Forum

Help with Uncertainty

Hi all

Hope you are all keeping cool and well.

I am hoping I can get some advice from you all with regards to the emotional side of MS.

I was diagnosed a few years ago, started Rebif and have been stable since. However lately I have been having issues with many things (bladder, bowel, liver function, balance) but my doc is really good and making sure I am looked after. All this started about 6 months ago and ever since I have been very depressed and suffer from anxiety (as I keep worrying that tomorrow will be worse) so my doc referred me to a CBT therapist to see if he can help me with my anxiety. The CBT therapist says I have an intolerance to uncertainty meaning I don’t do well with the ‘what if’ situations (what if I get worse, what if I have a relapse, what if my relapse is bad, ect). His advice is to learn to let go.

Here is my problem, I don’t know how. How can I stop worrying about it? I don’t know how to not think about it. I am wondering those of you who are able to cope with the uncertainty how do you do it? What’s the secret to being able to stop worrying and to keep going? I try to distract my self by doing other things (cleaning, work, seeing friends) but when I do find my self alone (almost every night) I cry my self to sleep as I am afraid what might happen tomorrow. It’s driving me insane. If you guys have any advice I would very much appreciate it.

Thanks in advance.

Li

This is something that your CBT therapist should be working through with you, not just telling you to ‘get over it’, if it were that easy they would be out of a job. I’m sure others will be able to offer advice but I would have a talk with this therapist and ask exactly how THEY suggest you move past this. Maybe every night when your feeling fearful, write down in bullet points those exact fears, when you can see them it might be easier to logically reason with. Once you can dismiss a fear as nothing more than a dark imagining you may start to get some of the control back. Don’t be too hard on yourself, MS is never easy to deal no matter how long we’ve had it. Speak to your therapist and let us know how you get on? Best wishes :slight_smile:

Hi Li,

Hoping you’re well, I agree with Anon that your CBT can’t just tell you to learn to let go, It’s their job to teach you the skills how to actually do this, personally I’ve seen every therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist etc going following a breakdown I had 10 years ago, I was then diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder. The big probelm is that depression and anxiety feed each other, personally I think anxiety is the worst and from what you have said you need to deal with that first.

Writing down you worries is good advice, but if you’re having trouble getting to sleep and learning to switch off from your worries then you need to spend a few minutes every night before you fall asleep doing some meditation, it’s tricky to do at first but you do learn to keep the dark thoughts out and get some rest, again your CBT should be able to teach you this. It’s a well known skill that therapists normally teach for this very probelm.

Have you been given/offered any medication for the depression/anxiety? I know a lot of people don’t want the “happy pills” but they don’t have to be high dosage or very strong and they can help get some things in perspective and then you are able to deal with the therapy better and put into practise the skills it teaches you.

You need to remember that “what if?” is excatly that- what if? It’s not “this is definately going to happen”

Take care and be kind to yourself feel free to pm me if you want to, you are not alone.

Keep talking on these boards theres a lot of support on here

BeckyX

Hi Li, The link below may be of interest to you. It covers adjustment as well as depression. All the best Peter http://multiple-sclerosis-research.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/a-treatment-for-depression-in-ms.html

I agree with what the others have said. If you were able to just “let it go” you wouldn’t be seeing a therapist in the first place. It’s like a dentist saying “have good teeth”

My personal method for coping is to think of the worst case scenario and plan how I would deal with it. Once I have a plan in my head I can manage when the dark thoughts trickle in. Funnily enough although this has been a life long coping strategy I found it quite hard to apply to MS because I didn’t want to “go there”. It took therapy sessions to make me look into sheltered housing etc. but now I feel better about the future because I have a rough outline of what I will do if my health deteriorates.

Hope you feel better soon.

Jane

Hi Li I also had CBT for anxiety (before MS diagnosis, 2years ago) and worked out that I had trouble with ‘what if’ situations. I actually suffered from horribly morbid thoughts that severely impacted my day to day life. Anyway, I found mindfulness meditation (and mindfulness generally) to be really helpful. Have a look at the headspace website it has fantastic guided meditations that start at 10 mins per day and some helpful animation clips that explain mindfulness. If u have a smart phone you can download the ‘take ten’ app for free. I have to say, I found CBT really beneficial. I had trained as a psychotherapist and had 3 years personal therapy and was determined that CBT’s ‘quick fix’ approach had nothing to offer me but actually found it more useful than all the psychotherapy I’d had! I had about 10 sessions and was able to stop taking the antidepressants that I’d been taking on and off for 12 years. And so far I’ve not had to start taking them again (even though my husband left me 12 months ago and I’m now dealing with MS diagnosis!) I hope you find sone relief. You can message me if you need/want to xx