Ataxia UK
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Depression / Anxiety ?

I have suffered with depression and anxiety for many years before my diagnoses of C.Ataxia when since the depression has got SO much worse to the extent of me this morning being driven by ambulance to A & E. Do others feel their depression is related to their Ataxia Really I am talking about severer depression as Ataxia we know courses a certain amount to all I expect. Any feedback will be good.

9 Replies

Hello I suffer from severe depression too, even tried to end my life 🙁 as this is not the life I want to lead and for my family. I am getting help but really not enough from my Mental Health team to the point I have given up with them. I now take one day at a time not thinking about yesterday or tomorrow just think about now. The more depressed I get the more it affects my Ataxia so my thinking is if I can ease the depression surely that could ease the Ataxia?

Its not easy but take a day at a time and I try to remember when I have a good day rather than the bad days.

Always here if you need a friendly ear x

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Dear DesRay57

I am really sorry to hear about your depression. Are you member of a local Ataxia group? Sharing your thoughts and problems can help but Ataxia can cause a great deal of worry. Am I going to fall, is my dizziness normal is my sight a problem etc etc. Doctors should be able to help or refer you, but I can't really give you any advise other than to say we probably all get worried and depressed if that is any comfort to you. My best wishes to you. Ted


Hi there

I feel for you and I know exactly what you are feeling.

I was diagnosed in 2013 after having symptoms for 2 years previously.

Earlier in 2013 prior to my diagnosis, I had a terrible breakdown and ended up in a psychiatric hospital for 6 weeks and then prescribed antidepressants and a diagnosis of severe clinical depression.

I'd never suffered with any sort of depression before just the usual every day stress that people feel and I can't believe that I felt like I did in such a short period of time.

Since then, I've had one more period of 6 weeks as an in patient in the "nut house", and am now permanently on tablets for depression and anxiety. I recently lost my job and my SCA is to blame for everything that has happened in the past few years.

I'm struggling to come to terms with being ill and disabled and grieving for the loss of my life and how I used to be.

You are not on your own in fact I think that we all suffer with some form of depression as we've all lost a huge amount of the life that we knew and are struggling to cope with the new one that we have now.

I'm constantly told that I have to come to terms with it, even by family members and friends and professionals who haven't got a bloody clue how it feels to cope let alone come to terms with it but I just do the best I can on a daily basis. Our families suffer too yet we're all just told to "cope as well as we can".

I'm no expert but I can't let this illness rule my life. I've been in detox for alcohol abuse and now take tablets for that too and have tried ending it all after taking an overdose, but, I'm still here so I just do the best I can with what I've got.

Try and be strong and take every day as it comes.

I have no doubt that I will submit to the depression again but in the meantime I'm trying.

If you want to email me I'm happy to talk as it's easier when you know that there is someone that has a common bond.


If I can be of any kind of help

Take care xx


Good advice there from wendygirl.

It's a bit of a vicious circle. Anxiety makes your ataxia symptoms worse, which in turn makes you more anxious, which makes your ataxia symptoms worse....

I've never actually been medicated for depression, but have struggled mentally all of my life (even before ataxia). Which has resulted in a bit of a "who cares" attitude.

So when ataxia came along, it hit me rather hard mentally too. Which is a normal reaction - it just takes different people, different amounts of time to come to terms with a new, unplanned for, future.

For me, acceptance was they key. And I can't stress how much it changed my outlook for the better. Once I had accepted the new reality - it was like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

Do take care DesRay57 - and I'm always happy to talk (



from my experience I find that I have to accept the condition and enjoy what I have. My partner of 21 years left me as he could not cope so I am living alone for the first time ever. I always make sure I have water to hand as speech is hard. I cannot walk much but have taken delivery of a power assisted wheelchair so I can get outside. I can still drive short distances. friends come and go but the good ones stay in touch. My 3 sons are very supportive but my daughter aged 50 is not- perhaps she has her own problems. You have to accept people as they are and not expect anything and then you may be pleasantly surprised. small things mean a lot so I try to do things I enjoy every day- a TV show, speaking to an old friends, reading a good book. I do think you are who you are. many people say I have not changed- I don't know why they thought I would have- you are still the same person so if you were depressed before the ataxia there is no great change there but it is good to do things you enjoy and make you forget yourself. keep going and hope for the best every day !all the best Sylvia


Dear DesRay 57, I became clinically depressed 21 years ago as the result of a side effect of the drug Inderal that had been prescribed for a heart arrhythmia that I was born with. It had become much worse after the birth of my second child. Anyway, I ended up seeing a psychiatrist who put me on an antidepressant. I also had heart surgery to repair my arrhythmia, which was successful! I started feeling better and found out my first husband (the dad of my two young children at the time) had terminal cancer. Therefore my psychiatrist advised me to stay on the antidepressant. He died (in 1996) and a year after his death I started having symptoms of ataxia. Eight years later I was formally diagnosed with ataxia therefore, once again, my psychiatrist advised me to stay on the antidepressant. That was twelve years ago and although my ataxia has progressed, the antidepressant helps me. It's by no means a "happy" pill, as I still have miny pity parties at times (they're short-lived), it just helps keep everything in check. Apparently, any chronic illness can cause depression and anxiety. Kudos to you for living life one day at a time, as it's easy to fret about the future with this! Try to remember, we don't have any control over what may happen the next minute let alone tomorrow anyway! I know it's difficult to do! Other's advice is so good also! If it's a consolation, so many people suffer with different forms of ataxia, so you're not alone in your journey! We can be supportive of each other because we all feel similar! If you ever want to talk or just need a listening ear my email is Sorry my response was so loooong. My best to you..., ;o)


Hi! I think that only those who have suffered severe anxiety and depression really understand how it can affect your life. I've suffered with anxiety since my late teens, and have had psychiatric input for anxiety and depression on several occasions throughout my life. My diagnosis with progressive ataxia three years ago has really set me back. I have been having counselling for 18 months or so and it does help to some extent, but I have still not fully accepted that ataxia is something I'll have to live with, and it'll not 'get better'. When seated I feel mostly OK but, once I get on my feet and wobble/ shake, reality hits home. I do try 'positive' talk, but with only limited success! Mindfulness has been suggested to me and, though I know living in the present, rather than thinking about the past and future, is sound advice, it's often hard to listen to reason. My counsellor says that coming to terms with the condition is like a grieving process. Also think of better days and try not to dwell on the bad.

I hope this helps a little. You can always send me a post if you wish.

Take care.


Hi DesRay😊

On reflection, I think my lowest point was prior to diagnosis. I was back and forth to my GP literally for years, and I kept getting fobbed off. Dealing with weird symptoms, and getting no support ( or interest) from your GP is something I would guess a lot of people have had to contend with.

I was always quiet and shy as a child, it was hard making friends, and later on at school I was bullied. Lack of confidence and low esteem have plagued me for years.

I had postnatal depression after my first child (1979), it was poorly understood at the time, I don't think I really got over it successfully. Then various events led to more stress being piled on, without counselling or medication to help.

I became more reluctant to join in social events because of fatigue, eye problems, unbalance, and general clumsiness. Family didn't offer support because my GP had said there was nothing wrong. It was a very lonely, scary time.

But, although it's taken years, I actually am in a happier place now. Still with progressive symptoms, only now I understand what has caused them and feel a big weight has been lifted.

I hope all these replies have helped in some way, horrible though it is to 'bare your soul in public' 🙂xBeryl


I take 30mg of Citalipram daily and this helps keeping me on a level.


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