The cause of my Major on going depression..Physical or Psychological?? This question drives me crazy…all thoughts appreciated.

Its been over a year since I came on here. Had a bit of a breakdown (!) since then. The struggles of everyday life (an abusive partner of 14 years, all financial burden on me, and then trying to cope with the onset of MS and it’s impact on daily life tipped me over the edge.)

I have given up my house, reduced contact with my partner to a bare minimum, had six months of counselling, and am now stuck in the awful position of living at my parents house (an abusive house that I swore ‘d never go back to, so needless to say not helping the situation.) On top of living with MS of course.

As a result of the nature of my relationship, I do not have a single person in my life that I can contact. (Contact with people in general reduced to nothing over the years,that’s what happens in such a relationship.)

So here I am. Still no further forward, Major depression and a Social anxiety disorder rule the roost (along with my MS)

So, one might say, given the circumstances, even without MS it’s a full gone conclusion that depression is in order. And I’d have to agree.

However….(!) I can’t help but notice the pattern. I am in the middle of a relapse right now, and my thoughts and feelings in the run up to the relapse have just spun out of control. I can’t help but feel that there is something physical that is holding me in this frame of mind (10 months and counting, despite the counselling and a heap of effort on my part as all I want is to feel better.)

I swing into Major lows of not wanting to live anymore. And I don’t understand it, nothings triggered it, if anything my MS makes me determined to live and enjoy it.

Am I ruled by depression itself? Or can the relapse I’m currently suffering be responsible for these feelings? After all the effort Ive made this year surely there would be some let up? I have made no progress at all. On the flip side of course, giving me life’s history to date, it might all be quite normal.

I’ve just realised….None of you can answer that!! But any comments would be appreciated as I really feel like something physical is governing my feelings now having made major life changes with no progress with the depression at all… And not sure what to do with it anymore. Thanks in advance

Hi Anon,

The first thing i would say is that if you look at older posts, emotional difficulties are as much a problem as physical ones when it comes to MS. I think you are perhaps in a vicious circle where your disease and your environment are feeding off each other to make your depression worse. Speak to your MS nurse if you have one or speak to your doctor about seeing a counsellor.

Is there anyway you can move out of your parents? And maybe think about the close friends you had before your abusive partner took you away from them. You may find that some of them would love to hear from you - just be prepared to make a few apologies.

Do you have a MS centre or something like that you can go to - even check the library for book clubs etc. You need something outside this situation you are in now. Just one little ray of sunshine in your darkness can help pull you out.

The fact that you have posted on here is a good sign cause it means that you are aware that you have a problem, you just need a (mental) kick up the bum to get it started.

If having a rant and a rave helps then by all means go for it - thats what we are here for, or feel free to PM me - I can rant with the best

Look after yourself, I think you know in your heart what you need to do - you just need prodded to do it. Consider yourself prodded.

JBK xx

Hello anon Welcome back to forum. You say you’ve made no progress but what comes through to me in your writing is that you seem quite strong. You appear to have good insight in to your own condition/personal problems. I can’t imagine how horrible it must have been to live in an abusive relationship…I admire your strength of character. It must be difficult being back with your parents…I hope it won’t be for long. Sorry your in a relapse…is medication helping? What about joining some sort of support group in the new year. Is there some kind of hobby you’ like to take u? I’m just thinking mixing with some like minded people may be helpful. All the best to you…I really hope that life for you improves soon. Love and light, xxx

I’m sorry to hear you’re having such a tough time. Moving out of your parents sounds as though it would lift your spirits. Have you spoken to social housing at all? If you are officially homeless I believe they have to find you accommodation. It might only be a hostel / bedsit initially but they would have to consider your MS in the longer term. Perhaps a visit to CAB to find out the ins and outs of social housing might be useful? From reading your post you sound pretty self aware. Have you tried mindfulness meditation? There are some online resources available and also some books with CDs to follow that might help. I have friends who have really found it lifts their mood and I’m starting an 8 week course in January. Hope this is of some help. Take care and look after yourself. Ann xx

Hi Anon, That you have tried so hard to ‘help’ and ‘fix’ yourself and to understand the mechanism of your depression is an immensely positive thing. I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder when I was 24 - 10 years before my MS diagnosis and it’s likely that my depression issues are caused by some sort of MS related brain damage (sounds so melodramatic to refer to it as brain damage but hey, eggs is eggs) resulting in some sort of physical environment in the brain where depression can develop and take hold. As you probably know, people diagnosed with MS are prone to bouts of depression, often linked to progression of the condition, increased disability etc. But please don’t underestimate how much depression can be influenced by the biophysical conditions in the brain itself. I couldn’t understand by negative and suicidal thoughts initially as I couldn’t identify any events in my life that may have triggered it. Tried CBT, psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, mindfulness/happiness courses. Tried herbal supplements, vitamins, internet pharmacy self-medication then via the GP fluoxetine and citalopram when that didn’t work. Then I was referred to a psychiatrist who decided I had a treatment resistant sort of depression, and the depression was almost certainly due to chemical imbalances in the brain. I’ve been on venlafaxine for many years now, and whilst I still have low ebbs, I have never been sucked completely into the tar-pit of despair that is depression. Thank god. So my only advice is to try and find a medication that will help you - there are many, many different ones out there and it might be just what you need to give you a bit of a boost, let you find a stable footing and move forward. Very, very best of luck x x x

