intensifies these symptoms. Soon it becomes like a dog chasing his tail and it makes one wonder if there will ever be an end to this. Will research ever find the cause and cure of such a devastating disease? MS reacts differently in all individuals, some suffer with less than others, while others disease progresses and takes away their ability to be independent. When so many of us who continue to loss more and more of our independence and suffer with the debilitating symptoms it makes me wonder if there are more suicides than we really know that are happening?

When reading different stories of suicides and why someone would feel the need to take their own life, I also hear the anger of their loved ones left behind. One can really never know the mind of the person who puts an end to their suffering, and to be honest, reading these stories it made me wonder what would it take to put me in the same frame of mind. Then I read stories of those who go through the most devastating diseases such as ALS, and certain types of cancer that are non- curable but very painful, and see that these individuals stuck it out all the way to the end. Is the answer that we are all wired differently? Is depression the reason for this? Do our belief in God and what his wishes are for us play a role in this decision? I am not judging either side of this predicament and believe that you should never judge unless you have walked a mile in his/her shoes.

Being from a medical field and been witness to so many traumatic events in people’s lives that it never surprises me what provides strength in certain situations that deem impossible to overcome. With those living with MS, I have read so many angry stories of ending relationships, problems with having rights to their minor kids due to their disabilities and divorce, and then read some of the most uplifting posts from people who have lost everything even their home due to financial difficulties from being unable to work because of this disease and they have such a positive outlook.  I guess it becomes a decision as to what type of person do you want to be? One who is always complaining and angry at the world, concentrating on what all you have lost or the reverse, a positive person trying to find a silver lining to what has happened to you. Living with MS is NOT easy and it takes daily strength to go through everything it throws at you. I just urge anyone who is at the end of their rope to consider some things for thought before ending your life. Have you and your doctor tried everything possible to treat your condition? Have you tried all the medications? Have you tried therapies of all types? Have you tried a seconded opinion? Have you spoken with a professional therapist who specializes in depression? Have you considered how this will affect your loved ones? Have you tried turning it over to God or your Higher Power?  I beg you to consider all your options and talk this through to those who mean something to you before making a decision of committing suicide. You never know what might be around the corner that can help you. If you are a loved one of someone living with MS, I urge you to keep a great line of communication open and let this person vent frustrations. It may get old to you and get tired of hearing it, but support must be felt by the one who is suffering daily from this horrible disease. Make sure that they know that they are loved and accepted in their present state. If it becomes unbearable for you then provide them with the support they need from professionals, it may be what saves their life. Communicate with the progressive disease individual what their wishes are for events leading to total body shut down. Have them prepare paperwork on what they want or don’t want for life saving measures in the event they are not able to speak or communicate on their own. You can get a Power of Attorney and Living Will paper work at your local hospital, or even possibly at your doctor’s office. Fill this out and keep in a safe place providing copies for all the doctor’s that you see and even one at the hospital that you use. This will take the burden off the family in case the unforeseen happens.

One never knows what course his/her MS will take but knowing you are doing everything possible from getting the best care, taking the correct medications, eating healthy, exercising, promoting a healthy living environment, and talking about the things that are bothering you are so very important. Being as active as you can in your care and responsible for staying current on new treatments are so very important. Provide your doctor with all information concerning how you are doing to enable him to treat you appropriately will make a significant difference. If you do not believe you are being treated like you should by your physician then I encourage you to seek out a second opinion. If possible stay with physicians who are MS Specialist as these are the only types of patients they see and are current on all available treatments and study medications which could help you. This alone could provide you the best treatments that are out there and prevent progression of this disease. Do whatever it takes before it reaches a point where there is no way to improve your situation. As long as you are living and breathing there is always hope!

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.
  • Suzanne

    This sounds like you are trying to convince yourself. My brother had ppms and died at age 38. He was in a coma on a feeding tube. That was 30 years ago. My sister and I each have pms. She is bedridden and catheriized . I’m wheel chair bound. Yes we’re alive. Big deal. Our worlds shrink as our partners’s shoulders just keep on being strained.
    It’s getting to be less fun and less fun as “hope” be oes a thinner thread and the corner bigger!