Depression


Multiple Sclerosis is a tough disease. It has many common symptoms, vision problems, balance issues, cognitive difficulties. But one that isn’t mentioned, but should be, is depression. Depression is one of the most common symptoms of MS, but one of the least talked about.

Prevalence

The numbers can vary from study to study, but around 40-50% of individuals who have MS will also experience an episode of depression at some point during the disease course. Some studies list it as higher, some lower, but the evidence is clear that depression and MS are linked.

The first reaction for many would be “this makes sense”. MS is a life altering condition that brings high anxiety about the future. But grief and depression are different. Grief is expected and usually improves over time. Or can increase if a new symptom is present, or a relapse occurs. Depression on the other hand, doesn’t improve as time goes on. Yes, if treatment is involved it can, but if left alone, usually it won’t reverse course on its own.

Brain Lesions

Several studies have looked at lesion burden, location and if these impact rates of depression. Studies found that brain lesions do seem correlated to depression rates, as those individuals with higher rates of brain lesions had higher rates of depression. Going a bit further, in these studies researchers were able to target specific areas of the brain and correlate depression with lesion location. Specifically the left anterior temporal and parietal regions. Now, I’m not saying that if you have lesions in your brain, or in these specific areas, you’re going to be depressed. Not at all. There are many other factors that are at play as well.

Cognitive Difficulties and Depression

Cognitive difficulties are another common symptom of MS. Around 40% of individuals state they have some aspect of cognitive issues. Although once thought to not be connected, cognitive issues are also connected to depression as well, especially moderate to severe depression. Studies are showing that tasks that require effort, like information processing, working memory and executive functioning are the things that are affected by depression. Routine tasks that are more like reflexes are not as affected. This might be one of the reasons why it might have been thought that depression and cognition were not correlated. At first on the surface, it seems like they aren’t. But once you dig a bit deeper and look at the full array of processing, it turns out they are.

Inflammation and Depression

One of the causes of depression that has been showing up in research in the past few years is inflammation. Even in individuals without MS, it has been shown that higher inflammation levels are correlated with depression rates. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that brain inflammation was 30% higher in individuals who experienced depression. There is also evidence of increased proinflammatory cytokines in cerebrospinal fluid.

Treatment

With all the information regarding where depression may stem from for individuals with MS, you’d think treatment regimens would be clear. However, it’s not that simple. Considering many of the symptoms of depression and MS look similar, fatigue, cognitive issues and somatic pain (among others), diagnosing depression apart from MS can be rather tricky. However, this shouldn’t deter anyone from seeking treatment. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a form of talk therapy that is very effective with depression. Learning coping skills to help manage depression can be instrumental to living a functional life. Having a solid support system around you as well is important. And, trying measures to reduce both systemic and brain inflammation can be key as well. This could include daily stress management techniques, exercise, eating well and taking supplements. Finding what works for you in your self care plan is crucial.

It is clear that MS and depression are highly correlated. But that doesn’t mean it is an absolute, or a forever if you’re in it now. There are key steps you can take to reverse depression and feel in control again.

If you’re ever feeling suicidal, or in extreme emotional distress, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline — 800-273-TALK (8255) — or access the online Lifeline Crisis Chat. Crisis workers are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Your toll free, confidential call will be routed to the nearest crisis center in the national network. These calls will provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals.

I’M ALISSA!

I help women who have also been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis make specific and personalized diet, lifestyle & subconscious changes so that they can begin to heal their body, reduce disease symptoms, and return to a life they love.hey there,

follow along on Instagram:

I’ve seen this trend with women under 35 and over 35.. so let’s see if we can adapt this for others living with MS!

Those of you who are living with MS for just a few years ask a question and those of us who have been living with it for many years will answer!

Who knows, this may bomb, but the idea is fun!!

Ask away!

I’ve seen this trend with women under 35 and over 35.. so let’s see if we can adapt this for others living with MS!

Those of you who are living with MS for just a few years ask a question and those of us who have been living with it for many years will answer!

Who knows, this may bomb, but the idea is fun!!

Ask away!
...

39 41
Last week I wanted 0 to do with working out. 

I love working out,
I love being able to lift heavy things and feel strong.
But last week?
Nah, I was all set. 

However.. I have some goals and abilities I want to maintain.

Strength training is one way of the consistent ways I help myself to feel good despite living with MS. 

So I made sure that there wasn’t a reason I didn’t want to workout besides my inner toddler, and lo and behold- there wasn’t.
So off I went. 

I gave myself permission to go lighter and slower, which helped me be successful in doing it at all. 

I often find that when I stop strength training for a while, everything starts to hurt, so that’s obviously not what I’m going for. 

