Tips to Manage Your Stress about Multiple Sclerosis - dummies

Tips to Manage Your Stress about Multiple Sclerosis

By Rosalind Kalb, Barbara Giesser, Kathleen Costello

So, you’re incredibly stressed out about your multiple sclerosis (MS). You worry all the time about getting worse, losing your job, and ending up in a wheelchair. Clearly, your first choice for getting rid of this stress in your life would be to dump the disease — but that’s not exactly possible. The next best choice is to focus on the things you can do something about rather than the things you can’t.

For example, you can talk with your doctor to make sure you’re doing all the right things to slow the progression of your MS. You can also make an appointment with a vocational rehabilitation counselor to talk about your job situation and career options in case you become unable to do your current job.

The next step is trying to figure out what frightens you most about a wheelchair. Even though most people never need one, visualizing how you would manage at home, at work, and in the world if you were using a scooter or chair doesn’t hurt — and generally helps.

You may even want to talk with some people with MS who use mobility aids to see how they’ve managed with them. The National MS Society can put you in touch with folks who’d be happy to talk with you. You can contact the Society by calling 800-FIGHT-MS (800-344-4867).

You can deal with the stress of MS by taking on the individual fears and challenges one by one. You’ll be surprised how much more confident and prepared you’ll feel after you go head-to-head with each boogeyman.

To help you get the sorting process started, you may want to keep a stress diary for a couple of weeks to see what your stresses are all about. This diary doesn’t need to be complicated — just some brief notes about what’s going on when you notice yourself feeling stressed. A small pocket calendar works well because you can keep it handy for those stressful moments on the go.