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Accepting diagnosis

Hi guys,

Within the last year or so I have been diagnosed with MS, at the age of 20. At first I think I felt okay about my diagnosis, but am recently struggling to accept it, often feeling quite down and worried about my future. I don’t like to talk to my family and friends about it as I find it’s better to put on a brave face for them.

I was just wondering if people had any advice for coming to terms with diagnosis and how to stay positive.

Thanks!

Hello

MS at the age of 20 sucks. It really does. In your shoes, I doubt that I’d be in a hurry to ‘accept’ this unwanted arrival into my life. To be fair though, a diagnosis of MS is crap at any age.

I’m not at all surprised that you’re concerned about your future. It’s been a big kick in the teeth.

The good news is that there are a huge number of disease modifying drugs (DMDs) available. I am assuming (hoping) that you’ve been diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS. Which means that so long as you are on a good DMD that suits you and your lifestyle, you may find that MS is an annoyance on the periphery of your life rather than a central part.

Even if you’ve been diagnosed with a progressive variant, there are things you can do to help it not take complete control of your life (for all types of MS). Things like getting fit, or fitter, will help. Taking vitamin D should help too. Eating a good diet and making sure you get enough rest. Fatigue can be a big problem, so pace yourself in what you do. Make sure you’re in touch with your MS nurse and that s/he is giving you as much support as possible.

Learning to talk about your MS might help. You might be surprised that your friends can be a good source of understanding and help. Equally your family. If you stop trying to cover up your worries and feelings about MS by putting a ‘brave face on’, you may well find it’s easier to keep positive.

Being positive isn’t necessarily about ‘acceptance’ of MS, it’s about taking the bull by the horns and you being the boss of your health, rather than passively trying to ignore it. If you learn as much as you can about MS, perhaps join a forum like https://shift.ms/ where there are a lot of younger people equally trying to find their way, you might find it’s possible to feel more certainty about your future.

Or, of course, keep talking to us, many of us are a good bit older than you, but we still remember being diagnosed and understand what a head spinner it is.

Sue

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Hi, I’m in a similar position to yourself- was diagnosed 9 months ago just before my 22nd birthday. I’ve tried to act completely fine in front of friends and family but I have used this community as a bit of an “outlet”. This allows you to rant/talk/ask questions to people who will not judge you or tell you to “man up” or “get over it”. I had just started a new job which was the career I’ve always wanted, and now due to my ms and complications I’ve lost that job. I’m in a bit of a rut at the moment too, struggling to stay as positive as I normally am. Can I suggest writing a diary? Writing things down may allow you a release without having to actually talk to friends or family if you struggle to do so. There are people on here who can help and due to us being younger, they have more experience and can hopefully give advice based on their experiences! Don’t suffer alone, remember there are people who can try to understand and help. Xx