Photo: women talking at a cafe

Talking about MS

You should never feel pressured to tell everyone you know that you have multiple sclerosis, or share that information immediately with strangers. Your health is a personal thing, and only you will know how you want to handle things.

But if people know about your MS and how it affects you, they'll be in a better place to offer support if and when you need it.

Dealing with different reactions

People may deal with the news in a number of ways. Some people may panic whilst others will be surprisingly calm.

People who don't know much about MS will have lots of questions that you might not be able to answer. They might assume that you're an expert on MS when in fact you know little more about it than they do.

Other people may avoid you because they don't know what to say. They don't know how to deal with you having MS, so they choose not to. This can be very hurtful, and it's hard not to take it personally.

Some people will go out of their way to help. This may have the opposite effect, making you feel frustrated or even useless. Try to explain to the person that you will ask for their help if you need it, but that you want them to treat you the same as they did before they knew you had MS.

Whatever a person's reaction, talking about it with them can be really helpful. Try to look at people's questions objectively and don't take them personally.

Encourage people to talk openly to you about your MS and about how it makes them feel. Often, you can only do this once you have come to terms with the diagnosis yourself so only talk to people when you really feel ready.

Explaining invisible symptoms

Many MS symptoms like fatigue are invisible. It can be difficult and frustrating trying to explain to people how they affect you and how debilitating they are.

You can send people links to pages on our website to help them understand your symptoms and how they affect you to save your having to explain everything yourself.