Sad Not Crazy

I’m not depressed. I’m just sad.

Can I be sad?

Whenever my friends are sad about something everyone around them seems to understand. People tell them, “A good cry will do you good”. Well, when I cry people say, “Maybe you should see somebody about your depression.”


What depression?

I’m not depressed!

I’m just sad that my legs aren’t working today. I’m upset that I just slept 10 hours and I’m still too tired to get out of bed. I’m mad that I can’t enjoy a movie at the theater because I have to go to the restroom five times in an hour. That’s not depression that’s a legitimate reason to be disturbed.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for incorporating psychological therapy into the treatment of a disease. I have in the past used a social worker and a psychotherapist to help me deal with my illness. But that doesn’t mean I’m not a stable person who can’t handle adversity on my own. On the contrary, I believe people who suffer with a chronic debilitating disease are stronger than most. Not because we are born stronger than everyone else but because we have to be stronger in order to live a somewhat “normal” life.

Its Okay To Be Sad

When I cry everyone seems to be worried that I am going to hurt myself. I understand the concern but please step into my shoes. Since being diagnosed I have lost and regained my vision, spent 3 weeks in rehab after an exacerbation and lost my ability to safely walk alone. Now ask yourself would any of these events make you cry?

I just want the same consideration.

So please my friends, just like everyone else, can I also have a “good” cry?

Author: Nicole Lemelle

My name is Nicole Lemelle. I am a writer, activist and a person living with Multiple Sclerosis. I created My New Normals to educate those who do not understand MS, reassure people with similar plights and inspire everyone to seize command of their lives.

76 thoughts on “Sad Not Crazy”

  1. Thanks for writing this; I am so sick of people saying “maybe you should see someone” every time I express dejection!

  2. About every six months I break down and cry. This isn’t just crying it is angst, fear and a release from sucking it up everyday. I cry hard and long but I feel better afterwards.

    This disease is depressing. I wouldn’t be normal if I wasn’t depressed by it. The fear is buried in my daily life. I try not to think about it. The big cry is just letting out tension. I think we are normal, crying is a release.

  3. Did you catch Wheelchairkamikazee’s blog today? His was a post about a guy who had trouble with the baclofen pump. It’s worth reading to know the questions which should be asked before the procedure. I wouldn’t normally write about another blog on your blog (rude? not my favorite when people do it on mine), but I thought this one had information which might interest you.

  4. Nicole did an external Law course last year am taking a new protocol of treatment (very hard physically & mentally) I saw someone say “would rather have NS than some other diseases…” Sure agree with that, my friend was Dx with a malignant brain tumour when I was told I had MS ….. She was dead 8 mths later, I have said goodbye to a number of friends from Cancer yeah and MND I have much to be happy about a wonderful husband children well young adults 29 & 30 now I realise there are many many prople worse off than me just get sad so sad when I think about what I took for granted and just assumed what I had and planned for would be there forever and would happen ……..tears come sometimes.

  5. nicole thanks again!!!!!!!!!!! i have even had to say this to my doctors!!!!!!! it is ok to be sad if we werent we’d be nuts!!!!!! xxoo thanks for helping us all feel normal!!!!!

  6. We cry when we feel sad and that there is no other solution to our situation at that moment. Sad movies, songs & pictures. We ALL cry at some point, whether we have MS or not. Does it make us all depressed? No. There is nothing wrong with a good cry, sometimes it takes the edge off. Do we all need medication for it? I think that it is a case by case call. Some may need the medication in order too take a little more of the edge off that a good cry may not. It doesn’t make us a bad person or someone who might hurt themself. ome people need pain medication after having a tooth extracted, some don’t. WE’RE ALL DIFFERENT IN THAT RESPECT, we each handle situations differently. I take paxil; has it helped? Yes….however I was very reluctent to take it at first. We just don’t know.

    1. Nicole, as I’ve said before, your words are a blessing to so many of us MSers. I also have SPMS and have lived with MS since 1983. Not too affected by it until 1999 when I stopped driving. Then came the cane, then my constant companion The Walker and a wheelchair when needed. I fought it, but I stopped teaching in 2000. My cryng became totally unreasonable. It ust wouldn’t stop! I never was too much of a fan of medication, but who is? Now I embrace the stability it has given me. Depression can start by the changes and loss that come with this disease, but then for me, it turnd into something physiological (or is it bio-chemical?). Psychotherapy did give me some relief, but when my neuro finally landed on the perfect combo of drugs, my life felt “normal” again. I cry, but not at a hot-dog commercial! The combination that worked for me was Welbutrin and Lexapto. It took a while to land on just the right formula, but now that we have there’s no looking back. I still cry and had a sad, grieving cry as I lay in bed last night. But I can handle my emotions much better now. I thank the Lord for medication!

