Columnist Stephanie Towler describes her experience with despression and multiple sclerosis, which often isolates her from friends and activities.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic illness accompanied by various symptoms. Depression is one of the most common. Depression is a shape-shifter and affects one’s life in different ways.
The dark hole
Imagine one week everything is fine. You’re known for being a social butterfly and you hang out with friends. The next week, you turn down all of your plans with friends, crawl into bed whenever you get the chance, and ignore all of your text messages. This is when I fall into the “dark hole.” It’s a destination I visit frequently, often not by choice.
Sometimes I slowly ease down into this dark hole, and other times, I dive in headfirst. Once I’m there, it’s like all of my stressors start piling up and I cannot escape.
Different scenarios play in my head that cause me to question my purpose and existence. I start to talk down to myself and believe that depression is a consequence of my actions. Positive stories on social media make me want to escape this negative mindset, but it’s like the ghosts of my depression pull me back down into the hole. At times, it feels like I’m never going to climb out.
Learning to cope
I have learned to cope in different ways. Journaling is something I do now more than ever. It allows the negativity that is fueling this depressive state to be released. I also have someone in my life that I can vent to without judgment. Having a person in your life that can be that outlet when you need to escape the negativity is very beneficial. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a national help line for those who don’t have such an outlet.
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