Photo: Woman with MS sat in garden with son and pet dog

Dealing with diagnosis

Doctors might have already talked about MS as a possible explanation for your symptoms, but equally it might have been a 'bolt from the blue'.

For some people, being diagnosed with MS can be overwhelming, frightening, and distressing. For others it can be a relief, especially if they've had symptoms which couldn't be explained. Others might shut down emotionally.

Often, it's a combination of all the above.

Getting the diagnosis could raise as many new questions as it answers, and reactions will vary from person to person and over time.

Try to remember:

  • it is different for everyone
  • there is no right or wrong way to react
  • however you do react, it is part of a normal process

MS may mean you have to make changes over time, but you are the same person you have always been.

MS diagnosis - the roller coaster ride

One way of understanding the initial reaction is to look at it like a roller coaster ride.

At first there is fear and anticipation. Once you're seated there's the realisation that you can't turn back. Then the ride then begins and you go through different emotions - there are highs and lows.

Some people are able to cope with the ride and others find it too frightening.

It's not only the person given the diagnosis who might go through these reactions, but also those around them.

Each family member and close friend may react differently. For example, the person with MS might feel relief, while their partner is in denial. This experience is very common.

> Find out more about telling people you have MS

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