MS and Mental Health: An Unspoken Bridge

There’s a common misconception that Mental Health effects just the brain, not other parts of the body. Did you know that Multiple Sclerosis can be aggravated by mental health issues?

How does this happen? Stress. 

Stress causes an inflammatory response in MS patients and should always be taken seriously. When someone is having a mental health episode their body immediately is heightened with stress whether they have anxiety, depression, PTSD, or any other diagnosis. This can cause flare-ups and even possibly an MS relapse.

What can we do to help ourselves stay on track? When someone with MS is being treated with medication for a mental health diagnosis it’s important to have open communication between their psychiatrist and neurologist. Steroids and MS meds can throw off someone’s emotional state of mind so it’s good to be monitored by both healthcare providers especially if they are on a new MS medication. This will reassure the patient that their body and their mind are both being taken care of properly.

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A lot of healthcare providers are simply unaware that this is such a struggle for many of us. The way I’ve worded it to my psychiatrist is that when my body is in distress it stresses out my mind, and when my mind is in distress it stresses out my body. It’s an endless cycle that can be definitely frustrating. It makes our bodies ache, and can make it difficult for us to go through our day to day routines.

The battle between the body and the mind is a long and tough battle but knowing what to be aware of is always a way to keep yourself safe. Please be sure to reach out to someone if you are ever struggling.

-Becca Elizabeth (A Punk With MS)

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Season Changes.

MS and the heat have been quite the unfriendly combo to my body. When the humidity gets high I usually hermit out in the comfort of my air-conditioned living room. Fall being soon is quite the relief to me (as it is probably to some of my fellow msers too)

 

For those who don’t know, people with MS are usually hot/cold sensitive and lack temperature regulation in their bodies. If a room is too hot or too cold be sure to let your MS friend know so they won’t overheat or freeze. For me personally I really can’t tell when a room is too hot/cold or if it’s just me. I even have difficulty when it comes to shower temperature. I have to emphasize: not everyone with MS has this symptom but a lot of us do.

Between Therapy, self care, and doing my best not to go completely insane I’ve had my hands full.

Despite of our hardships with weather; I decided to make a list of the little things that are enjoyable especially during a day when the temperature is too extreme for you to go anywhere.

Netflix/YouTube (I’m huge on Rhett and Link lately. I also have a huge documentary kick going on)

Coffee. Nectar of the gods.

Watching the leaves turn color (I live in beautiful New England so this is highly enjoyable)

Sitting on the couch while listening to an audiobook

Craft. Make jewelry, crochet, or pick up a different hands-on activity.

Take a nap. Who doesn’t love naps?

Have a horror movie marathon with snacks.

Write poetry or draw something you’ve been thinking about a lot.

Start a journal.

Bake homemade bread or pastries.

I hope these ideas help. Please be sure to rest and take care of yourselves especially through the upcoming weather changes. Your body will ache and maybe go haywire for a bit but everything will be okay ❤ When winter strikes be sure to come back and read this list. Staying inside to to avoid hot/cold sensitivity is the absolute worst. It can get really boring.

-Rebecca Elizabeth (A Punk With MS)

 

 

 

 

Hope.

Multiple Sclerosis is terrifying. It’s lack of control. You may wonder how to gain control of your life back. The first step is taking a deep breath and realizing that no matter how rough things get you still have a purpose in life. The depression from this struggle can be at an all-time high sometimes. Don’t let it beat you. Don’t let it win.

Be brave for your children and your significant other. If you have neither than be brave for your pets! In all honesty, the most important person that you need to be brave for is yourself. You can overcome this and you can get through this. Focus on a new project, enjoy the summer breeze, look around you and remind yourself of the beauties of being alive.

Our bodies are attacking itself but that doesn’t mean that we need to stop living. Realize your limits and reach for the stars. Don’t think that you aren’t capable of something great.

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Here’s a task. Every day I want you to find something beautiful around you. Look at it. Indulge in it. Allow it to turn your vision into something less dark. You can do this.

 

With Love,

-Rebecca Elizabeth ( A Punk With MS)

The Void. Update.

It’s been a while since I have posted here.

Lately I’ve been struggling with loud thoughts, feelings of severe emptiness, and feelings of extreme love and attachment. All which are BPD symptoms. I always feel empty on some sort of level.

I’ve been out of a long-term relationship since late December last year. I was thoroughly convinced my partner had pure intentions until I got screamed at daily. I was also shoved. Than? I chose to leave him for good. The abuse was escalating and I didn’t want to be there when it escalated more. I stayed there almost a month until I found housing, I listened to his abusive words, screaming, and evil rants daily.

I could cry to him about my feelings and he would usually blankly stare at me like he didn’t care. He also liked to use my mental illness against me whenever I was upset and even guilted me when I wanted to spend more time with my family. I didn’t know what reality was from all the mental abuse, he gaslighted me often. No matter what I did, or how many things I did for him, I was never able to please him enough. I felt like I was just crazy. I got the help I needed a year into our relationship when my mental health wasn’t up to par and he refused to get professional therapy when I brought it up for him. A psychiatrist is good, but with unhealthy behaviors talking this out with someone is beneficial. I told him this.

