ms and emotions

Changing your outlook

MS-UK Counsellor Leila Hancox on the thoughts and emotions someone with an MS diagnosis may have.

Whether you have just been diagnosed or are going through a tough time with multiple sclerosis (MS), it can be hard to know how to deal with the emotional impact of the symptoms. This can lead you going down a difficult path of self-recrimination or anger and questioning everything that you thought you knew about yourself up until this point in your life.

If we believe in a God or higher power (or even if you don’t) you might start to think that you’ve done something to deserve the situation you find yourself in. Or you might lash out at the world and think ‘it’s not fair!’ or ‘why me?’ If you continue to go down this path then you could end up in a very lonely and desolate place, bereft of any sense of meaning. You might even think to yourself, ‘what’s the point?

It’s a normal part of coming to terms with something like an MS diagnosis that many people go through. Sometimes it’s OK to spend some time feeling like this. To allow ourselves the space and time to lick our wounds and to retreat from the world in order to heal from the after-effects of what has happened to us. It’s at such times that we should listen to our bodies and nurture them in the ways that we know best.

Eventually, though, there comes a time (and we know when this is best) when we need to stop blaming fate and start to develop some faith in our ability to be able to do something that will have a lasting, positive impact on our lives for the better. Such a change in outlook can be difficult but who said that positive gains don’t come without a fight? It’s about not giving up, no matter what life throws at us. We need to stop looking at other people and thinking that they have it better than us, but instead recognise that everyone struggles, though their battles may be different from ours, and everyone has something to give.

In this way, we can start to feel more of a sense of belonging with other people in the world and part of something bigger than ourselves. This can bring a sense of comfort and compassion that ripples out, including both ourselves and eventually those around us. In this way, we may start to learn to identify how we can still contribute to the world, whether this be in terms of passions, talents and relationships, old, new or modified. The more we do this, the more we blossom.

For further information or guidance, contact the MS-UK Helpline by calling 0800 783 0518 or emailing You can also use the webchat function on our website. The helpline is open Monday to Friday at 10am-4pm.

For more information on MS and mental health, please see MS and mental health Choices booklet and download your free copy today.