Yvonne deSousa Smiley faceI am usually known for posts that offer a comic nature to my life with multiple sclerosis.  But today, I would like to talk to you about a serious issue, one of which you may not be aware, MS PBA.

Yes, I know, you think I must be writing in the midst of one of my cognitive episodes as you have never heard of MS PBA.   You are likely thinking I typed a letter wrong and maybe I meant, MSPCA.  No. I love animals as much as the next person but I am not referring to the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

So now you are wondering if I meant MS PDA.  No to that as well.  I am currently single and there are no public displays of affection going on in my MS world.  If I happen to be witnessing some PDA in your world, I am probably gagging out of spite.  If I wasn’t single, and out in public with my beau, I probably would display lots of PDA mostly because standing is exhausting and as I am not ready to start using a cane, I would probably be falling all over my beloved in an attempt to stay upright without tiring myself anymore than I have to.

And I am not talking about MS PB&J either.  While a healthy diet is important, and peanut butter is a delicious source of protein and fiber (I am getting some healthy nutrients right now with a jar and a spoon beside me,) the jelly not so much.

Yvonne deSousa Smiley 1PBA is a medical condition that can affect people with neurological disorders.  I learned this while trying to fight brain fog with bad television.   A commercial appeared showing a man crying, followed by a woman laughing, then a woman crying and a man laughing and so on.   It was an advertisement for PseudoBulbar Affect and it is a legitimate diagnosis where people display bouts of uncontrolled laughing or crying emotions.

Too bad I didn’t know about it in the years before my diagnosis when I was a teary eyed mad woman freaking out everyone around me.  I wouldn’t mind if I was displaying the laughing side of the illness; I strongly believe an all out belly laugh is good for you.  Unless you are laughing at someone bigger than you who decides to beat you up because you are laughing at them.    But being able to blame the random sobbing on something other than the sappy movie or PMS?  Excellent!

The commercial provided a phone number if you wanted more information.  I called and received a packet within the week. The packet described PBA in more detail and gave helpful tips; keep a diary to track the uncontrollable emotions (too grueling), tell people what’s going on (like they’d believe you- they already think you are crazy), and breathe (duh, don’t we have to do that anyway?)

It also suggested if these tips and others provided don’t help, you can go on medication.  So I looked at the medication info and the side effects mirror MS- dizziness, weakness, UTI’s, and flu like aches.

Figures.  Thus, I stopped reading about PBA.   My crying spells have calmed down and so I will live my life in the throes of MS PBA without an additional RX.

But really, MS, can you give me a break?  Can you at least make my unruly symptoms be of the laughing kind?

Yvonne deSousa Signature



Note-I intend my blog posts to be humor based.  But if PBA is an issue for you or someone you know, you can obtain more information at


  1. Hey Yvonne!
    What a crack up! You probably won’t believe me but I was just researching this the other day! I had heard that incontinence caused us to laugh and cry uncontrollably as well as have bladder issues… I couldn’t find it on my Google search (my extensive research strategy) so I was thinking there was no connection… it looks like the only thing I had wrong was connecting the word incontinence to it!
    Since laughter is your purpose, mission accomplished on this one!

  2. Thank you so much Linda! So glad it made you laugh-love it! Seriously though, while my posts are tongue in cheek, anyone who is having difficulty with this issue should check out the website Leave it to me to advertise something by making gentle fun of it!

  3. Crazy that most Neuro docs are not even sympathetic to it. I went through my MSPBA period and it was insane. I felt insane, crying over everything. Good to know I am in good company 🙂

    • You definitely are Lisa! I have begun to think that every weirdness I tell my neuro about, they decide that it is not MS related and I must be officially crazy and then three-six months later it is listed as a symptom and there is a new drug for it! Keep the faith!

  4. I too went through my bouts of ms pba. It was a tough and trying time. Its a shame I couldnt get that ms pb&j you talked about 😉

    In all seriousness, thank you for this post though.

    • Thank you Laura, I’m glad you liked it. I didn’t know anything about it until I saw the commercial. But it did explain a lot!

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