Self-help for MS

Do you sometimes feel like MS is making your life spin out of control? There are ways to fight back and help yourself stay in control.

Know the facts. Knowing the facts can help you fight fear and uncertainty about the future. Although it's not possible to predict exactly what's going to happen with your MS, it is possible to learn more about what to expect and how to deal with it. Your doctor, MS nurse, pharmacist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, and local MS Society chapter are all excellent sources of information on MS symptoms and prognosis, treatment options, and coping tips to make life easier.

Get (and stay) involved. Being involved can motivate you and give you more of a sense of control. You can get involved in your treatment decisions by learning about your options and discussing them with your healthcare providers. You can also get involved in helping others with MS (see "Reaching out, giving back" in this health feature). It's also important to get involved in things that have nothing to do with MS! Nurture your life outside of MS by keeping in touch with family and friends, and pursuing your interests and hobbies.

Ask for help. Ask for help if you need it. Accepting help doesn't have to mean losing your independence. In fact, it's a sign of strength that you are able to ask for what you need and adapt to your changing situation. Chances are your friends and loved ones are eager to help. Try to think of specific things they can do to help you (such as picking up your kids from soccer practice once a week or cooking a dinner once a month) – this will make it easier for both of you. You can also consider joining an MS support group so that you talk to people who are also living with MS – sometimes they have faced issues similar to your own and found creative ways to deal with them. Multiple sclerosis help is closer than you think!

Be your own advocate. No-one knows your needs better than you. There are many excellent services available to help people with MS, whether it's accessible transportation, job accommodations to make your work easier, or funding for medications or devices. Contact your local MS Society chapter to find out about resources available in your area.

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