Not being critical, but......

Very close relative with m.s. - a mutual friend commented to me that the relative had ‘let herself go.’

And she has - unwashed hair - put a lot of weight on - clothes too tight - not always clean. She doesn’t seem aware of this.

Should I broach this subject with her?

If I sound critical I don’t mean to be - I have every sympathy - a dx of m.s. is devastating and can knock someone for six.

Is she suffering with fatigue? Can she get in and out of the bath/shower? Can she raise her arms to wash her hair? Has she the energy to dry her hair? Is she able to cook herself nutritious meals? Would she usually take pride in her appearance? Is she depressed?..there are endless reasons why she isn’t looking after herself. If I were you I would get answers to these questions, you might find your answer in them.

Take care of you and her.

Jan x


Excellent reply Jan.

Maybe take her out and give her a pamper day?

I hate showering it is hard work and i have to wait someone to help me. It wipes me out 2 days.

Maybe take her for a meal. Maybe she is depressed, fed up, feels sad she has no support.

Having a diagnosis of MS just wipes you out. WHATS THE POINT…why bother, i expect she is depressed.

If she is a close relative then maybe step up and take care of her, like i said pamper day, nails, hair, make her feel she has a reason to look better.

The trouble is that MS often causes depression. This can lead a person to neglect their personal hygiene, gain weight, and to ‘let themselves go’.

I can’t see that taking your relative out for a ‘pamper day’ is the answer to such a situation. And being taken out to eat with badly fitting grubby clothes and unwashed hair isn’t going to be fun for anyone.

I’m not depressed, but the thought of a well meaning friend or relative suggesting I go out for such a pamper day fills me with horror. It’s not necessarily every woman’s idea of fun, and for someone who’s shown zero interest in her appearance just lately, I can’t imagine it being top of her list of priorities. Plus, it sounds exhausting in itself.

Jens reply, to find out the reason for her self neglect seems more apposite. Ie, is she capable of washing her hair or clothes? Does she normally take better care of her diet, hair, clothes? Is she clinically depressed? Should she be encouraged to see a doctor rather than a beautician? Or does she need assistance in getting social care help? If she is incapable of caring for herself, then perhaps she needs carers?

If your relative is able bodied but has neglected herself because of depression brought on by the diagnosis, I would expect she needs some kind of intervention in order to get her some medical help.

I think broaching the subject gently and carefully is a good idea. Ask her what the problems are. Find out what is causing the self neglect. Is she lonely and sees little point in washing, eating well and taking care of herself? Does she need help? Of a practical nature or a mental health perspective?

As a close relative, it sounds as if you are the only person who can lovingly broach these matters. And it may be that Crazy Chicks solution is in fact a good one. It really depends on what the cause of the neglect is and also on your relatives own personality and preferences.


MS has a devastating effect on our sense of self worth.

We lose our friends and acquaintances, because we can’t keep up with the physical demands of social interaction.

Family members, tired of our infirmity, keep a distance.

We have to stop working which removes another layer of social interaction.

Even neighbours, who don’t understand the nature of an invisible disease, may turn their backs on us.

The luckiest of us find a purpose in volunteering. Even answering queries on this Forum when we can has its benefits.

Anon, you ask should you broach the subject with your relative? Can you help restore her self-esteem?

I know what the problems are; but only you and your relative know the answers.

Best wishes,



Although the point being is if she is taken for a pamper day it will make her feel better and she will look better surely. I was taken for a pamper day when i was depressed after my hubby died, i couldnt be bothered to even shower, and it made me feel so much better in myself.

If the relative is depressed then support for the GP is also in order.

I speak from personal experience having been in the situtation where people had to literally stand down wind of me because i stank lol. I laugh about it now, but I really couldnt be bothered what was the point. I was lonely and depressed, and thankfully, my sister encouraged me to go with her and have that pamper day. I felt like a queen. The reality when i got home was just the same I looked in the mirror and felt more like me but there was still no one in my life he had gone. so with more support from my family I sold my house and moved into a smaller place.

I have got a lot better, and even bought some makeup from an Avon rep, not that I will ever use it. but still it is a start.

You have to start somewhere. TALKING is a a start.

Could you say " I can see that things are very difficult for you, can I help you with anything? Maybe wash your hair for you?" Or perhaps tell a little porkie and say you have been feeling a bit down and would love some company, maybe invite her for a meal with you? If as you say she is a close relative just say that you can see she is not feeling herself and ask what you can do to help. As others have said I have been in that dark place where I had no energy or incentive to take care of myself, I would at that time have hated having a relative help me shower or wash my hair but if I had an appointment I would push myself and do my best to get cleaned up and tidy. Maybe she needs or would accept help if you offered to do some washing for her, perhaps that would encourage her to see for herself that she has let things go. Personally I slept in the same clothes I spent the day in… Lived in the same baggy track suit for weeks and never answered the door to anyone or even opened the curtains. It took my lovely friend being brutal with me and pushing a note through my letter box saying she knew I was there, she would be back the next day to help me do some cleaning and then she would run me a bath wash my hair and we would have a a cuppa like we used to because she could see I was just too run down to do things myself. I was petrified of her seeing me unwashed but truly hadn’t the energy to bathe etc. I ignored her knock on the door so she just yelled through the door and said she would not be going away until I opened up. She probably saved my life that day. I do hope you can be brave and help your relative. Good luck and best wishes to you both xxx

Hello Anon. Like everyone else, I’m thinking she is depressed. There is no shame in taking medication for this.

Best wishes.

Hi ms folks

Just had a visit from my MS Specialist. She did emphasis depression can be a major problem with ms. No surprises there.

That a good percentage of msers take an antidepressant prescribed by a GP.

MS sure stinks!

I agree. I just wish i had someone to help in the early stages. I was so wiped out with a baby and a toddler and rightly their needs came first. But i was stiĺ there and struggling in an unsuitable home. It couldnt be adapted it was mid terrace. The stairs exhausted me and a bath a must after birth. Even running a bath and help putting on my bathboard would have helped. Husband floudering ,my mother alone and heartbroken. i had no family left being a late baby and my sister away. Gently approach from the practical area may be best. Has she the equipment ? Just tread gently and yes try and get her a gp consult ,specialist nurse even the district nurse and social services. Dont overwhelm her though .gently does it