Mental health and MS problems - does christmas


ive recently been seeing a cpn and councellor for mental health problems.

ive managed perfectly well with my mental health until this year esp last 4-6 months.

winter is very bad for me as i panik and try to avoid seeing people to try and avoid catching bugs that are going around.

i have become very paranoid of this and it really annoys me that people dont understand when i try to tell them its because i

have a lower immune system because of my MS.

does anyone else have issues like these or frustrated that no one can understand you or listen even after you have explained to them.


p.s i forgot to put

do you feel christmas is a more stressful time for you?

do you end up feeling unwell because your trying to be there for everyone else all the time.

oh i hate ms.

sorry i know its christmas and i hope you all have a wonderful one.

im just struggling at the mo.


1 Like

Hi Moo,

Would it surprise you if I told you MS doesn’t cause a lower immune system? It’s actually the opposite - we’re ill because we have an overactive, or at least misdirected immune system. If we had a lowered immune system, that would be better, because it wouldn’t have energy to waste attacking myelin - which is what harms us.

Have your cpn or counsellor ever explored with you whether all your beliefs about MS are really true? Yes, it’s widely bandied about that it’s “an immune-system disease”, but that does NOT mean you have a weakened immune system. It just means it’s doing stuff it shouldn’t.

But yes, coming back to Christmas, I do feel worse, even though I have absolutely zero responsibilities this year, and can spend it all in bed if I like. I’m not too worried about catching things - I’ve had my flu’ jab, and that’s the only one I’m really worried about - the rest are OK. Well, not that I want to be ill, but OK in the sense I’ll get over it same as most people.

But I find crowds more and more tiring and daunting. I just went to M&S, and although it was not as bad as last year, with queuing round-the-block for the tills, it was still very stressful. I find the whole manic atmosphere at this time of year very stressful.

Everywhere you go, it’s all: “Jingle bells, jingle bells”, and: “Have you done your cards yet?”, and: “Are you all ready?” Today I was even asked by a Muslim cashier whether I’m all ready. I nearly blurted out: “You’re not having it, are you, so why should I? And why do you need to know?”

I know she was only being nice, and making smalltalk. The poor woman would probably have been horrified if I’d snapped: “Why should you get away without having it?” So I had to smile sweetly, and say: “Well, not doing much, you know”, rather than tell her I’m bloody peed off with the whole thing (which is how I felt).

You might be interested in this blog by a lady who has bipolar disorder. OK, it’s not MS, but she gets depressed, and she talks about how she copes with Christmas:

I could certainly relate, even though I’m not clinically depressed…at the moment. I’m just knackered all the time by everything.



Hi Moo

As Tina says, MS doesn’t mean a weaker immune system. That doesn’t we needn’t worry at all about ever getting ill - if we do, it can flare up our MS symptoms. Personally, I rarely catch anything, though if I know someone is in the middle of a really nasty cold then I’m a bit wary. But if someone’s got a bit of seasonal snuffle then I’m perfectly happy to see them. I certainly don’t ever avoid seeing people ‘just in case’. But practicing good hygiene will help, like washing your hands regularly. You can get small bottles of hand sanitizer, which you can keep in your pocket for whenever you go out. Have you spoken to your counsellor about it? If anything, your worrying could weaken your immune system. So something like CBT or mindfulness meditation could help with your anxiety.

As for feeling like you need to be there for everyone, it may help to learn to say no, either to other people, or that voice in your head telling you that you ‘should’ do something. Ask yourself what’s really important. I often feel the pressure of feeling like I have to do certain things. But something I’m starting to learn is that it’s OK if something doesn’t get done. We need to take care of ourselves. If that means I don’t put the washing on, or peel the carrots for dinner so I can rest instead, then so be it. Those other jobs can wait, if they even need to be done at all.

You take care of yourself


1 Like

hi moo

your priority is (or should be) your own health and well being.

it’s a juggling act - ms, mental health issues, christmas, family and friends.

so after your own health and well being, then family and friends can have some attention.

christmas is a frame of mind.

in itself it doesnt ask us to shop till we drop, make the perfect christmas dinner etc.

i have had a lovely day today just visiting a couple of friends and spreading the love.

so choose the frame of mind that you want to have about christmas and enjoy it.

Tina - that link you shared was excellent.

carole (a touch tiddly) xx

1 Like

Go to sleep Carole !!! I totally agree with your philosophy for Christmas.

HeheHehe, have a lovely day.

Pauline xx

A great post Tina.

