Accepting a multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis is difficult and it often takes people a while to come to terms with what it means for their future. Some people choose to tell others immediately about their MS diagnosis, while others may bide their time — there is no right or wrong way to approach it, it’s very much up to the individual and what they feel comfortable with. However, if you’re finding it difficult to tell the people closest to you about your multiple sclerosis, the Multiple Sclerosis Society UK has some useful advice.
Telling Your Loved Ones
Family members and partners are usually the first people you want to tell, but these are the hardest people to tell as they love you and will most likely be upset. They’ll need time to fully digest the news and come to terms with the diagnosis. They may be in denial about what it means or they may not fully understand the implications of MS. Try to be as informative as you can and remember MS is different for everyone, so while they may jump to the worst conclusions about the disease, it doesn’t mean that’s how it will work out for you.
Tell children as much as you think they can emotionally cope with and fully understand for their age. It’s better to be as honest as possible so they don’t find out information from other people. Children are often more adaptive to change than adults and will probably take the news a little better.
Choosing Who Else to Tell
You don’t need to tell everyone you meet that you have multiple sclerosis (although you can if you want to), but there are some people you may want to know right away so that they can offer you emotional support.
Close friends will want to support and help you in any way they can, and sometimes they may be easier to talk to than family as they tend to be more objective. Telling colleagues about your MS will help them understand why you may be fatigued or unable to work.
Telling dates and potential partners can be tricky, you may want to be upfront or you may want to wait to see if you like them before broaching the subject. Either way is fine.
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