Being diagnosed with MS in your twenties

Tue 20 April 2021


I was doing my masters degree when one night after one too many G&Ts I woke up with blurry vision in one eye.

I laughed it off as a particularly bad hangover and swore, as many students do on a Sunday morning, to never drink again. A few days later I mentioned to my parents in passing that my left eye still felt weird and they quite rightly told me to get it checked out.

Inflammation in my optic nerve?

I went to an optician first and was referred to a doctor in my local hospital who explained it could be an inflammation in my optic nerve. The process from then on was very slow, although I was fortunate to be able to be able to see a private consultant neurologist for the next series of diagnostic tests including a lumbar puncture.

Pretending to be okay

Over the next six months I had to postpone finishing my degree, watch my friends graduate without me and start a new job. All while attending regular doctor’s appointments.

In hindsight I was not in a great place emotionally and was putting on a brave face. I fell into the British stereotype of saying I was ‘very well thank you’ to everyone who asked how I was, even when I didn’t mean it.

Diagnosis helped me move on

After my diagnosis it took me a while to feel confident enough to tell my friends, internalise the information, and empower myself through it.

I began to embrace it as a positive conclusion after a period of uncertainty, which would help me understand how to manage my condition and live life to the fullest.

Ilya the spaniel puppy runs across green grass littered with autumn leaves

Finding the right support helped me feel less alone

It was a few years before I met anyone else with MS and found a support network specifically for young people. I reached a point where I felt comfortable with it and started reaching out to the community and met some amazing people.

Although it sounds ridiculous now, as I know one in five people are diagnosed under the age of 30, I sometimes felt like I was the only one.

Five years on, I am living a full and happy life living in London with my partner and a very excitable puppy. I have learnt to be a more resilient, empathetic and open person and am grateful that this condition has also changed me for the better.