I also have a goal of gaining muscle. Muscle decline happens anyway with age, I don’t need to help it along with not moving. 

✨Following through with my daily habits is a form of self care.✨

If you’re done with thinking: 
“I know what to do, I just can’t seem to do it” 
DM me ACTION and we’ll chat

Last week I wanted 0 to do with working out.

I love working out,
I love being able to lift heavy things and feel strong.
But last week?
Nah, I was all set.

However.. I have some goals and abilities I want to maintain.

Strength training is one way of the consistent ways I help myself to feel good despite living with MS.

So I made sure that there wasn’t a reason I didn’t want to workout besides my inner toddler, and lo and behold- there wasn’t.
So off I went.

I gave myself permission to go lighter and slower, which helped me be successful in doing it at all.

I often find that when I stop strength training for a while, everything starts to hurt, so that’s obviously not what I’m going for.

I also have a goal of gaining muscle. Muscle decline happens anyway with age, I don’t need to help it along with not moving.

✨Following through with my daily habits is a form of self care.✨

If you’re done with thinking:
“I know what to do, I just can’t seem to do it”
DM me ACTION and we’ll chat
...

16 4
Instead of being a lump on the couch, now I can go hiking up a mountain with my husband 
Or walk 8 miles around NYC with my sister 
Or do a workout at the gym
Or shower, go shopping and cook dinner all in the same day 

This is possible because: 
✨Yes, the medication I’m on helps for sure 

But truthfully my life has improved so much because of:

✨My daily habits and lifestyle (my morning routine, my diet, my sleep habits, my workouts..)

✨ But what REALLY moved the needle is actively working to have a mindset that allows me to be flexible with myself, to give myself grace when I “mess up” (aka- when I don’t follow through on a habit)

✨This is a mindset that doesn’t require perfection✨

This allows me to be consistent with the habits- like diet changes or movement programs or whatever else I want to do, which then allows me to see progress (aka: my body feeling better)

Which THEN gives me the motivation and desire to keep doing what I’m doing.

✨This is the secret to “success”- right here.✨
Consistent action + giving yourself grace + noticing progress = motivation to keep going. 

It’s not quick or sexy, its actually rather boring.
But boring is actually way better!! 

If you want a life where you:
Feel good in your body, 
Have energy to spend on your friends and family, 
Don’t think about what the MS symptom of the day will be..

I help you create that life for yourself in my signature program, Holistically Healing MS. 

Today is the last day it’s on FLASH SALE… 
Comment MOUNTAIN below and I’ll send you the details!!

Instead of being a lump on the couch, now I can go hiking up a mountain with my husband
Or walk 8 miles around NYC with my sister
Or do a workout at the gym
Or shower, go shopping and cook dinner all in the same day

This is possible because:
✨Yes, the medication I’m on helps for sure

But truthfully my life has improved so much because of:

✨My daily habits and lifestyle (my morning routine, my diet, my sleep habits, my workouts..)

✨ But what REALLY moved the needle is actively working to have a mindset that allows me to be flexible with myself, to give myself grace when I “mess up” (aka- when I don’t follow through on a habit)

✨This is a mindset that doesn’t require perfection✨

This allows me to be consistent with the habits- like diet changes or movement programs or whatever else I want to do, which then allows me to see progress (aka: my body feeling better)

Which THEN gives me the motivation and desire to keep doing what I’m doing.

✨This is the secret to “success”- right here.✨
Consistent action + giving yourself grace + noticing progress = motivation to keep going.

It’s not quick or sexy, its actually rather boring.
But boring is actually way better!!

If you want a life where you:
Feel good in your body,
Have energy to spend on your friends and family,
Don’t think about what the MS symptom of the day will be..

I help you create that life for yourself in my signature program, Holistically Healing MS.

Today is the last day it’s on FLASH SALE…
Comment MOUNTAIN below and I’ll send you the details!!
...

39 2
If you’ve been a client, I’m sure you’ve heard me rant about how society’s expectations for women have set us up for autoimmunity and illness. 

We were praised for being quiet, not rocking the boat, keeping the peace, helping others before ourselves, not talking back, etc etc. 

But where did this get US? The women behind the behaviors? 
Sick, anxious and depressed- that’s where. 

Healing MS or any autoimmune disease can’t happen until you put yourself first. 

That doesn’t mean all of a sudden become a b*tch and ignore the world.

It means considering yourself as much as you consider others. 

One of my clients this week was talking about the boundaries she set in her life and how proud she was of herself. 

She was able to manage the uneasiness (aka: terror) of:
potentially letting others down,
being abandoned and 
discarded for voicing her needs. 

No wonder we’re all sick when even saying our needs outloud is scary!
What allowed her to do that after all these years of staying silent? 