I didn’t understand. If I got the help I needed for us, why wouldn’t he do the same? On my way out the door, he THAN said he would go to therapy, but the damage had already been done. It was too late. I will always look fondly on the good parts of him that did exist. I’m not saying he never cared about me ever because he did at times.

Losing him was the beginning of all that I knew of my identity being ripped away from me.

I wanted to believe he was the love of my life. Oh boy, was I wrong. I idolized him for so long that it took forever before I saw him as a negative factor in my life.

This is the first downfall my BPD has had in my recent mental decline.

Second Downfall:

My ex-best friend whom I blocked on social media, messaged me the other day on her craft Instagram page. She was telling me how much of a shitty person I am when I told her straight up when I was going to hang out with one of our ex-lovers. I was honest and didn’t hide my feelings. We both had feelings for him and dated him before we knew each other.  That was the right thing to do. Lying is not me. She thought her claws dug deep into me when she told me that my recent ex hit her up. I mean, I’ve found an amazing guy who was someone I had previously dated in college. He’s good to me. He appreciates me. He is genuine. Our relationship is always being built in a constructive and loving manner.

Plus, if she likes being called crazy and gaslighted constantly, my ex is perfect for her.

What dug deep was her saying that I did things behind her back. I almost screenshotted and sent our old convo to call her bluff, but I let it go.  I did see her as a best friend, to this day she would say this isn’t true. It was. I had hoped that she would understand my feelings but she didn’t.

I mean, she’s back with that ex-lover we argued over who mutually wanted to see me at one point. They’ve been on and off for years anyway. No hard feelings on this end. I’m happy that they are happy. It hurts that she despises me this much, but that’s her issue at this point.

 

If you both are reading this finding humor out of it, I pity you for finding humor in someone else’s pain and wish you both the best in life.

Third Downfall:

My boyfriend died and got resuscitated last month, it was terrifying seeing him on life support. I stood by his side and looked after him the week after this incident. He is lucky to be alive. The doctors thought he wouldn’t survive, but sometimes I think about it and feel like I’m going to almost lose him again. It physically hurts to think about it, I literally get scared. Thank God I have a therapy appointment next month. I haven’t brought the incident up in detail to anyone in a long time. It was too difficult to re-live. It’s not an easy thing for anyone to witness. It’s all I could picture for weeks.

Fourth downfall:

I had a best friend who recently passed away from a heroin overdose. His wife who is also my friend found him in his apartment. They think he OD’d on purpose given the amount that was left there. I never have done the stuff, never want to either.

The day before the funeral:

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I separated from him when he was too unhealthy for my mental health three years ago. The last time I saw him was last year. We were inseperaable for a long time before our falling out. I have a lot of guilt. I went to his funeral yesterday, it was one of the most difficult days of my life. He was an amazing person who fought his demons until he couldn’t anymore. His mental and physical issues caused a lot of pain for him, so if anything I remind myself that he’s at peace. To be honest, I don’t blame him for how he felt. He had physical health issues on top of mental health issues. It’s bad enough having a body that won’t listen but a mind that torments you on top of that? It’s a dangerous cocktail. I’ve made it this far somehow, I’m doing my best to keep moving forward.

 

I’ve been able to picture his face and voice clear as day the past week. This loss has been traumatic for me to say the least. I can literally just hear his voice randomly. I got to cry with his wife and mom yesterday which helped a lot.

 

Fifth Downfall:

I’m on a new MS medication called Ocrevus. My MS is a huge trigger for me because I witnessed my mom struggle with her MS for years. She also has been on infusions. Steroid infusions are my biggest memory. I watched her get steroid infusions with an at home nurse my whole life off and on. When a trigger is your own body it increases symptoms. You can’t escape yourself. The side effects make me feel like shit. I’m tired all the time too. I finished the second half my first dose last week.

I feel abandonment by my recent past relationship, I feel abandoned that my best friend died and left me (logically I know it wasn’t meant to hurt anyone), I feel abandoned by my ex-best friend, who sees me as a monster. I feel like one half the time anyway. Ha.

When I’m alone I feel undescribably empty. I feel such intense sadness lately that I feel like my existence is worthless. I get random spurts of euphoria which is how my mania has been. Either I want to die or feel the best I have in years. I wish I didn’t have such black and white thinking.  I can’t wait to feel emotionally close to everyone around me again. I usually mask that empty feeling with a shit ton of weed or sleep. Sometimes both. I drink also but try not to that much due to it becoming an issue in my past. The pain can feel so intense.

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Well, that’s all I’m writing here… for now.

Feel free to comment, I love hearing from you all.

 

Have you struggled with chronic emptiness with your BPD? If so how did you deal with it? How do you deal with your intense emotions?

Feel free to share ways that help. It could help someone who reads this too.

