Multiple Sclerosis is not something everyone would be keen on having, and for good reason. This disease is a progressive one, and severe disability and emotional problems are linked to it. It’s needless to say, that this can wear down even the strongest person. The link between multiple sclerosis and suicide has long been made, and it’s easy to understand from the outside why some people would consider this. However, things are a whole lot different when seen from the inside.
It is well known that MS implies treatment, a good diet and exercise plan, and a lot of help from others, if one is to make it with this disease. But what happens when everything is turned upside down and there seems to be no way out? People start contemplating suicide.
Suicide is seen as something bad, and is heavily judged by people. However, this article won’t focus its attention on the debate whether suicide is good or bad. It will focus on the link between suicide and MS, how this occurs and how this can be prevented.
MS is an autoimmune disease, and persons can have a multitude of symptoms: emotional irritability, bowel problems, vision problems, fatigue, muscle weakness, depression. Also, MS can put a person into a wheelchair or severely disable that person – which can have a strong psychological impact on one. But, what exactly makes one contemplate suicide?
In a study that wanted to see MS patient’s thoughts on assisted suicide, it was revealed that MS sufferers are more likely to consider this option if they had many MS symptoms, and especially if the symptoms were intellectual loss, emotional distress or memory loss. Vision, bladder and balance symptoms seemed to be unrelated to their feelings. At the same time, disability was not related at all to favorable attitudes on assisted suicide – contrary to popular belief. People that were alone, without good friends, unemployed and not comforted by religion were most likely to consider it.
Suicide is something that everybody dwells upon sometimes, but, to prevent it, MS patients are encouraged to keep a “gratitude journal”, a notebook where they can write down everything they are thankful about – being life events, friends, special occasions, anything that makes and made them happy. The journal should also include the people who would miss them if they were gone, and the people that love them.
At the same time, it is highly recommended for everyone who has thoughts of suicide for more than a couple of weeks to seek help. There are plenty of people who are more than able to help an MS patient that contemplates suicide: friends, their healthcare specialist, a therapist, a counselor, a psychologist, and the list goes on and on.
It’s never easy having MS and sometimes things can seem desperate. However, there are no desperate situations, only desperate people. Thankfully, there are people that can help one get over dark periods, and give one the strength to carry on!