Reach Out

Not every question on your list is for your doctor to answer.  For some questions, like “Why me?” you will want a spiritual advisor or other counselor.  It can be helpful to organize your list in different ways to help you figure out who you really need to talk to next.

Expand your advisors and reach outyou don’t have to go through this alone. Feeling like you need help right now doesn’t mean you’re weak, it means you’re human.  Any serious diagnosis demands a holistic approach and we all need support to get through it.  MS doesn’t just affect your central nervous system.  It affects your life.  Doctors alone aren’t going to be able to give you the support you need right now. What’s important right now is to find out who you want and need on your team and begin to talk with them about your thoughts and feelings.

As you think about who to turn to, consider talking with:

  • Family and Friends.  For most of us, our first instinct is to talk with those we love the most.  There is nothing like your mom, brother, or a good friend when you are going through a tough time. If they ask a lot of questions, send them to TurnFirst to learn more.
  • Minister, Priest, Rabbi or other Spiritual Counselor.  Facing a serious diagnosis opens us up to tough questions about the meaning of our lives and God’s intentions for us.  Whether you are deeply religious or not, this is a time when your faith in your beliefs may be a comfort or they may be tested. Either way, talking with a minister, priest, rabbi, or other spiritual counselor may help you build the strength of spirit to fight MS.  Keep in mind that these people are unlikely to know much about MS.  However they may be able to help you connect with others in your community who do, organize other resources you may need now or in the future, and give you an advocate to help you along the way.
  • Psychologist.  A psychologist can be a safe, non-judgmental person to talk to about your feelings and fears.  They are trained to help in these kinds of situations and will be able to give you suggestions for coping with them.  Some insurance plans will cover the costs for these appointments.
  • TurnFirst Forums.  Connecting with others going through this experience can be very meaningful.  Being able to do so on-line, privately and anonymously, gives us a safe space to share and deal with things on our own time.  Even if you don’t join a forum, just reading what others say can be helpful.

Support Group.  Local chapters of the MS Society, medical MS centers, and some medical practices offer patient support groups for MS.  When you are newly diagnosed, it’s best to find a group especially for people in your shoes.  Support groups aren’t for everyone.  There will be people there with a variety of symptoms and backgrounds.  For some of us, sharing our feelings, face-to-face with strangers can be an intimidating experience.  On the other hand, it can also be very reassuring to connect with other people who know what you are going through.  Usually, the group leader has a big effect on the dynamics and effectiveness of the group.  So, if you go to one and don’t find it meets your needs, you may want to try again with a different group.  For more information on support groups, go to our Resources Directory.