 

Xoxo

-Rebecca Elizabeth ( A Punk With MS)

 

The Long Road

I haven’t updated this blog in a while. Life has been pretty hectic (between mental health/physical health appointments, personal issues, and personal obligations it’s been quite overbearing.) My mental health issues have also flared up, and it’s been a huge struggle. Alas, I have a wonderful online community here and wanted to give my appreciation to all of you, because you have helped me as much as I’ve helped you. We are all a team of wonderful human beings going through similar things. I will be mindful of updating this blog more, because I do not want to throw all of the work I’ve put into this blog away. I am only human of course, and have been lacking the motivation to write, but I plan to use this as an outlet again as soon as possible. If there are any topics you would like to see me write about, feel free to email me at apunkwithms@gmail.com. Thank you all for being so supportive and for following me.

With love always,

-Rebecca Elizabeth  (A Punk With MS)

Forgiving and Letting Go Of The Past?

You’re sitting in a chair relaxing on your front porch watching the sunset when suddenly a feeling of sadness arises. It causes you to feel guilty, useless, and empty. Why are you so sad when you are looking at something so beautiful? The answer? Your mind. Memories.

Why are thoughts so powerful? They can make us laugh, make us cry, and put us in the most positive mental space or negative mental space we’ve ever been in.

There sadly isn’t an easy answer. 

Numerous studies are done on human psychology all over the world, and we aren’t even halfway to learning about the human brain. There is so much information we have yet to find.

My point is, the past can be difficult sometimes. Traumatic events re-wire your brain in a way it wasn’t wired before. 

A lot of damage is done after so many events which can make it difficult to recover after a mental breakdown. 

Letting go is hard. So is forgiving. 

For you I have five words: One day at a time.

-Rebecca Elizabeth (A Punk With MS)

My New BPD life

Today I went to see my therapist (I see her weekly every Monday). When I walked into her office I was a complete mess. For over a year, I have had episodes of severe emotional distress whenever I come back home from being away longer than a day. I had no understanding of why these episodes kept happening. It literally has turned my world upside down. I asked my therapist for some guidance because I seriously didn’t want to end up in crisis again.

The past week has been emotionally exhausting. I left home for 5 days to see my family (there was a medical emergency for a family member) so I got some great quality time with them. I felt so happy……I was SO happy it was truly euphoric. Everything felt perfect and I didn’t ever want that happiness to end. When I got home reality sunk in and I hated everything and everyone around me. I remembered old events that detached me from everyone in the first place. I felt guilty, angry, sad, and felt like my life was truly worthless. I thought that I was worthless. Being on disability the rest of my life? Worthless. Unable to provide for my family like I used to? Again, worthless. An audio hallucination of my own voice inside of my head told me specifically that my life is meaningless. (this is a common symptom for PTSD and BPD patients..they will hear a past abusers voice in their head or their own voice in their head saying things to them. In my situation, it’s only a sentence than it goes away. This has only happened twice in my lifetime. This is from past trauma.) In the past, this intense mood pattern has happened not only after visiting family but after visiting friends for a couple of days. It happens out of the blue some days when I am home (I call these my “off” days)

I detach from everyone when I am in this mind frame. I think everyone is against me or is going to abandon me. I don’t call my mother for days and think everyone hates me. I think I’m not giving enough to others or doing enough for others. When returning home everything my boyfriend does annoys me and I lash out at him. It isn’t his fault, he’s been nothing but supportive of me. I am getting the help I need, and I REFUSE to let my relationship with him fall apart. I hate that I adore someone one moment and feel the complete opposite other times. I hate how I get angry outbursts and cry over the littlest things (little things to others, big things to me)

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(Artist: http://akirakirai.deviantart.com/)

The symptom I am describing is emotional dysregulation at its finest. I also am describing my inability to determine reality from my thoughts and emotions. This is a  huge symptom of BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder)
Well, as of today, have a Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis.

My psychiatrist was originally going to look at a diagnosis between BPD and Bipolar 2 Disorder but my therapist beat her to it. She explained to me in depth why I do not have bipolar 2 disorder.

For more information about BPD, click here.

I once was a mental health professional taking care of people with Borderline Personality Disorder.

I am filled with grief, anger, and even relief to know exactly what is wrong with me. The saddest part of all this is that I have helped others with these struggles, but now I am receiving the same services that I used to give.

I am still human just like anyone else, my emotions and thoughts are just more amplified and more difficult to control.

DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) is a very important treatment for this disorder. There is no cure. Without DBT, the symptoms are not properly regulated. I am doing DBT weekly with my therapist and recommend whoever else has this diagnosis to do the exact same.

I will write more on this topic in the future, but that is all I had to write for now. If you have BPD and are also new to this journey, it is scary. Not only scary but sometimes it can even be terrifying. With DBT and a lot of determination, it can be fought. We have a long fight ahead of us, but we can make it. 💗

 

This is my new BPD life.

 

 

-Rebecca Elizabeth (A Punk With MS)

 

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