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:

Or for when you’re trying to talk yourself out of being sick.. 🙋🏻‍♀️🙋🏻‍♀️😂😂

Even if you feel fine, try saying a few of these out loud. Feel what happens to your body when you do.

Do you feel an expansion or lightness in your chest?
Does breathing get a little easier?
Just notice the shifts in your body.

I’m not saying we can talk ourselves out of it (illness, flares etc) … but… our body and cells respond to our thoughts.

So how we think about ourselves is definitely in the conversation of how we can take care of ourselves overall. 
🧡🧡🧡

Or for when you’re trying to talk yourself out of being sick.. 🙋🏻‍♀️🙋🏻‍♀️😂😂

Even if you feel fine, try saying a few of these out loud. Feel what happens to your body when you do.

Do you feel an expansion or lightness in your chest?
Does breathing get a little easier?
Just notice the shifts in your body.

I’m not saying we can talk ourselves out of it (illness, flares etc) … but… our body and cells respond to our thoughts.

So how we think about ourselves is definitely in the conversation of how we can take care of ourselves overall.
🧡🧡🧡
...

37 4
IDK if it’s hot where you live, but where I live, it’s been hot AF.

And you know what that means, you might be seeing an increase in MS symptoms too. 

I’ve been using all the cooling methods, but I wanted to see if there was more I could do. 

Did you know you can use the food you eat to help cool your body temperature too? 

Food can help you stay cool by helping to regulate your body temperature and promoting hydration and sweating.

Some of the foods that help:
🥒Water rich veggies: like cucumber, tomatoes, zucchini, celery etc
🍓Fruits: like berries, melons and tropical fruits 
🥥Coconut water and coconut milk
🌿Herbs: mint (mint water is 💯), dill, rosemary, lavender, lemongrass, chamomile 
🌶️Spices: paprika, cayenne, peppers etc

If you tolerate them, add these to your next shopping trip and I hope you stay cool!!

PS— I just dropped my new Eating for MS guide!! 
If you: 
👉🏼 are confused about what to eat to help MS symptoms because of all the mixed messages online..
👉🏼 are stuck in paralysis by analysis because of said confusion, which makes you do nothing cause you’re afraid you’ll do it “wrong” anyway.. 
👉🏼 know you want to eat differently, but the thought of “starting a diet” sends you into a spiral.. 

This guide is for you!!

Comment GUIDE below and I’ll send you the link to download!!

IDK if it’s hot where you live, but where I live, it’s been hot AF.

And you know what that means, you might be seeing an increase in MS symptoms too.

I’ve been using all the cooling methods, but I wanted to see if there was more I could do.

Did you know you can use the food you eat to help cool your body temperature too?

Food can help you stay cool by helping to regulate your body temperature and promoting hydration and sweating.

Some of the foods that help:
🥒Water rich veggies: like cucumber, tomatoes, zucchini, celery etc
🍓Fruits: like berries, melons and tropical fruits
🥥Coconut water and coconut milk
🌿Herbs: mint (mint water is 💯), dill, rosemary, lavender, lemongrass, chamomile
🌶️Spices: paprika, cayenne, peppers etc

If you tolerate them, add these to your next shopping trip and I hope you stay cool!!

PS— I just dropped my new Eating for MS guide!!
If you:
👉🏼 are confused about what to eat to help MS symptoms because of all the mixed messages online..
👉🏼 are stuck in paralysis by analysis because of said confusion, which makes you do nothing cause you’re afraid you’ll do it “wrong” anyway..
👉🏼 know you want to eat differently, but the thought of “starting a diet” sends you into a spiral..

This guide is for you!!

Comment GUIDE below and I’ll send you the link to download!!
...

13 3
The soil you grow your tomatoes in matters.
Well, the soil you grow everything matters.

(This is also a metaphor for your mind)

Rich nutrient dense soil = healthy plants 
Soil full of sticks, rocks and a tiny bit of nutrients = unhealthy plants

The foundations on which you build a garden (or a mindset) really matter in the end. 

Which would you choose?

PS- My new Eating for MS guide is here!!
If you’ve ever been confused on what to eat to help MS symptoms, this is for you!!

Comment GUIDE and I’ll send you the link to download!!

The soil you grow your tomatoes in matters.
Well, the soil you grow everything matters.

(This is also a metaphor for your mind)

Rich nutrient dense soil = healthy plants
Soil full of sticks, rocks and a tiny bit of nutrients = unhealthy plants

The foundations on which you build a garden (or a mindset) really matter in the end.

Which would you choose?

PS- My new Eating for MS guide is here!!
If you’ve ever been confused on what to eat to help MS symptoms, this is for you!!

