Multiple Sclerosis: Ways to support your friend or family member

A new Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis or a difference in symptoms can change the relationship you have with a friend or family member.

Person walking with a walker. Media for Wix.

It takes patience, creativity, and a real commitment to nurture a relationship when the rules change.

One of the most supportive things to say is, ‘I want to support you.’

Here are some ideas on what to talk about and where to get further assistance:

Ask your friend or family member to help you figure out how to support him/her - but be honest about what you can provide and in what specific ways you can assist.

Living with Multiple Sclerosis can sometimes be a roller coaster of emotions. It is important to get more informed about Multiple Sclerosis. Connecting with your local Multiple Sclerosis support group can be a very valuable tool during this journey.

Join Multi Sclerosis social media networks. The supportive comments and assistance can be very uplifting.

Here are some things you should not say:

  • Don’t impose your view of Multiple Sclerosis on your friend or family member.

  • Don’t give advice about medical treatment…unless you are also your friends or family member neurologist.

  • Having Multiple Sclerosis is not a worldwide group where everyone knows everyone. Thus, don’t ask your friend or family member if they know so - and - so, because that person happens to have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

Despite Multiple Sclerosis you and your friend or family member can offer each other support you both need.

Editor’s note: Alie Pierce is a human rights activist and disability advocate. She may be reached at Follow Alie Pierce on Twitter & IG. Connect with WeekenderNJ on Facebook, Twitter and IG.