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Work advice

Hi all,

I am a newbie to this site after being diagnosed last Monday with RRMS. I am 30 and have had two episodes to date, the first last year lasting about 6 weeks and the second earlier this year which has been going on for about 4 months now albeit the symptoms are faint. It has been a challenging first week getting my head round it all but I am trying to be optimistic and just take and value each day as it comes.

I am waiting for appointment with the MS nurse and my list of questions gets longer by the day…! I have immediately changed my diet and removed alcohol, dairy and gluten after already giving up sugar last year (I cope by doing stuff!!) as I read that this was a good thing to do to prevent a relapse. I also read that stress is a big factor and this is where I would value some advice.

I have a fairly senior job working in a medium sized public sector organisation (850 people) and to date have often been quite able to manage with a heavy workload. I have told my boss about my diagnosis and she has verbally been supportive accepting that I need to cut back and manage my stress levels much better. However after years of always saying yes to extra work, this isn’t as straightforward as I had naively hoped and I am finding that more work is coming my way. I am uncomfortable about using my diagnosis as a ‘badge’ but also recognise that she is new to this and won’t know what I need so I need to be clear when things get too much.

Has anyone experienced something similar or found some tactics that help to remind people? I am scared about having another relapse so I want to do everything I can to be healthy, I work in HR as well so ignoring that I probably should know the answer to deal with this, I can’t really access much support internally.

Thanks in advance :relaxed:

Hi I am 36 and also work in a large public sector organisation. I’m not a manager, I gave that role up when I was diagnosed, but I do suffer with stress and 90% of my relapses have been stress related. So I haven’t quite managed yet to sort out my diet, but I have done a course in Vedic meditation and I can honestly say it’s the best £300 I’ve ever spent. It’s early days as I haven’t long done the course but this could be life changing. If you live in London then PM me for the course details if you wish. Lisa x

Ps, sorry that doesn’t actually answer your question but just thought I’d share my stress reducing experience x

Hi Lisa thanks so much for your reply and it is very helpful thanks. I don’t live in London but if you wouldn’t mind giving me the details, I can contact them and see if they know of anything local to me. You sound really positive about it which is great! Thanks again and have a lovely weekend. Hannah x

It’s tricky, stress. For sure, constant excessive stress at work or elsewhere isn’t a good mix with MS. But what I would say is: don’t get too stressy about stress - the relationship between stress and MS is not a simple one. Unless one retires to live half-way up a tree in Wales, job stress cannot be avoided and nor should it be - the stimulation of a lively and challenging working environment can be just what the doctor ordered. In my personal opinion, a stimulating working life in a high-pressure but satisfying job is very much more likely to do you good than do you harm. If there’s an MS relapse with your name on it, it will find you whether you are in the thick of tense pay negotiations or sitting at home on the sofa watching darts on the telly. Please reassure yourself that a tough spell in the office isn’t going to give you a relapse any more than an quiet spell is going to let you evade one.

It is not the stress itself but how you manage the stress that is key - just as you pointed out. So I should concentrate mainly on you you manage stress at work and in your life generally - that is a really valuable thing to do. For sure, pipe up if your workload is chronically unmanageable and the challenges are chronically beyond your capacity because that would just be miserable and bad for you. And if there are particular adjustments to be made at work to help you do the job properly, by all means ask. But please beware making an invalid of yourself prematurely by suggesting to work that they need to be gentle with you - that is the fast track to letting MS scupper your career with barely a shot fired.

Good luck.

Alison

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