31 Days of MS: The Importance of Asking for Help

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31 Days of MS

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Photo courtesy of Stephanie Wiley

Day 27 of 31

This is Caroline Craven’s story:

This year marks 20 years since my MS diagnosis, yet every day brings something new.

Every day reminds me of some shift in life that I chose to make so that thriving with MS is possible. These choices are part of my self-care regime. If we don’t look after ourselves, who will?

We have family, friends, and doctors to help us, but they can only take care of us if we are open and honest with them. By taking notes, paying attention to our bodies’ awareness, adhering to our medicinal program, and talking with our doctors, we create self-care.

One of the first things I learned after my diagnosis was to ask for help.

There was no choice for me in the beginning. Without being able to walk or see unassisted, extra help was necessary. But oh, was asking for it hard for this girl with MS. My life consisted of strength and power. My ego was strong. Unhealthily strong.

Letting go of this ego has helped these past 20 years, but it is still a challenge. I want to be strong, be my old self, but that’s not going to make my life better. By slowing down and becoming aware of loosening my grip on my expectations, I learned to ask for help. Honestly, it’s a hard thing to do, especially going to the market or making a cup of coffee.

I still have difficulties asking for help, especially when the receiving party is not so receiving — if you know what I mean.

Over the years, it has become more accessible.

And now I ask for help all of the time. Maybe too much at times, but it’s what I need. It’s what helps me thrive and not just survive. Sometimes the receiving team does not get it or respond. It’s sad, but I understand. It’s tough to keep up with everyone’s lives and diseases.

Today I am doing OK. I still have tremors, fatigue, balance issues, and other weird MS stuff. If I don’t practice self-care, I pay the price. The fact is, I’m here and present with all of you and would not want it any other way!


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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