Well many things, but one of them is “nervous system regulation” aka: utilizing small exercises that allow your body to “respond appropriately” aka: not entering an anxiety freak out spiral- to daily stressors. 

This is the “stress management” you’ve been looking for and what will change your life. 

My program Embodied Resilience is your road map to how. 

Drop a 🌀🌀 in the comments and I’ll send you details

If you’ve been a client, I’m sure you’ve heard me rant about how society’s expectations for women have set us up for autoimmunity and illness.

We were praised for being quiet, not rocking the boat, keeping the peace, helping others before ourselves, not talking back, etc etc.

But where did this get US? The women behind the behaviors?
Sick, anxious and depressed- that’s where.

Healing MS or any autoimmune disease can’t happen until you put yourself first.

That doesn’t mean all of a sudden become a b*tch and ignore the world.

It means considering yourself as much as you consider others.

One of my clients this week was talking about the boundaries she set in her life and how proud she was of herself.

She was able to manage the uneasiness (aka: terror) of:
potentially letting others down,
being abandoned and
discarded for voicing her needs.

No wonder we’re all sick when even saying our needs outloud is scary!
What allowed her to do that after all these years of staying silent?

Well many things, but one of them is “nervous system regulation” aka: utilizing small exercises that allow your body to “respond appropriately” aka: not entering an anxiety freak out spiral- to daily stressors.

This is the “stress management” you’ve been looking for and what will change your life.

My program Embodied Resilience is your road map to how.

Drop a 🌀🌀 in the comments and I’ll send you details
...

52 10
It’s ok if it takes time from learning about something to implementing it into your lifestyle.

There is a lot that needs to happen in our mind and body for us to be ready to change something about our day to day life. 

And it’s ok if that process takes longer than you “think it should” or want it too. 

You know what *won’t* help you when this happens? 
Being mean and judgemental to yourself. 

You’re not lazy and nothing is wrong with you, so stop saying that to yourself. 

You know what *will* help you when this happens?
Taking action. 
Action is the antidote to the fear and overwhelm you’re feeling. 

But- in a whole different way than you have been trying.

The key is slow and steady, not sexy or flashy- but this means it’s something better- sustainable. 

Sustainable means “able to be maintained or held”- which is the goal for habits right? 

Being “perfect” for 2 weeks then “messing up” (missing a day) then feeling like a “failure” for that one day, then being “off the wagon” for 3 months isn’t doing you any good (said with muchhhh ♥️♥️♥️)

We want a Supportive Sustainable Lifestyle aka being able to keep up with your habits and progress overtime (ideally for the rest of your life right? It’s about the journey not the destination)

If you want to create a lifestyle that is supportive to reducing your MS symptoms, so you don’t need to be thinking about being on or off “the wagon” again, my signature program Holistically Healing MS is for you.

And good news, it’s on flash sale this week- and the lowest price it will be ever again. 
Comment MSSUCKS below and I’ll send you details
🧡🧡🧡

It’s ok if it takes time from learning about something to implementing it into your lifestyle.

There is a lot that needs to happen in our mind and body for us to be ready to change something about our day to day life.

And it’s ok if that process takes longer than you “think it should” or want it too.

You know what *won’t* help you when this happens?
Being mean and judgemental to yourself.

You’re not lazy and nothing is wrong with you, so stop saying that to yourself.

You know what *will* help you when this happens?
Taking action.
Action is the antidote to the fear and overwhelm you’re feeling.

But- in a whole different way than you have been trying.

The key is slow and steady, not sexy or flashy- but this means it’s something better- sustainable.

Sustainable means “able to be maintained or held”- which is the goal for habits right?

Being “perfect” for 2 weeks then “messing up” (missing a day) then feeling like a “failure” for that one day, then being “off the wagon” for 3 months isn’t doing you any good (said with muchhhh ♥️♥️♥️)

We want a Supportive Sustainable Lifestyle aka being able to keep up with your habits and progress overtime (ideally for the rest of your life right? It’s about the journey not the destination)

If you want to create a lifestyle that is supportive to reducing your MS symptoms, so you don’t need to be thinking about being on or off “the wagon” again, my signature program Holistically Healing MS is for you.

And good news, it’s on flash sale this week- and the lowest price it will be ever again.
Comment MSSUCKS below and I’ll send you details
🧡🧡🧡
...

12 0
One of the criticisms I see about using lifestyle medicine to help improve MS symptoms is that it means “I think my disease is in my control, totally up to me and therefore my fault”.

The things in our control, are only a piece of the puzzle in how we feel, our MS symptoms and disease progression. 