…Many Thanks for your all your thoughts.Thank you. Forgot how invaluable this forum can be. This is the first time I’ve reached out for so very long. Just to know that there are people who get it (even if they are not in my world) is so very important to me. Lots of practical advise too which I hadn’t considered with the centres and housing etc. Suppose I’m in denial still on that front. Dr-F your list of various tried treatments resembles mine, which is why I drive myself mad wondering about the scarring of MS being the obstacle, and not my life events. Interesting you still advise seeking the right medication. Maybe thats a road I will have to go down. Last but not least…so glad some of pointed out how ‘strong’ I sounded!!.. It did didn’t it? Thats good feedback to have when your battling feelings of major depression. The more I write this the more I’m convinced of an MS scar being the culprit here…As I am getting stronger about my life’s events, but with no alleviation with my severely low mood, which just doesnt fit? Glad I cam back here…Thanks and wishing everyone well x

Anon, sorry to bang on like big-pharma’s best friend but I think if there’s a physical reason for the depression then medication is definitely required. The scarring could affect neurones in your brain in one or several of many different ways - not enough neurotransmitter produced, too much neurotransmitter, neurone may become a lot or a little less/more active… And all the positive thinking in the world isn’t going to balance things out again. It helps of course, but sometimes you need an additional approach. I know there’s quite a stigma attached to reaching for the anti-depressants when things get a bit tough but you’ve got to respect and be honest with yourself - things are a lot more than a ‘bit tough’ and you’ve made a huge effort already to try and sort your head out. I hope nobody takes offence with me referring to myself or others with similar problems as ‘broken’ - I mean that only in the physiology of the brain. It’s broken, it’s not working properly any more, it doesn’t have the ability to fix itself so you need to give it some extra help. Good luck and if you have any particular questions at all please feel free to PM me x

I absolutely agree Dr F. Speaking as a qualified nurse and caring for an husband with Bipolar Disorder. There is definitely a place for antidepressants When the brain as a chemical imbalance. No amount of counselling or self-help will put it right. Noreen xxx

I agree with Dr F and Noreen. I’ve have suffered with severe anxiety and depression for about 13 years and no matter what therapy I tried, nothing worked apart from anti depressants. I did ask my first neuro if it was related to the MS but he said no. I will ask my new neuro when I see him next week as I’m convinced there is definitely a link. All the best to you. Lisa

Hi Anon, I’d say that yes, depression can be a part of the MS. I have been told by my neuro and MS nurse that they think my first ‘symptom’ was a very clinical depression which did not seem to be linked to my life, which was good a the time. I’m currently having a relapse and did experience quite bad depression beforehand; again, outwith what was going on in my life. I’d echo what others have said and see about anti depressants - once upon a time I would have been against them but now I can honestly say they have changed my life, mean that I can work full time and also help with fatigue. Take care - you sound like you are doing very well already, leaving an abusive relationship requires great strength. Might be a positive thing to think about/write down all your strengths and all the things you have already been brave enough to deal with. As they say, depression isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of being strong for so long. All the best, Sarah x

I’m registered at Interestingly I’ve received an email this morning, about a recent study that looked at the risk of mood disorders in 201 people with MS. Title: Bipolar disorder in MS: switching between overly joyful and extremely sad. Thought some of you may find this study interesting. Obviously not about the Bipolar but mood disorders in general. xxx

Hi, You’ve made the right start by removing yourself from stressful relationships. That was probably a hard thing to do and something you should be applauded for. It takes strength and guts to go it alone. However, my second point is that you are never alone, so don’t think that you are. There are loads of people who regularly come onto this site who’re used to discussing just about anything. I’m not a big fan of prescription drugs. One of my old primary school friends had massive problems with depression and created the Depression Can Be Fun website (there`s also a book of the same name). It might be worth taking a look. Heather

Anon, I agree with Dr F that seeking a medication tht helps your mood has to be a priority, even (or even especially) if you have not found one to suit yet.

The late, great Iain Banks described alternative cancer treatments as like ‘running into a burning building and trying to put the fire out by means of interpretative dance’. I think that much the same goes for alternative treatments for major depression. Counselling etc are great and have their place, but as well as, rather than instead of.

Good luck with it all.


Hello Heather I appreciate the points you make…the website sounds interesting. You need to understand though, that there is a difference between depression and clinical depression. I don’t like taking prescription drugs…I’m sure non of us do but I’m afraid they are needed in some situations/conditions. xxx

My son had a recent bout of psychosis brought on by venlaflaxin, he went from very low to a state of mania, which was very scary for us parents, he thought he was indestructible and he is such a good lad, but he is now under the care of a mental health team, still at home, but the drugs they prescribed really settled him down, but he has a long way to go, but hopefully the right way. I take cipralex 10mg daily for my low moods (only since MS diagnosis) my neuro said the MS can affect the “happy” part of the brain and copaxone can cause depression as well… but get help - infact- demand it… good luck…