Living with M.S.

"Living with M.S. is sort of like training for a long race. The harder you try, and the longer you keep at it, the stronger you become.
Eventually, looking back, you may be amazed at the power you possessed, even when you had no idea it was within your reach." (Linda Ann Nickerson)

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Thursday

Should you tell people you have MS?



Multiple sclerosis may be a difficult secret to keep, as the years go by and symptoms come and go and come again. Should it be a secret, or is it something to share with others? And exactly whom ought the MSer to clue in?

Who needs to know, if you have MS?

Who has the right to know, and who doesn’t really need to? Who will be helpful, and who might use the information in a less-than-helpful way?

This is an emotionally laden issue.

For some, keeping MS to themselves may only add to their already full stress loads. For others, the disclosure may add to their anxiety.

Certainly once you tell, you can’t take it back. It’s out there.

Sharing the MS secret is sort of like the often told analogy of squeezing toothpaste out of the tube. Once it’s come out of the tube, you really cannot put it back in.

Sometimes it may be worth it, particularly if you need special accommodations or simply feel you could benefit from some extra encouragement or assistance from others. But it pays to choose wisely.

I have found some exceptionally supportive people through sharing my own story. But there are other people (even people with whom I have been fairly close over the years) with whom I may never share much of it.


And, quite frankly, there are others who have actually used the fact that I live with MS against me in all sorts of wild ways.

Most MSers aren’t looking for sympathy. Still, it can be helpful to have a few carefully picked key people clued in about our conditions.

What about employers? Prospective business partners? Romantic interests? 

At what point might it be appropriate to tell these people about MS, and when might it not?

The National MS Society offers a free online worksheet to help the MSer evaluate the pros and cons of telling various people about his or her multiple sclerosis.
It’s worth a look.

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With Telling a Secret - Tiago Lima
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