Many more things also go into our health equation:
- Genetics
- Age
- Socioeconomic Status 
- Education 
- Health care access
- Your community 
- Economic stability 

I’m not saying that lifestyle medicine doesn’t matter, it does a lot. I’m just saying it’s not the *only* thing that matters. 

What are your thoughts on this? I know it’s a highly charged topic for some!

One of the criticisms I see about using lifestyle medicine to help improve MS symptoms is that it means “I think my disease is in my control, totally up to me and therefore my fault”.

The things in our control, are only a piece of the puzzle in how we feel, our MS symptoms and disease progression.

Many more things also go into our health equation:
- Genetics
- Age
- Socioeconomic Status
- Education
- Health care access
- Your community
- Economic stability

I’m not saying that lifestyle medicine doesn’t matter, it does a lot. I’m just saying it’s not the *only* thing that matters.

What are your thoughts on this? I know it’s a highly charged topic for some!
...

35 5
Living with MS is hard.
Some days are harder, some easier.

If you’re in a season where it feels hard, I see you.

I believe in you.
🧡🧡🧡

Living with MS is hard.
Some days are harder, some easier.

If you’re in a season where it feels hard, I see you.

I believe in you.
🧡🧡🧡
...

21 2
The food we eat can have a powerful impact on our MS symptoms and how we feel.

It’s not a magic bullet- because nothing is.

But, there is incredible potential for healing and improvement.

If you’re not quite ready to follow a “diet template”, like The Wahls Protocol or Autoimmune Protocol, that’s ok. 

Focus on getting some of these foods on your next trip to the store:

🥗Brightly Colored Fruits & Veggies 
🥬Deep Leafy Greens 
🍤Seafood & Shellfish 
🥜Healthy Fats
🥩Organ Meat

Each of these different types of foods contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help support cellular functions, immune health and even help with myelin formation.

Not eating any of it? That’s ok!
Start with adding a serving or two here and there.
Ideas: 
✨Have a salad with dinner
✨Toss some veggies in your breakfast egg scramble
✨Have some olives or nuts as a snack instead of chips

It doesn’t have to be hard or complicated.

There is SO MUCH we can be doing to help improve our MS symptoms & progression with diet & lifestyle interventions.

Each thing you’re doing matters.

It may seem like it’s not worth it sometimes, but I’m here to tell you it is.

Keep going!
🧡🧡

The food we eat can have a powerful impact on our MS symptoms and how we feel.

It’s not a magic bullet- because nothing is.

But, there is incredible potential for healing and improvement.

If you’re not quite ready to follow a “diet template”, like The Wahls Protocol or Autoimmune Protocol, that’s ok.

Focus on getting some of these foods on your next trip to the store:

🥗Brightly Colored Fruits & Veggies
🥬Deep Leafy Greens
🍤Seafood & Shellfish
🥜Healthy Fats
🥩Organ Meat

Each of these different types of foods contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help support cellular functions, immune health and even help with myelin formation.

Not eating any of it? That’s ok!
Start with adding a serving or two here and there.
Ideas:
✨Have a salad with dinner
✨Toss some veggies in your breakfast egg scramble
✨Have some olives or nuts as a snack instead of chips

It doesn’t have to be hard or complicated.

There is SO MUCH we can be doing to help improve our MS symptoms & progression with diet & lifestyle interventions.

Each thing you’re doing matters.

It may seem like it’s not worth it sometimes, but I’m here to tell you it is.

Keep going!
🧡🧡
...

19 6
In case you needed to hear that today.

You’re not a failure.
You didn’t “fail” at healing.
Having MS is hard- do what’s best for you.

In case you needed to hear that today.

You’re not a failure.
You didn’t “fail” at healing.
Having MS is hard- do what’s best for you.
...

62 9
This is my challenge to you over the next week.

Take some time and think about this past year.

All you’re proud of, all you’ve accomplished. And if you have some things that don’t bring you joy, be proud of yourself for making it through in one piece and still being here.

Reflection is a great way to cultivate motivation to keep going..

You’re doing amazing.
You’ve done amazing.
Let’s keep going.
🧡❤️🧡

This is my challenge to you over the next week.

Take some time and think about this past year.

All you’re proud of, all you’ve accomplished. And if you have some things that don’t bring you joy, be proud of yourself for making it through in one piece and still being here.

Reflection is a great way to cultivate motivation to keep going..

You’re doing amazing.
You’ve done amazing.
Let’s keep going.
🧡❤️🧡
...

22 4
Comparison is the thief of joy.

Regardless of what you see others doing,
you’re right where you should be.

❤️🧡❤️

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Regardless of what you see others doing,
you’re right where you should be.

❤️🧡❤️
...

26 10

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