Comment GUIDE and I’ll send you the link to download!!
...

4 0
I shoulda just dunked myself lol.

But save this post to have these tips at the ready.

If you’re an MSer.. you know an increase in temperature can cause our already compromised neurons to work even less effectively than normal.

While we may feel like 💩, there usually isn’t new disease activity causing the symptoms. Rather a worsening of current symptoms, which is also called a pseudoexacerbation.

(Now, if you’re feeling extra 💩💩, and some new symptoms crop up, a call to your doc might be in order.)

There’s a few things I have found helpful for managing the heat:

BE PROACTIVE: Instead of waiting until you’re about to melt, use cooling strategies before you really need them. 
Hopefully this way, you’ll never get to the point where you feel like you may burst into flames.

CREATE AN OASIS: If you don’t have central AC, make (at least) one room in your house a cool oasis where you can hide from the heat.

ACCESSORIZE: Get alllll the cooling products. @koldtec scarves, @releafpack cooling packs (amazing for the back of the neck), an awesome water bottle that keeps water ice cold, personal fans or popsicles!

For me, I can feel ok in the heat until all of a sudden I don’t. Using my proactive cooling has helped a ton.
Also, my heat tolerance has been improving since I have been taking so many steps to improve my health.
I rarely feel tingly in my legs which used to be a warm weather staple for me.

But most of all, make sure to advocate for yourself and your comfort.
You deserve comfort as well as any other person.
Please don’t let fear of “ruining” a summer day keep you from saying what you need.
🧡🧡🧡

I shoulda just dunked myself lol.

But save this post to have these tips at the ready.

If you’re an MSer.. you know an increase in temperature can cause our already compromised neurons to work even less effectively than normal.

While we may feel like 💩, there usually isn’t new disease activity causing the symptoms. Rather a worsening of current symptoms, which is also called a pseudoexacerbation.

(Now, if you’re feeling extra 💩💩, and some new symptoms crop up, a call to your doc might be in order.)

There’s a few things I have found helpful for managing the heat:

BE PROACTIVE: Instead of waiting until you’re about to melt, use cooling strategies before you really need them.
Hopefully this way, you’ll never get to the point where you feel like you may burst into flames.

CREATE AN OASIS: If you don’t have central AC, make (at least) one room in your house a cool oasis where you can hide from the heat.

ACCESSORIZE: Get alllll the cooling products. @koldtec scarves, @releafpack cooling packs (amazing for the back of the neck), an awesome water bottle that keeps water ice cold, personal fans or popsicles!

For me, I can feel ok in the heat until all of a sudden I don’t. Using my proactive cooling has helped a ton.
Also, my heat tolerance has been improving since I have been taking so many steps to improve my health.
I rarely feel tingly in my legs which used to be a warm weather staple for me.

But most of all, make sure to advocate for yourself and your comfort.
You deserve comfort as well as any other person.
Please don’t let fear of “ruining” a summer day keep you from saying what you need.
🧡🧡🧡
...

27 4
Growing your own fruit or veggie is a great way to eat more of them!!

It may seem daunting, but it’s actually pretty easy.

Some easy things to grow if you’re just starting out:

🥬Leafy greens (I’m harvesting my kale here!)
🫛Peas
🍅Tomatoes
🍓Strawberries 
🫑Peppers
🥒Squash & zucchini 
🫘Beans

I’ve grown some type of veggie for years now, usually squash, peas and tomatoes (for Scott lol).

Do you have a garden? That can be in ground, raised or even containers like me.

What do you like to grow?? Tell me below!!

PS- need something to do with the veggies you grow?? 

I just dropped my new Eating for MS Guide, where I talk all about what foods are best for MS and give you some recipe ideas so it’s super simple for you to find symptom relief through food too.

Comment GUIDE below and I’ll send you the link to download!! (And it’s free!!)

Growing your own fruit or veggie is a great way to eat more of them!!

It may seem daunting, but it’s actually pretty easy.

Some easy things to grow if you’re just starting out:

🥬Leafy greens (I’m harvesting my kale here!)
🫛Peas
🍅Tomatoes
🍓Strawberries
🫑Peppers
🥒Squash & zucchini
🫘Beans

I’ve grown some type of veggie for years now, usually squash, peas and tomatoes (for Scott lol).

Do you have a garden? That can be in ground, raised or even containers like me.

What do you like to grow?? Tell me below!!

PS- need something to do with the veggies you grow??

I just dropped my new Eating for MS Guide, where I talk all about what foods are best for MS and give you some recipe ideas so it’s super simple for you to find symptom relief through food too.

Comment GUIDE below and I’ll send you the link to download!! (And it’s free!!)
...

