Telling About MSOnce you have been officially diagnosed with MS, you have a new problem – what to say to people. Listening to someone talk about an illness can be very awkward. People do not know if they should offer sympathy, help or just not mention it. You conversation partner will be looking to you for clues on how to respond. If it is difficult for you to talk about your MS, it may be even more difficult for someone to listen to you talking about MS. Showing that you don’t mind people asking about your MS will make it easier to support you.
Avoid Shocking People
If you simply tell someone, “I was diagnosed with MS,” the only reaction they can have is shocked sympathy. If instead you tell the whole story of your search for a diagnosis, the odd symptoms, the many doctors visits, then the other person can engage with you. The MS becomes simply a character in the story, not a shocking revelation.
Go over in your mind the story of your MS. What was your first symptom? What did the first doctor say? What happened during your first relapse? What have you learned from the experience? Include these details. It will be much more interesting for your listener.
Tell With EnthusiasmBe sure to use a lot of energy in your story. This tells your listener that you are not in immediate need of emotional support, but are instead “making conversation” about your MS. The other person will react by asking you more questions and engaging in the story of your MS.
Make Them Part of the StoryMake your listener a character in your story. Maybe they helped you a few times when you were fatigued. Maybe you yelled at them when feeling stressed. Maybe you want to ask them for help in the event of a relapse or worsening of symptoms. Engaging them in the story will not only hold their interest, but it will also open the possibility of them being part of your story in the future.