  7. Kmow what u mean, have SPMS dx in 2003 probably had for much longer was a phyically and mentally strong woman now a stiff breeze would knock me down trouble walking (with a frame) mainly use w/chair husband has to help me do everything I hate it hate it hate it. I cry for lost plans dreams a future we planned I grieve for all this mongrel disease takes from us all

    1. Tracy, I feel for you. I want so badly to ask a question that you may think inappropriate. But with all that has been taken from you, what do you plan to do? You’ve already taken a huge step by reaching out here and I for am so proud of you for doing something for yourself!

    2. tracy, i also have spms, was diagbosed in 2001; i quit working in 2006, topped driving in 2008; I don’t walk at all & type with 1 finger. My husband cares for me 100% also, while working & traveling. He groc shops & helps with cooking. Does it bother me, hell yes. I have a new granchild, our 1st one, that I can’t even begin to care for as a new grandmother. Are there lost dreams & plans? Many, but I think I have finally come to accept it for what it is. i haven’t given up, I just accept it. The other alternative is 6 ft under & i’m not ready for it. I have my family & I enjoy them too much! Don’t give up, just accept it as it is. You don’t have to like it, just accept it.

  8. I finally realized for me it is IN the sadness of it all that I have found the acceptance of it all. For each step of my journey with MS, yes, there is a point of “depression” with each and every relapse,…or “ebb and flow” as I like to phrase things…but then comes the sadness and the tears, and then the acceptance of…as you so wonderfully put it…my new normal. I am so glad you share your normal’s with us. It lets people like me know my normal’s are just that…normal. <3 2 U

  9. You’re human, and you’re entitled to feel what you feel. Call it situational depression, if you have to. And, if someone still insists, I’ll say I’m grieving; someone died.

  10. It’s like you sensed my own sadness today. Crying is one of the few times where “better out than in” is very apt. So go ahead and let it out!

    As far as everyone’s fears that you’ll hurt yourself, don’t let that stop you from letting go when you need to. Reassure them once and get on with what your mind and soul need from you. It’s admirable to keep others in mind, but sometimes you don’t have a choice. Take care of yourself first, the rest will handle itself. *hug*

  11. You have expressed my feelings and sentiments exactly! Thank you for helping me and, it sounds like so many others, to feel less alone in the struggle. When our flesh is cut we bleed when our heart is broken we cry.

  12. I would cry a river. I am only affected by cog fog. It is extreme and keeps me from driving, working or going anywhere alone. I get lost and confused easily. The essence of me is almost gone. Losing my ability to walk is mind boggling and I don’t know how I would handle that. I feel like I have it easy. Being able to walk is a luxury I don’t forget about. I know my future will have a wheelchair in it. I will cry, I will be depressed but somehow I will cope. All your feeling are part of our coping mechanism.

  13. Good heavens, I wish they’d work more on the actual issue, rather than trying to push the pharmeceutical companies’ profit line! Sadness and mourning the loss of capabilities and dreams is not necessarily “depression”. A pill and sitting us in a corner like a potted plant is not “fixing” or even working toward a goal of making anything better for us. It’s just ridiculous, that because of their discomfort with our situations, the need is felt to medicate us for something such as depression; good grief, FIX THE ACTUAL ISSUE rather than padding the pockets of big pharma. This disease has been known about since the 1700’s, and I don’t know that right now they’re any closer to treatments than they were then (I know lots of money is spent yearly, but I haven’t seen anything close to a “fix”…it still progresses pretty much at its own rate, whether they’re convinced they’re slowing it down or not, they really don’t know, but have us afraid to go off of drugs for fear that……..).

    1. I hear you. All the drugs are immune suppressants…whether interferon or Tysabri or the latest pill form. The manufacturers only recommend these drugs for RRMS but I see doctors prescribing them for everyone. The MS Societies are always raising money for research and they work very closely with big pharma. I am convinced this is a codependent relationship as trying to get them to give $$ to others doing reseach is like hitting a block wall. I am in a study where Dr. Damadian, the original inventor of the MRI, thinks MS is caused by head or neck trama. He found that MS patients show blockage of CSF(cerebral spinal fluid) in the cervical spine area of the body, causing way too much CSF pressure in the brain. It is the leaking CSF in the brain which causes the lesions leading to MS. This is not well received by the accepted MS theologians…but I am a good example of Dr. Damadian’s findings.

