The World According to MS Ennui

John Connor avatar

by John Connor |

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Move along, move along. Nothing to read here.

What a great start to a column!

Last week, my worries about MS lifted as I was consumed by a glitch in my computer software. I’m pleased to report that I’ve found a whole series of admittedly fiddly workarounds. I’m even more pleased that after fruitless (no, not a subtle Apple joke) days of looking for solutions on the internet (none made a difference), they’ve all been thought out by moi.

But instead of feeling smug, ennui infused me. The weight of my MS was crushing me. My body felt like I was imploding into a gnome. Was secondary progressive MS finally suffusing my brain, and thus my body?

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MS and depression

I shouldn’t be depressed, although there’s every reason to be. The incidence of depression among MS patients is, like practically everything else, far higher than in the rest of the population. I know the signs well enough, having actually been clinically depressed for about a year in my late 20s. It was brought on by a whole series of shocks that I probably could have dealt with individually. But not when they were laid out in front of me in one hand!

Somehow, this experience seems to have inured me. Added to that, I also take the antidepressant fluoxetine, but not for the same reason. I learned about it during my manic research to find anything to suppress my most appalling comorbidity, the truly excruciating affliction of trigeminal neuralgia (TN). My doctor accepted my findings and thankfully prescribed the drug. I’ve written innumerable columns about TN. It might be a nightmare, but it’s an MS columnist’s dream!

Taking a break

Eventually, I mentioned to my ever practical wife, Jane, how I was feeling. She immediately countered that alcohol is a depressant. It is, but it would be even more depressing to give it up! There was also the fact that I’d recently increased the amount of liquid marijuana that I imbibed at night — not for recreational reasons, but rather to control my other agonizing comorbidity, the spasticity in my right arm. So, despite now being a vegan, I went cold turkey on both.

The next morning, the ennui lifted. I hardly drink anymore anyway — a can of beer can last me many hours. The body destroys half a unit of alcohol an hour, so I might as well have been drinking orange juice anyway (which surprisingly contains ethanol).

The culprit was the marijuana. I had many mad, happy sprees on recreational drugs in my 20s and early 30s. But they were exactly that — sprees. You can’t maintain a professional life if it takes you over. OK, except for the creative outliers like William S. Burroughs and Hunter S. Thompson. John P. Connor didn’t have their staying power and only shared having a middle initial!

I can only take diazepam every other night due to the threat of dementia from long-term use, so the spasticity has become increasingly difficult to manage on my off days. THC really helps. And there’s no withdrawal from THC, except the psychological kind, and I’m definitely in the clear on that front.

I still take THC but have cut down. Today, I’m writing after one of my diazepam nights. My right arm doesn’t hurt. It’s even partially useful.

MS is with me, but there’s still some fight left.

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Broughton Leanne Broughton avatar

Broughton Leanne Broughton

Keep on fighting. I have thought about this many times and am resolved to see this through to the end. I tell my Dr I am not depressed but I do feel defeated. I too have trigeminal neuralgia, getting worse as the years go by. I am in a flare of TN right now. I tried accupuncture but stopped when accupressure increased my pain beyond tolerable. My neuro organized Botox injections by his colleague at the MS clinic. I had the first treatment, was told it could take 3 treatments, spaced 3 months apart to know if it will hekp. I am willing to try anything. Good luck to you.

John Connor avatar

John Connor

Oh yes, anything.
I now use the 'Quality of life' argument with my Doctors - it's remarkably effective.
And, a good luck to you!


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