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31 Days of MS: Creating a Support Group for Young People

31 Days of MS: Creating a Support Group for Young People
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Photo courtesy of Amy Thompson

Day 18 of 31

This is Amy Thompson’s story:

In April 2018, just after my 21st birthday, I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS. My whole world was turned upside down and I couldn’t find anyone I could relate to. That was my motivation for my blog @butyoudontlookill — to help people feel less alone with their illness journey, to help advise people from my experiences, and to help spread positivity to people when they may need it the most.

Living with an illness that has symptoms that are invisible to the outside world can take a toll on a person physically, mentally, and emotionally. On the outside, a person may seem and look perfectly healthy, but we might not realize that this person is struggling every day. People with an illness like MS may, therefore, often have their struggle compounded by a lack of understanding from others, and can find it hard to explain the difficulty they find with completing common everyday tasks.

Put simply, we all have our challenges, so rather than judge and be negative, we really should try to help each other through difficult times and be kinder to one another. It is my hope that next time you see someone who looks healthy, you stop before you judge. Remember, you don’t have to completely understand what someone is going through to be kind.

Since getting diagnosed with MS, I also have set up my own support group for young people living with MS in the U.K. and Ireland: @mstogetherofficial. My aim is to provide a positive, supportive, and understanding group of like-minded individuals. The young people I have met through my group have the most amazing stories and I am proud of every single one of them. But I don’t want to stop here.

I know there are so many other young people across the country who need this kind of support. So, if you feel lonely, if you are struggling, if you are lacking support, if you have any worries, if you need to talk, if you want to meet people who understand — the group and I are here for you.

Multiple Sclerosis News Today’s 31 Days of MS campaign will publish one story per day for Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month in March. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofMS, or go here to see the full series.

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