      1. Linda,
        Your comment hit a real cord with me….spinal cord that is! 😉
        MRI showed Chiari Malformation and a 1cm lesion on right side. Neurologist pretty much dismissed the Chiari and gave dx of MS. With all I’ve been reading it seems as if the two can present with almost identical symptoms. Since the only “treatment” for Chiari is surgery my doc is taking the “treat MS” approach. As stupid as this sounds, I would rather have decompression surgery than fill my body with chemicals that will only further damage me. Also, I too feel that maybe it’s the blockage of CSF that caused the lesion. Especially since they really don’t know what causes them. Been very frustrated and have yet to find the Doc who will listen to me. Once you tell them you’ve been on a website you can almost see the eyes rolling! Chiari is not well known yet the #’s of people effected in the U.S. is estimated at roughly 300,000. Seems like the only countries that are even giving Dr. Damadian’s theory any consideration is Italy and Canada. I live in Chicagoland and can’t seem to even find a doctor versed in Chiari. All I can say is at least I finally found out it’s “All in my head”…oh how I want to tell my ex that he was right all those years! 😉

        1. Dr. Raymond Damadian has scanned numerous patients with MS and his recent software and hardware allow him to visualize CSF flow and rates of flow and also see the leakage as it happens. I know this because I saw my own scans and leakage around all four ventricles. I was asked if I ever experienced whip lash before I went to New York. Many people have shown Chiari that have MS…it is not one or the other. The reason that “They” have not found what causes MS is that they think it is an autoimmune disease, a reaction to some mysterious virus. They keep looking for the virus…and it is the leaking CSF that is causing the MS leasons. Dr. Scott Rosa is my personal hero…he uses an atlas orthogonal device to non invasively correct the cervical don’t feel a thing. I met the most beautiful young girl this last week I was in New York to see Dr. Rosa…she had been in a car accident and was suffering from drop attacks (as many as 20 a day) mygraine headaches,seisures, and trouble breathing. Specialists could not and medications could not help her. She went on google and put in Head injury, seisures, drop attacks and Dr. Damadian came up. She emailed him and he called her two days later. To make a long story short, she went to New York, was scanned and then adjusted by Dr. Rosa…and her drop attacks stopped, mygraines stopped and she went off oxygen. She said Dr. Damadian and Dr. Rosa saved her life. Dr. Damadian is putting on a symposium in New York on April 6th with Dr. rosa and a couple of other doctors to share what they are doing. They feel MS, Parkinsons, Alzheimers and even ALS is caused by the same issue.

  14. I was just at the neurologist this morning and it strikes me as utterly ridiculous when the subject of anti-depressants is even mentioned. Like all have said, I am in mourning of the old me and inability, not depressed; I told him if he’d fix the problems my mood would lighten significantly! I am tremendously sad, not depressed. And also, I want to know, don’t you still wake up to the same problems/issues regardless of a pill? I mean, is that truly their answer to getting something to go away or “fix” it? Good heavens, work more for us, not the pharmeceutical companies profit line!

  15. I don’t cry very often, but I do at times. I think crying is very healthy and cleansing.

    I am sometimes afraid to not keep it together, because if I don’t, I will never stop crying!

    It is very sad and depressing to look back on everything I always took for granted, that are struggles now.

    I am not depressed, but I am sad sometimes.

    I also know I would rather have MS than many other things.

    I try not to fear what ‘could’ happen, but it is hard not to sometimes.


  16. My older brother told me one time after feeling frustration over my limitations and irritating someone around me…just say “excuse me, you have just witnessed me being human.” For some reason that made me feel so much better. I think of that whenever I find myself overwelmed. I don’t have to say it …I just calm down and forgive myself. OXOX

  17. Being sad is different from depression. My primary care doc frequently wants to prescribe an antidepressant, but I’ve always resisted because I’m not depressed. I was depressed in my late teens/early 20’s so I do know the difference. It’s OK to be sad.

  18. I have to cry pretty regularly just because of the very same reason you mention in this blog entry. I find that most often after my cry, I feel a little better. Similiar to how I talk talk to myself about my MS, or any life issues I am having, I talk myself thru them. But then I think is all this crying and talking to myself actually making crazier ? Hmm. Sigh.

    1. Shannon, It can’t be crying releases emotions, On the other side you do have to get out and involve yourself in the community or anything that takes you out of your niche. But I’m therapist!

  19. Hi Nicole, Sadness is logical, as Life Well Lived pointed out. And crying often accompanies sadness. I don’t remember what or where I read it, but there is something physiologically soothing about crying.

    Those who believe you might ‘hurt yourself’ may be projecting their own fears … if they were dealing with what you are dealing with, they might hurt themselves. I think the only response that might help them stop that negative projection is compassion. Tell them that you are stronger than that, and that they need to see a counselor about their unjustified worries about you.

    Enjoy the good moments, and cry at the sad ones. “I’m Okay, You’re Okay” was once a best seller!

