Asking for help and strategies for coping during relapses


Having a chronic illness will impact your life in many ways, and will require you to learn, adapt and problem solve along the way. Physical changes will occur, and these changes may affect your self-confidence. Your MS symptoms, such as pain, fatigue, morning stiffness and a decreased range of motion, may impact you at work and make household tasks harder to complete. You may find yourself withdrawing from friends and social activities.

There are things you can do to make your life better and cope with the challenges that MS brings, even when you are feeling well. 

An MS nurse is a great asset to your healthcare team, and can not only improve your knowledge, and confidence, but also provide emotional support and help you to cope at all stages of the disease.1

Friends and family can also help. Telling people close to you that you have MS, and letting them know how it affects you, can make it easier for you to ask for practical and emotional support. Some ways that people might be able to help, if you want them to, might include:

  • Delegating chores – If you are overwhelmed by chores and responsibilities you could ask your partner or children to help more so that you have more time to rest
  • Confiding in friends or family members – Sharing your feelings, struggles, fears with a sympathetic friend or family member can help to release pent-up emotions
  • Exercising – Getting active can help relieve stress and positively impact on your general wellbeing and your MS
  • Practicing mindfulness and meditation – These calming activities can help you to focus and calm your mind

icon_liferingThere are also some things you can do while you are experiencing symptoms:2

  • Slow down
  • Create a relaxing ritual
  • Nourish your body
  • Clear your mind
  • Pamper yourself
  • Be patient
  • Try to laugh
  • Self-soothe while you seek support from others

Speaking with a psychologist, or joining an MS support group can help you share your experience and learn new ways to solve problems


In this video Jemma shares how asking for help has helped her.

References:

  • MS Australia. Brain health in multiple sclerosis. https://www.msaustralia.org.au/about-ms/ms-practice (last update May 2017). 
  • Cleveland clinic. Coping with multiple sclerosis. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/ccf/media/files/Neurological-Institute/mellen-center/coping-with-ms.pdf (date of last update not specified).