Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Mood Swings

MS can cause Moodiness and Mood Swings. Emotions can be all over the place and can quickly change at a moment's notice. Irrational... from laughing to crying at the drop of a hat!

This, combined with my bi-polar depression, can be a rough mix sometimes - it can be a real balancing act some days.
It's nothing intentional or personal, I assure you!
It makes me feel like such a jerk or idiot afterwards - it can be really embarrassing as well.

Mood Swings
"MS can also cause unbalanced expressions of sadness or happiness. Your emotional responses can even be scrambled, causing you to laugh at sad news or cry at something funny. Many patients report a worsening of their emotional symptoms during an MS attack. You can have mood swings, no matter how severe your MS is." (Source)
Some people with MS experience swings in their mood which are sometimes triggered by something specific, but they can also happen without any rhyme or reason. Sometimes these mood swings are a reaction to having MS, but in other instances they can be caused by MS affecting the part of the brain associated with mood and behaviour. These mood swings are hard to live with, and can be extremely distressing to both the person experiencing them and their loved ones. Those of us living with MS can be more easily worn out, both physically and emotionally.

Another symptom that can look a lot like mood swings is called pseudobulbar affect. This is when a person laughs or cries inappropriately. These emotional outbursts happen even though the person isn’t feeling particularly happy or sad.

Here's a few tips that may help, and I hope you will all share your experiences with one another:
  • If your loved one is agitated, angry, or even aggressive take a step back and try to identify any potential triggers. Is there something else going on that could be causing their behaviour? Are they uncomfortable, in pain, on a new medication, or could they even have an infection (such as a urinary tract infection)?Are they in an overwhelming or overly stimulating environment?
  • Try to focus on the person’s emotions, not necessarily the facts. Arguing the content of what their saying can be counter productive, instead acknowledge the feelings that they are trying to express - regardless of whether you think they are appropriate or not.
  • Move to a calmer environment, turn off the TV, go to a quiet area, and try to promote relaxation if possible.
  • If behaviour ever escalates take a step back and give the person their space.
  • Listen to the person’s frustration, try to understand where it is coming from.
  • Provide reassurance, let them know that you are there for them.
  • Validate their feelings, let them know how they feel matters to you.
  • Take a walk or engage the person in an activity that will help distract and calm them if possible.
  • Resist the urge to engage. Avoid yelling, criticizing, or arguing even if you feel that the behaviour is irrational.

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