Why can't I be sad and unhappy?

Having m.s. saddens me and makes me unhappy. I have periods of depression. Why are these real feeings/emotions often hijacked and translated to something else. I am told by my g.p.that I am grieving ‘for my loss’ and that to be ‘angry’ in the circumstances is perfectly normal. But I am not grieving nor have I ever been angry.

Is the problem the fact that the medics/professionals have difficulty dealing with someone who says they’re unhappy etc. and what is happening is that we are being coerced into stereotypes which are false? That is we are labelled as 'grieving, or processing,or being angry, or coming to terms with, when in reality we are none of these.

And why are so many pwms said to have a ‘wonderful sense of humour’ when some are grumpy old b’s like me!


Hi Michael,

I don’t quite understand. You say that MS makes you “sad and unhappy”, and that you have periods of depression. Yet you also say you are NOT grieving, and have never been angry.

What do you attribute these periods of sadness and depression to, I wonder, if they aren’t a form of grieving?

And there is a theory (maybe now discredited, I don’t know), that depression is simply “anger turned inwards”.

I don’t think anger necessarily manifests as shouting and smashing things up! Not in civilised people, anyway.

What’s in a name? You are OK acknowledging you have periods of depression, but apparently uncomfortable if someone (your doctor) suggests this is grieving?

But what is grieving, if not unhappiness - for a reason?

Or do you believe you are only coincidentally “sometimes depressed”, and that it has nothing at all to do with having MS?

Sorry, too many questions, but I’m just trying to understand what the issue is. It sounds like it might be a case of you and your doctor choosing different terms, for what is essentially the same thing.


JanetHi Michael,

Ask yourself 2 questions.

Why does ms sadden you?

Why does ms make you unhappy?

Answer them honestly to yourself and you should see then what the doc’s are trying to tell you.

After all it’s just your way of coping with your ms and it’s only a name tag.

Hope this makes sense and helps in some small way.


I’m not really sure why people think they need to “deal” with their emotions by fixing them. You have a reason to be sad and unhappy so be sad and unhappy and tell people to shut up if they try and change you.

There is nothing wrong with being sad and unhappy, it’s just like every other emotion we get except we live in a society that focuses so much on negativity that we are never happy and joyful for long.

I have never been angry with my condition…it seems a ridiculous state to lose my temper to something that likely happened to me before I was born. To blame my mother who had no concept of this illness during pregnancy and loved and cared for me then and now.

I can’t honestly say i feel depressed either, I’m not even sure I know what depression feels like, maybe I am depressed and I just carry on without noticing…

I had my first relapse June 2011 and from then on I lost the ability to walk for more than a couple of minutes and no longer able to drive (which I loved). I also almost choked to death back then and realised that there is a good chance one day in the future I may again and that could kill me without any warning.

I had some tears a couple of times and thinking about it never completely goes away but there are times when I laugh and am ok with how I am and I think that’s because like any negative emotion, after a while we get tired of always feeling that way and want to feel something else.

It’s the transition period from how we used to be, how we are now, how we may be in the future and how we likely will never be again that people deal with in different ways. There isn’t a right way to deal with it, there is only your way of dealing with it and while everyone likes to give you their opinion on how they think you’re dealing with it, they don’t really know any better.

hello Michael, why be moody or sad or depressed, you have MS, so what, things could be worse, a lot worse, you could follow Glasgow Rangers, except life as it is, except life is gonna be different, for you, me, for all of us, we are still alive, most of us can get out and about, we can see, hear, feel, talk, think, we have emotions, it’s up to the person to keep the emotions to themself, why alienate or depress others, accept life as it is now, of course doctors don’t, or won’t, understand why a person is unhappy, it’s a bit like MS itself, everyone is different, it’s a, how long is a bit of string, conumdrum, no one knows fully, just enjoy what you have, Brian

I’ve always had a good sense of humour and my daughter and I even find things to laugh at about my symptoms now and again.

However I went through a year just before dx when I completely lost my sense of humour and had anxiety and panic attacks. I felt like I was at the bottom of a pit and couldn’t get out. It didn’t help that some of my family insisted it was caused by stress and all I needed was rest and I would get better. I think It was a combination of the affect MS has on the nerves and the realisation that something serious was wrong. I was very sad at that time and like you there was no anger or tears just sadness. I did recover in time with the help of a mild anti depressant and realising that I am worth something; even without the things I used to think were important, I am worth looking after because the birds still sing and my dog still needed a walk. Everyone has there own way of dealing with it and yours may be completely different to everyone else. We do not necessarily fit into the pigeon holes that health care professionals make for us but we do need understanding and help.

Take care


Thanks for the replies. I have had m.s. for twenty years. It saddens me that one of my children also has m.s. To a lesser degree it saddens me that I can’t do some of the things that I could do twenty years ago. There are times when I am depressed but over the years I have learnt that the depression, when it occurs, will pass.

But I am not grieving, nor am I angry, nor am I processing things or ‘coming to terms with things.’


You can be as grumpy as you like, laugh when you want (if you feel like it) and sneer at the world - but its the time it takes which perhaps could be put to better use (in others opinion perhaps). But by all means do as you feel like because its YOUR life and nobody elses.

Most people try to reach a norm where they feel comfortable and professionals are there to try help (most of em) ease the uncertainty of any situation which can have an effect on your welbeing and consequently your mood. I know lots of people who used to laugh a lot more and enjoy their lives socialising but alas no longer because they have chosen a different path. It is others worrying about whether your mood is indeed applicable to a stage of transition, reaction to something which has happened recently, or perhaps trying to work out if your character/personality is such you are in fact yourself no matter what the circumstances.

If indeed you have always been grumpy then so be it, its YOUR norm.

Sometimes we dont notice how unhappy we’ve become until someone out of the blue suggests we have changed so much perhaps we are not happy with our lot.

Take care M, you be who you want to be, I shall always be regardless