You Are Not Alone – Anxiety and Depression in MS

By Doug Ankerman

It is not easy.

Of all symptoms one can experience with multiple sclerosis, I find anxiety and depression to be the most challenging.

For foot drop — I wear an AFO. Heat tolerance — I put on a cooling vest. Balance issues — I use a rollator. But for anxiety and depression, there is no aid. No clunky piece of equipment to help you through.

Man, I’ve had my share of both over the years. Diagnosed with MS in 1996, I entered a fog of denial that lasted far too long. I was consumed with thoughts of a future that now included disability. Failure loomed large as a husband, father, and provider.

Anxiety and DepressionMy head spun. My heart pounded hard. My body buzzed with shakes. It was an awful, out-of-control feeling.

I was there by myself. On an island. Believing it was me and only me to face the monster.

Or so I thought. And maybe you do as well.

Truth is, studies show 20…30…up to 50% of those of us with MS experience some form of anxiety and depression.

So you and I are NOT alone in going through this funk like we thought!

Together we can find a way out of our dark forest.

There are many MS organizations willing to help by offering free videos, information and advice. Professional counseling can lend an ear to your troubles. Even your local MS support group is a great way to meet and speak with others sharing similar concerns.

After all of these years with MS, I still face occasional flare-ups with anxiety and depression. Bad thoughts appear, dark clouds swirl in my head forcing me to put out the fire before the flames get too large.

It’s calming breaths. It’s positive thoughts. It’s getting help when needed. And remembering you are NOT alone. You CAN make it through.

*Doug writes about MS and other stuff on his humor blog at

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About MSAA

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is a national nonprofit organization and leading resource for the entire MS community, improving lives today through vital services and support. MSAA provides free programs and services, such as: a Helpline with trained specialists; award-winning publications, including, The Motivator; MSAA’s nationally recognized website, featuring educational videos, webinars, and research updates; a mobile phone app, My MS Manager™; safety and mobility equipment products; cooling accessories for heat-sensitive individuals; MRI funding; My MSAA Community, a peer-to-peer online support forum; MS Conversations blog; a clinical trial search tool; podcasts; and more. For additional information, please visit or call (800) 532-7667.

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