Since MS is an almost “invisible” disease, it’s so easy for people around you to overlook it and think there’s nothing wrong with you. This is something that I’ve gone through in the past and continue to go through today. What makes it even more difficult for me is that my parents say a lot of these things.
Have you ever been hurt by someone close to you telling you that there’s nothing wrong with you? This can really hurt your feelings when this happens. I know that my feelings get hurt easily so I can empathize. What’s interesting though is that there are some very common things that are said repeatedly to MS patients every day, including:
– This diet cures MS.
– You should stop eating meat.
– Aren’t you gluten-free?
– You should get out and exercise.
– Are you taking vitamins?
– You shouldn’t drink diet soda.
– This vitamin will leave you symptom-free.
Allow me a moment to discuss some of these.
1. “You should get out and exercise.”
My Mom constantly keeps an eye on my weight. When it fluctuates, she’s the first to notice and jump on me about it. She’ll tell me that I should take a walk, or that I need to get up and move. What she doesn’t understand is that after spending an hour packing my apartment for our upcoming move, I was in bed, unable to move, for two days. That’s something I can’t afford to have to happen to me as a single mom.
2. “Are you taking vitamins?”
Again, my mom is big on this as well. She’s always asking if I take vitamins, which I do but not for her. She doesn’t stop there though. She also nags my daughter to take vitamins too. What she doesn’t get is my daughter has Asperger’s and can’t do certain things, but that’s another story for another day.
3. “You shouldn’t drink diet soda.”
Both of my parents continually tell me this, unfortunately. Every time they take me shopping, I hear about it. However, since I am also Diabetic Type 2, I can’t drink milk or juice. So, what’s left for me to drink? They say, “Drink water.” I reply, “What am I, a fish?” You can’t drink anything but water all the time.
However, as you can see, you’re not alone. If you want to support somebody with MS, you need to know what it is and its treatment. MS can be an invisible disease, so awareness is the best approach.
My question to you is two-fold:
Have any of these things ever been said to you? If so, how did you deal with it?
I’d love for you to share your story in this regard.
Written by: Maria Hoffman (read more about me here)