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What I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Diagnosed with MS

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by Elinor Hills

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by Elinor Hills

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Seven members of the Bezzy MS community share their words of wisdom for people with new multiple sclerosis diagnoses.

Navigating a new multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis can feel overwhelming and frightening. MS is a chronic disease that doesn’t have a cure, but its symptoms can be managed.

For many, the diagnosis may come as a shock.

For others who have spent months, or even years, trying to figure out the cause of their symptoms, it may be a relief to finally have a diagnosis.

Not knowing what the future holds can make confronting a new diagnosis feel even more disorienting.

If you are facing a new MS diagnosis and feel scared or alone, hearing from others who have been in your shoes can help.

Members of the Bezzy MS community shared what they would tell themselves if they could go back to the moment when they were first diagnosed.

‘A diagnosis can be a new beginning’

“You can live a full life with this disease. Keep looking up. Grieving the loss of your old self is something I went through. I went to grief counseling for 2 months. I found a new career as an artist! I’m now an ambassador and was in a documentary.” — Verna Stearns

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‘Be positive and strong’

“Be positive and strong and don’t let this disease get you down. Stay active and continue with your life.” — Lawrence Sears

‘Knowing your diagnosis can help you feel more in control’

“Knowing it is MS has gotten me the treatment to help with the pain and has given me much more control. Knowing will give YOU better control of your life. But it does take a bit of soul searching.” — Eric

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‘You’ve got this!’

“I can’t give up. I’ve been through too much in life and MS will not break me — it may evolve me into a stronger version. Perhaps I’ll gain new abilities to compensate for the ones I’ve lost. One day at a time.” — Namira

‘Be kind to yourself’

“Right after diagnosis is really tough. Be as gentle and patient with yourself as you can. Know that you’re not alone and the worst of what you’re feeling will ease.” — Chrissy

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‘It gets easier’

“It gets easier every day. Just try to relax and think it through. Whichever route you choose it will be OK.” — Felicia R.

‘Anything you are feeling is valid’

“It’s a process. Of course, you will grieve some things, and there is fear with life’s big scary changes, but there are joys to be found in even the tough parts of life’s journeys.

”Believe it or not, there are things to be grateful for, even in this! You’ll find them… we all do.

“You are young and beautiful and full of life and stronger than you know.

”It’s OK to be mad at this, sad at this, scared of this, depressed by this… the waves of emotion will wash or crash over you like the ocean, but ocean tides rise and fall, storm and fade.” — Sarah Roberts

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The bottom line

Facing a new diagnosis can feel scary and life changing.

You may feel overwhelmed with new information about symptoms and treatment.

You likely have many questions about how your diagnosis may impact your lifestyle, your career, and your relationships.

While talking to your doctor can be helpful, it can also be great to hear from others who understand firsthand what you are going through.

The Bezzy MS community is here to help you navigate the unknowns of a new MS diagnosis.

Article originally appeared on May 25, 2021 on Bezzy’s sister site, Healthline. Last medically reviewed on May 25, 2021.

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