Getting over emotional

I am a 32 year old man and be diagnosed for 6 years. In recent months there has been a few occasions when emotions have run high over seemingly trivial things that have lead to me getting quite upset. A small reminder at work from a senior college and my wife getting annoyed over spilling something on the kitchen counter and the flood gates opened and felt the whole world was against me. I have always stayed fairly positive about having ms but feel it is getting harder and harder and the emotional side is taking its toll. Current and worsening symptoms are a constant reminder of the MS and perhaps I let it build up too much.

Hello Douglas

It’s possible that you didn’t allow yourself to express your emotions when you were diagnosed with MS. Just ‘manned up’ and dealt with it. And now the worsening symptoms are forcing you to deal with the emotional side of having MS.

Or, there’s a symptom called ‘emotional lability’, or ‘pseudobulbar affect’. Where your reactions to stimuli are over the top. People can find they laugh or cry completely at the wrong moment. For example, you’re told of a death and laugh, without being able to control it. Have a look at

Whatever the cause, it’s hard I think being male, you learn to mask your feelings. Suddenly coming face to face with worsening MS can cause a sudden overflow of emotion. Perhaps you need to allow some of these feelings out, talk about how your M makes you feel? Perhaps see your GP and ask for some counselling?


Thank you Sssue! This really helps. I have a n appointment with my consultant in a few weeks and I’ll be sure to mention what you have said. Much appreciated

hi Douglas Dont be hard on yourself . As Ssssue says seek some help with the emotional side you dont have to cope alone.

I am sure that you post will resonate with many of us - it certainly does with me.

When I was dx 20 years ago, they local hospital had a psychologist run a little ‘welcome to MS’ group course. (They didn’t call it that really…)

ANyway, I will never forget how the psychologist explained the stress thing. First she drew an x and a y axis on the flip chart. The she drew a horizontal line half way up the y axis and labelled it ‘your old coping capacity’. Then she drew a jagged line, mostly below the horizontal, but occasionally breaking through. She labelled that ‘life’s stresses and strains’ IN other words, we can normally cope OK with most of the things life throws at us, but occasionally something will bust our coping budget and we will struggle.

Finally, she drew another horizontal, well below the first. That, she labelled ‘your new coping capacity’. And, of course, far more of the jagged stresses and strains were now breaking the budget on the new, reduced, coping capacity of the person with a chronic progressive neurological disorder.

As you can tell, it stuck with me, that image. It was useful then and has been useful to me may times since, when I’m getting cross with myself about not being able to roll with the punches quite the way I used it. I think, however, that it has also helped me to be a bit kinder to myself about all that.


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That’s really interesting Alison and explains a lot too. Guess my tolerances to certain triggers are lower than before, maybe that’s why my wife says I snap and say things in an argumentative way but I don’t think I have.

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The emotional impact can often be underestimated and if our responses are affected by ‘emotional lability’, or ‘pseudobulbar affect’ it gets even more complicated. ( I get a bit embarrassed when I either laugh or briefly cry for the silliest of reasons) it is yet another “feature of the new model” me.

With regard to harsh or aggressive responses, this is yet another thing that we have to divert conscious resources to. What I mean is that sometimes I have to hold on to a comment or response for an extra second or two to evaluate just how reasonable or appropriate it is. Sometimes it can be better to say the second thing that pops in our heads rather than the first !

I also reserve the right to be grumpy or shouty, but I try to do it when my family are out.

Good luck


but Douglas, perhaps you don’t say things in an argumentative way - it may be your wife who is getting it wrong.

Just because we have m.s. doesn’t mean we are to blame for everything!

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I think I may have these symptoms. I’m really worried about talking to my neuro about it though as she pretty much seemed to think I’m having bladder issues although I’m not so sure, I think I’m just having the odd normal issue that several of my female friends have too (I’m also a woman).

I was dxd at 16 and have always been very quick to cry, like, very quick to cry and laugh. I am unable to control this as well and have noticed myself being very quick to anger more recently although I haven’t had a worsening I other symptoms.

I am very mindful of the fact this may all be totally unconnected though.

Just feeling very confused,

Best to all,