18 6
⭐️Changing my diet!!⭐️

First, like and save this post so you can come back to it if you need.

It took me years to finally be ready to consider changing my diet to help MS symptoms.

It actually took a pretty bad rock bottom moment, but that’s a story for another day.

I get it if you feel like this process is hard and daunting.

Start here:
⭐️YOU DONT HAVE TO CHANGE EVERYTHING AT ONCE
⭐️Pick a meal to switch up, include a few different foods a week or increase protein.
⭐️Get curious about how the foods you’re currently eating are making you feel

Those are just 3 suggestions to get you started.

Want more information about Eating for MS?

Like what (imo) you should include in your diet, how to eliminate foods, and meal ideas??
So that you too can feel so much better in your body and get your life back?

I just dropped a new Eating for MS Guide, full of all the info you need to get started on your own food journey.

Comment GUIDE below and I’ll send you the link! 
🧡🧡🧡

⭐️Changing my diet!!⭐️

First, like and save this post so you can come back to it if you need.

It took me years to finally be ready to consider changing my diet to help MS symptoms.

It actually took a pretty bad rock bottom moment, but that’s a story for another day.

I get it if you feel like this process is hard and daunting.

Start here:
⭐️YOU DONT HAVE TO CHANGE EVERYTHING AT ONCE
⭐️Pick a meal to switch up, include a few different foods a week or increase protein.
⭐️Get curious about how the foods you’re currently eating are making you feel

Those are just 3 suggestions to get you started.

Want more information about Eating for MS?

Like what (imo) you should include in your diet, how to eliminate foods, and meal ideas??
So that you too can feel so much better in your body and get your life back?

I just dropped a new Eating for MS Guide, full of all the info you need to get started on your own food journey.

Comment GUIDE below and I’ll send you the link!
🧡🧡🧡
...

34 25
Or, comment WAITLIST to be notified when it’s ready!!

I’ve been talking to many of you about your questions regarding eating for MS.

There’s lots of confusion about what is “right” and “wrong”. 

Lemme tell you, I’ll answer this in the guide for sure- and it prob won’t be the answer you’re expecting?

Drop any other questions below and I’ll answer them!!

Or, comment WAITLIST to be notified when it’s ready!!

I’ve been talking to many of you about your questions regarding eating for MS.

There’s lots of confusion about what is “right” and “wrong”.

Lemme tell you, I’ll answer this in the guide for sure- and it prob won’t be the answer you’re expecting?

Drop any other questions below and I’ll answer them!!
...

19 7
:: first, comment WAITLIST below to be notified when my new Eating for MS Guide is available!::

When I was first diagnosed with MS I didn’t even think to ask if anything else besides medication would help me.

It didn’t even occur to me that changing my diet or managing stress would also play a part in my disease.

It took a few years, several relapses and failed medications for my BOYFRIEND (now hubby) to ask my neurologist if any diet would help.

And even then, my neuros answer was 🤷🏻‍♂️.

If you also haven’t considered it, let me be the first to tell you:

✨IT’S ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE✨ 
to decrease your symptoms and influence your long term prognosis by implementing lifestyle changes.

What we eat
How we move
How we manage stress
Our toxin burden
Our hydration status
Etc etc etc
all go a long way in helping us MSers live better with MS.

I lived this transformation; from totally exhausted and unable to get off the couch to hiking mountains or playing golf,
I KNOW it’s possible for you, too.

I’m in the final stages of putting together a comprehensive resource on Eating for MS, comment WAITLIST and I’ll let you know when it’s ready!!

:: first, comment WAITLIST below to be notified when my new Eating for MS Guide is available!::

When I was first diagnosed with MS I didn’t even think to ask if anything else besides medication would help me.

It didn’t even occur to me that changing my diet or managing stress would also play a part in my disease.

It took a few years, several relapses and failed medications for my BOYFRIEND (now hubby) to ask my neurologist if any diet would help.

And even then, my neuros answer was 🤷🏻‍♂️.

If you also haven’t considered it, let me be the first to tell you:

✨IT’S ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE✨ 
to decrease your symptoms and influence your long term prognosis by implementing lifestyle changes.

What we eat
How we move
How we manage stress
Our toxin burden
Our hydration status
Etc etc etc
all go a long way in helping us MSers live better with MS.

I lived this transformation; from totally exhausted and unable to get off the couch to hiking mountains or playing golf,
I KNOW it’s possible for you, too.

I’m in the final stages of putting together a comprehensive resource on Eating for MS, comment WAITLIST and I’ll let you know when it’s ready!!
...

29 22
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!
...

40 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
...

17 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

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