A friend of mine who also has MS explained her emotional instability as such. And it's really the most perfect - and concise - description I could ever imagine.
Just as urinary incontinence may cause someone to inadvertently pee on your couch, so too my emotional incontinence sometimes causes me to inadvertently cry... all over nothing... and yet, all over your couch.
I don't mean to do it. I can't control it. And it's really embarrassing to have so little control over something that others take for granted. You want to apologize to those around you. You didn't mean to cause a mess. And yet there you sit... right in the middle of it. Those around you wondering what just happened. You, without an explanation.
I don't think they make Depends for these sorts of accidents.
I wish they did.
In medical terms, they actually call it "emotional lability" and I guess a lot of MSers deal with it. They went through the trouble of labeling it, so it must not only be me. But sometimes it feels like that. It's not always crying. Sometimes it's the need to yell and lash out at those around me too. Fortunately, that's not as common as the crying. And yet, I can control the yelling way better than I can control the crying. Controlling the crying is almost always a losing battle. And it sucks.
I worry that I may never be able to maintain normal friendships and relationships moving forward. Sure, those who knew me before, in more stable times, would know that I wasn't always like this. Those who choose to love me and work to understand the meltdowns, hopefully they will stay. But what about the other more middle-of-the-ground relationships? The ones who haven't already been around for a lifetime? Those that constitute the majority of our social interactions? Our working relationships. Our acquaintanceships. Our regular everyday friends. People we want in our lives, but are not emotionally invested enough to put up with a crazy, crying, unstable friend.
What about those people?
I worry that I won't be able to keep those people in my life. Or that I will constantly have to hide myself when the emotional tide comes rolling in.
I don't want to be constantly peeing on their couch. Eventually they will just stop having me over. And I won't blame them.
But this is who I am now. And I don't know what to do with that.