To tell or not to tell about having MS

Everyone who receives a diagnosis of having multiple sclerosis faces some immediate challenges.

One is coming to terms with the diagnosis, which is something that might come as a shock. Another is to decide whether to be open about it. To reveal your news to everyone is always an individual choice as no single answer suits all, no ‘one size fits all’.

tellingI received my diagnosis in April 2002, almost 16 years ago. It was not so much a shock as a relief that I finally knew what was wrong. Then, of course, I had to learn as much as I could about the disease with a somewhat strange name.

To tell or not to tell? This is an issue we all must face. And, if we tell, with whom are we open – and who not?

There’s no one correct answer as we are all different, have our own personalities, and live our own lives. As such, we all need to make up our own minds, depending on how comfortable each of us feels.

It may help to break up who might be told into different groups. For example, your husband or wife, or other partner, along with immediate family; your close friends; your employer and colleagues; and anyone else.

There is absolutely no need to tell everyone that you have MS but, of course, there is no reason why you shouldn’t.

Upset, accept, understand

I think that the first people we are most likely to tell are those closest to us. However, they are also the most likely to be upset by the news and may need longer than others to accept your situation. Add to that, just as you have to learn about MS and what it means, there is a fair chance that those nearest and dearest to you won’t fully understand what it means.

Probably, the best advice I can offer is to try to give as much informative as you can. It’s important, too, to let them know that MS affects everyone differently, so that there’s no need to assume the worst possible future for you.

Children present another problem, and it’s one I have not had to experience personally. From the experience of others, it would seem best to tell children as much as you think they can understand at their age. Honesty is the best policy, so they learn from you, not go to others to get possibly incorrect information.

I did decide to let my employer know and, to be fair, the news was taken well. Some physical adjustments were even made to make my work easier. In fact, I worked there another five years before it became obvious that the physical disability, namely mobility problems caused by MS, made working there impossible.

As I said earlier, whom you tell and how soon, is a personal decision only you can reach. I made my choice in 2002. If you’re having trouble deciding who to tell, when, and how, I suggest you follow click here to find some great advice.

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at with other companies and products. Read more.

* * * * * is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. I am not a doctor and cannot and do not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely my own unless otherwise stated.


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