15 Secrets of People Affected by Multiple Sclerosis


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an “unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system” thought to affect 2.3 million people worldwide, according to the National MS Society. The condition presents itself in a variety of ways, so much so that you may not realize a loved one has it.

To learn more, The Mighty asked its Facebook readers and contributing writers to tell us the one thing they wish others could understand about MS. Here’s what they had to say:

1. It’s a disease most people wouldn’t recognize.” — Jason Tanner

2. “For me, MS means facing the unknown every day, wondering and worrying if a new feeling or sensation is a normal thing or an MS thing. I don’t want this disease to run my life.” — Jessica Adrianna

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3. MS can go undiagnosed/misdiagnosed. If it seems someone you love is quietly enduring symptoms, please encourage them to speak up.” — Angelica Catalano, senior producer at The Mighty

4. “So far, the embarrassment has been tough. Embarrassment when I’ve wet myself, when I fall over, when I can’t participate due to the wheelchair not fitting wherever I need to go, when I need help taking care of my own baby.” — Tristen Wuori

5. “It’s not the end of the world! There are lots of things people with MS can do to improve their health through diet and lifestyle choices.” — Rachel Hogg

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6. “I wish people understood, not just for MS but in every situation in life — if I did not ask for help, don’t! That’s interfering, not helping. I stumble a lot, my balance sucks; adding another person’s unpredictable movement by holding my arm makes it way worse. If, if, I need help, I will ask.” — Tim Schaub

7. Every single person with MS has his or her personal combination of symptoms. It depends on where the inflicted parts of the brain and/or spinal cord are situated. So if you ask people with MS about it, you will get a huge variety of answers… When you deal with someone having MS, ask questions about how he or she is today or right now. Never pity him or her, just deal with him or her naturally, like you would with anybody else.” — Annettte Hillringhaus

8. “The wobble only adds to my swagger.” — Jason, from Nadine Friedman-Roberts’ photo series, “Whisky, Waterfalls, and a Radio Preacher.”

9. “Every setback and every challenge can make it feel like we’re back at square one, but I constantly remind myself to make the choice to thrive.” — Stephanie Butler

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10. “[MS is my] frenemy because, in hindsight, there are lessons I wouldn’t have learned without [it] entering my life.” — Jenna Blackwood

11. “I may be walking slower, but I’m racing.” — Jason DaSilva

12. A life with multiple sclerosis is not a death sentence.” — Daryl H. Bryant

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13. “No, I’m not resting. I’m living a full life within the abilities I have. Having multiple sclerosis is not within my power, but what is within my power is refusing to let MS gain the upper hand.” — Cathy Chester

14. “I am not multiple sclerosis, and even with it, I can accomplish so much.” — Samantha Stambaugh

15. “I can choose to be miserable, or I can choose to do something good with this.” — Kaleigh D’Anna

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Related: Self Portraits Show Disability in a Way It’s Rarely Seen: Honestly

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