Among the greatest challenges faced by MS patients is the everyday experience of living with MS. Living with multiple sclerosis entails, not just the list of routines that patients have to follow to treat their condition, but also the emotional adjustments they have to make in order to begin to cope with the condition.


Keeping it Real: Living with Multiple Sclerosis


What are the important changes that patients have to adopt in order to develop a well-adjusted attitude to living with MS? It is important to realize than an MS diagnosis is earth-shattering to the average person. An MS diagnosis declares that a long road lies ahead for the individual, and that the nature of the journey and the destination are unknown. There is nothing predictable about MS. Some patients’ conditions deteriorate rapidly, while other patients remain in relatively good shape for decades, not presenting with any significant progression in their symptoms. A patient who is first diagnosed with MS has no way of knowing which of these categories he or she will belong to. So, understandably, this patient’s first response to the diagnosis will be shock and grief. The patient will need some time to mourn the potential loss in health, productivity and quality of life that lie ahead.


Giving Help to People Living with Multiple Sclerosis


Mourning takes time. This is precisely why newly-diagnosed MS patients should not be expected to “get over it.” It is normal for them to spend a significant amount of time in denial, then in anger, and in acknowledgement of their loss. It is also normal for them to feel like they have lost their bearings and to metaphorically thrash around, looking for something firm to hold on to. That something may be faith, support from friends and family, or a passion to learn more about the condition and to fight it. All of these factors can give MS patients the strength they need to get through each day. They are essential to living with multiple sclerosis.

The best way for loved ones to support multiple sclerosis patients is to be in their lives and to be ready to give them various forms of assistance and encouragement. This assistance may entail emotional support, logistical support, or help with finances. Each MS patient’s needs are specific to his or her circumstances; so this is something that will have to be determined on a case-by-case basis. The most important thing to remember is that no offer of help, however small or mundane the task involved, is insignificant.