How to support someone with MS
Finding out that someone in your life has MS can be incredibly daunting and sometimes it's hard to know what to say or do. We've put together 6 tips on how to support someone with MS and we hope it helps!
1. Understand that there’s a lot of uncertainty with MS
MS can be unpredictable and it impacts everyone differently. MS symptoms can range drastically for a person from one day to the next, so it’s important for you to be aware of the variability and fluctuations that can occur with symptoms. Just because one day we may seem ok, doesn't mean we will feel the same the next day. So, if we don't answer messages or phone calls right away, or if we cancel plans at the last minute, chances are we're not doing it in a malicious way, instead we are doing our best and we will make it up to you soon.
2. Treat us the same as you always have
Just because we have MS, doesn't mean we are an entirely different person. Sure some things may have to change in our lives, but we are not defined by our MS.
3. Give us validation and believe us
Many people feel isolated when others don't believe that something is wrong. Sure, we may look fine on the outside, but often our struggles are internal. Validating and believing our needs, feelings and concerns as someone with MS can help us feel a little less alone and misunderstood.
4. Listen to us and learn about MS
Listen to what we tell you about how we're doing and show us that you've heard how MS impacts our lives by checking in when possible. You can also go one step further and research a little bit about our illness. This helps because it means we don't have to start at square one explaining everything.
5. Ask how you can help support us
Any sort of help offered is of course always appreciated, but because everyone's journey with MS is so different, it's better to ask what you can do directly. So instead of looking at outside sources for ideas on how you can help, ask us what we need and how you can best support us - we will appreciate this so much more.
6. Show interest in our journey
There are many ways you can engage in our journey to make it seem like normal life for us and help us feel less alone. For example you could offer to come to appointments, exercise with us, join us for fundraising or awareness events, donate to charity in our honour and much more... even the smallest gesture means so much.