Groups formed by and for people with MS can be places of reassurance and support, offering advice based on real knowledge and experience. “These groups are often run by MS charities, and their support comes in a variety of forms,” says Health Psychology Specialist Clare Moloney.
“There may be a group that meets regularly in your area. Ask your doctor or MS nurse to, search online or contact local charities directly about these. There will also be web-based outlets for support, such as message boards or online forums you can join, usually anonymously. These can be great for benefiting from the experiences of others and also for sharing your own MS journey while still maintaining your privacy.
“Exchanging ideas and experiences with other people with MS can be empowering and inspirational, but remember that everyone’s experience of MS will be different – just because another person with MS has had a side effect or a particular symptom doesn’t mean you will experience it, too,” says Clare.
MS groups and charities are used to working with people with MS – they help people every day in many ways and will be more than happy to help you, too, if you ask.
“Be specific about the sort of help you need, so that you make the most of their resources,” suggests Clare. “If you are asking another person with MS for help, then be aware that any help may be dependent on how they themselves are feeling – try always to return the favour or to let them know that you are on hand to help them out in the future.”
There is a lot of good, reliable information about MS online. To find the best of it, start with patient organisations and charities where you can also find excellent information about recent research into MS.
MS Society: A site dedicated to helping improve the lives of people with multiple sclerosis in the UK.
MS Trust:Information & support for people with MS, their friends and families.
Shift MS: A social network run by its users where young MSers meet, share experiences and support each other.
MS Ireland: Information and support for people with MS in Ireland, their families and friends.
MS charities in your area are not only a great source of information, but they often also have a network of support groups that can put you in touch with other people with MS. Either in person or online, you can share stories, exchange advice and help inspire each other to make the most of every day.
Check out the links below, or ask your doctor or MS nurse for contacts in your area. More information on support groups can be found here: