Everyday life with MS
Everyone's MS is different, but however it affects you, we want to give you all the information you may need.
Disclosing your MS
When you get diagnosed with MS, there will be lots of people who you may want or feel you need to tell - whether that be friends, family, colleagues, your employer or even strangers.
There is no one answer on whether to disclose and there is also no rush. The main things to consider is why, when, to whom and how much you might choose to disclose about your MS. No two people feel exactly the same about disclosing their MS to others. Keeping in mind that once the information is out there, you can’t take it back, the key is figuring out when disclosure is in your best interest and when it is not.
The National MS Society have put together a document to work through your decision — and read more about other considerations:
Managing work and study
Even though you've been diagnosed with MS, you're the same person as you were the day before. You still have your skills and experience. But the symptoms caused by MS can vary and fluctuate over time and this can be a challenge at work, school or university.
Make sure you explore your options around work and MS including reasonable adjustments, access to work service, occupational health, changing or giving up work, self-employment, your rights, and of course what to do if you're being treated unfairly. Read more about this on the MS Trust webiste by clicking below:
MS can affect many aspects of daily family life, particularly if a person has symptoms such as fatigue or cognitive changes. Couples may find that they have to review their roles within the household and this can be difficult. Additionally if you have children, they may have their own set of unique concerns, fears and questions regarding MS that are important to address.
Then there's also the concern around starting a family. Having MS in itself should not limit your ability to have children, although you may have symptoms or disability that could affect your birth options or ability to care for a child. Read more on this topic by clicking below:
Sex and relationships
Living with MS can create both physical and emotional barriers, which can put a strain on relationships. For some couples, worries about MS and uncertainty about the future can cause a breakdown in communication and intimacy.
MS can also be directly linked to lack of desire and sexual difficulties. The MS Society have some great suggestions on how to manage this - read more by clicking below:
Looking after your body and mind is important, especially when you have a long-term condition like MS. By making changes to your lifestyle, you can best place yourself to deal with any challenges that come along.
There are lots of resources out there which can give you the practical information you need to live well with MS. Some things to think about are: managing stress, tips to help you get a better night's sleep, practicing relaxation, dealing with the emotional side of an MS diagnosis, exercising with MS, changing or adapting your diet, and so much more.
Here's a link to a helpful page on the MS Trust's website about living well with MS:
MS can put pressure on different aspects of your life, including your bank balance. So it's important that you know what's available to you!
There's a number of disability benefits that you may be entitled to, including: Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which is designed to support the extra costs of living with a disability and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) which is a benefit for disabled children under 16 and some adults who already claim it.
It's also important to know what you're entitled to if you're unable to work including: Statutory Sick Pay, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), and Universal Credit. Even if you're able to work, you may still be able to apply for Universal Credit and ESA. Plus if you need help while you're looking for work you can apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).
Finally, Access to Work is a government scheme to help pay for any extra equipment or support you need as a result of your MS, so you can do your job.
On top of these benefits, there's also grants and various funds and concessions that might ease any financial pressures and help make living with MS that bit easier.