  20. Hi Nicole. I understand what you mean about letting it out. I used to cry so much until about four months ago. I really want to cry because like others have said it is a good release. I just can’t seem to cry no matter how hard I try. I’m not depressed either just get sad about where I am now. Do what you have to do. If you need to cry, do so, regardless whether anyone else understands. I’m sending positive thoughts your way.
    Take good care!

  21. I am a 59 yr. old male whom was diagnosed with PPMS IN 1995. Sometimes it feels like I’m alone in this journey. Is there anyone else out there that has PPMS? I have been wanting to talk to someone else that has PPMS for several years and have had no luck in finding someone. Just wanted to know if they have the same symptoms as me.

    1. You are not alone in this battle. I am a 56 tear old male who was diagnosed with PPMS in 1985. I have accumulated a host of the symptoms that are common. the worst one is the chronic pain from the MS Hug. I’ll gladly swap stories if you want to PM me back. Bryan

    2. I have PPMS. You are not alone. We are in the minority of a club we would rather not be in. Are you on Facebook? We should find a way to keep in touch.

      My symptoms are all cognitive. I can’t drive or work and I am disabled. I take Alzheimer’s meds to keep myself walking and talking.

      Steve, let me know how I can get in touch with you.

    3. I love this sight but also check out “the Wheelchair Kamikaze”. He is a wonderful writer and takes great pictures from his wheelchair, and has PPMS.

  22. Sometimes crying is the only way we can actually release that sadness and send it packing. A good cry, now and then, is healthy! So let the tears commense!
    Peace, Muff

  23. Or the ability to drive unassisted. I have never been a cryer, so now when I do, everyone wants to treat me like a baby with constant vigil! They don’t understand that crying is good for my soul. When I think of my “new normals”, it always makes me sad, but then I cry, release and I’m back!!!

  24. You are so right Nicole. Nothing wrong with tears — they move the energy around so you can get a better perspective on where you are and what you can do next. When I do cry — I follow it with a brief quiet/contemplative time, end with a few minutes of exercise (whatever that means for you) and deep breathing. Might as well get the most out of whatever I am experiencing!
    btw – check out the Oprah and Deepak Chopra meditation challenge starting next week — focusing on attaining perfect health
    – also good luck researching the baclofen pump. I have had one for one and 1/2 years. Happy to share my experience, which was once rocky, but is now really positive….
    Fabulous day – with or without tears!

  25. I often miss my midnight walks in historic St. Mary’s city. I used to go down to the water front and scream, “WAAAGGGGHHHH!” as loud as I could. Why? Because it felt good to release the pressure in my head. I needed the release. I sometimes get the same results from screaming in my car, but some how the confinement of the scream lessens it…or maybe it just makes my head hurt worse. I can’t honestly say other than it doesn’t calm me the same way.

    I have had conversations with my neurologist on depression, and I usually start with the same question you asked here. Isn’t it normal to be sad or angry with life’s event when they suck? If I were never upset when x,y, and z happen, wouldn’t that indicate a problem? Being frequently upset should be the norm, but yes it does cause problems. Spasticity is a monster for me when I’m not calm, and that says nothing for the headaches. Which brings up what should be the question, “Can you calm yourself? Can you bring your emotions to a place allowing functionality in your life most days?” I always promise if the answer is no for any unreasonable period of time, I will talk with him.

    I know depression is a factor for more than half of MS patients, so it’s something for which I watch.

    1. well lived, I think I too am preoccupied with it, because it runs in my family.
      I know too that getting to the gym does me wonders. Almost as good as a good cry in the shower!

  26. I am a firm believer in crying myself…I have found it to be cleansing.and allow some relief to the build up of stress and frustration..

    Heck I have so much experience that I can share that hot tears = sad tears and cold tears = Happy tears….So Nicole cry and let it out when you need healthy!!

  27. I know what you mean, girlfriend. Sad that we’re mourning a part of us we no longer have. Sad because we can’t do what we used to. Sad because we want it all back.

    We circle around you in your sadness because we know what you mean. At least I do! But I hear this all the time from others with MS, and with other chronic illnesses.

    Thanks for putting it in writing. Beautifully.

  28. I get the same reaction. Or if I miss work because my muscle spasms are so bad my ex is texting me “why aren’t you going to work today” so mainly I cry alone so my kids don’t see me. MS is such a lonely disease.

  29. Yip Nicole,Validation. everyone of the above would and does make any human being cry.
    Crying is a “catharsis” very healthy for us so they say?
    That would make us saintly clean. Lol

  30. Of course you can!! (you know I’m a crier-good release!!-kind of like your laughter yoga-but no laughing!!)

      1. Every one deserves a good cry now and again. I always have to cry in private because to me it’s not worth getting yelled at and being instructed on why I should not cry as it will only lead into another flare up. A good cry is cleansing for our own emotional well being. So go ahead cry my friend, it is all part of life and healing our inner being.

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