A lot of people think MS lowers your immune system. I avoid grand kids with coughs and colds simply because if i get anything with a temperature it makes my MS worse and not only that my husband has bad COPD and we dont want him getting ill. I have had temperature several times so know the effects, both were with bad UTIs…

Other then that in 7 years since diagnosis i have had LESS colds, actually cant remember having one, well the sniffles but I dont consider that a cold.

If we avoid germs then we dont allow our defence system to strengthen itself.

I actually take a garlic tablet and a cranberry tablet every day…have no idea if that helps lol…but in 7 years it seems to do something.

Yes my problem is going out in crowds and the noise and lights. I just want to get out of there even in my wheelchair i find it hard to cope. I do all my shopping on line now easy peasy.

Christmas was becoming a nightmare for me. My family seem to think because i was a chef and I can cook well and because my christmasses used to be really good, that i can or could still do all that. The last one i cooked was 3 years ago. It nearly killed me physically and mentally, and i vowed never again.

The next year we had an Australian xmas and my husband cooked bar b q it was fab and it snowed it was such fun, and everyone wore australian hats and we had blow up kangaroos in the garden and stuff. We had the best time. BUT I was still left exhausted and spent 2 weeks in recovery hardly able to do anything…

Last year i took all my family out for christmas lunch at local hotel/marquee, it was FABULOUS. No cooking, clearing up, and we had such a laugh and i ENJOYED it as i didnt have ot face a messy kitchen. We came back to my house exchanged presents had a bit of cheese and biscuits some port and a drink and that was it, all done and dusted. No mess. Second best xmas i have had since i have been ill.

Today we do the same. It actually works out cheaper too as by the time you have bought all the food and presents (I dont buy a present i told them taking them out is enough lol), it works out cheaper for me.

The only thing i have had to cook since yesterday is a boiled ham in coke in my slow cooker for me and hubby tomorrrow. Thats it. We are having it with salad and mixed salads (pastas etc) all bought from Tesco.

I find noise, crowds all this Christmas hype makes me feel ill…bah humbug i say lol…MERRY XMAS to you all and enjoy your day with your family.

Never stress over xmas, its just another day albeit a very expensive one. I am just overjoyed i have been given the chance to spend another one with my family, and i think i have found the perfect compromise for me lol.

Next year if we are still here, we are going away lol…xxxxxxxxxx

1 Like

Hi moo i get you 100 percent hun, and to a certain degree i also try to avoid people who have coughs and colds. I used to do that WITHOUT my MS diagnosis, as I simply hate having them.

You can help yourself to keep healthy. Eat well, lots of vegetables and fruits in the winter, and make sure you get vitamin D all these things support our immune system even without MS, no smoking or getting stressed as this can weaken our immune system. I drink lots of plain water, and i drink a smoothie everyday made out of hazelnut milk which is high in Vit D and B12, and i put fruit in it, lovely…

Try not to panic about being exposed to viruses or cold and flu germs. Sadly you cant see them they can literally be anywhere.

Unless you live in a bubble over winter you will have a stressful few months, and you dont want that. Take a deep breath and try to relax yourself through it. Yes I agree with you, you dont need to be exposed to sick people, and I am very lucky as my family are mindful of me having MS and if the kids are sick they wont come round, sadly at one point they always seemed to be sick and i never saw anyone, so thats when i decided what the heck whats the point of being sat on my own all the time, so now unless they have a temp (they are too ill to come out), and they just have a bit of a cough or sniffles they still some to see me.

Its all about BALANCE. I find the social interaction helps me feel better and reduces my stress levels, anxiety and depression and it actually BOOSTS OUR IMMUNE SYSTEM response which helps us fight off infections. So it is about balance. If we get an infection, then after recovery its better to keep away from people for several weeks who might be sick, this allows our immune system to recover some what, so we dont get another infection straight away. Thats what we need to avoid. The ongoing concurring infections…

I was being forced into isolation and I didnt like it one bit through OVERPROTECTIVE family lol…

I do hear you, I do understand, but you have to try and put it into perspective hun, otherwise you will have a very stressful winter which is going to make your MS just as bad WITHOUT the germs.

I also get what you say about Christmas, i am the same, i have written about how i cope with it now. I think everyone with MS finds crowds and noise challenging.

Anyway it is XMAS MORNING HAPPY CHRISTMAS, try to have a good one, chill out relax, dont forget you can get germs anytime of the year, so dont just focus on winter, I have seen more colds in the summer to be honest.

Big hugs. x


yeah, it’s all very hard work, but at least it’s over for another year:-)