Navigating Life With MS: Daily Coping Strategies

  • by Veronica H.
  •   May 01, 2017

Veronica H. is a paid employee of Teva Neuroscience, Inc.                         

Navigating life with MS, one step at a time.

Let’s face it; no one says MS is easy. It’s not. But redefining YOU and living a courageous life can be a helpful strategy for dealing with the emotions that come with MS.

Here are a few strategies that may help you navigate life with MS:

Tune your personal radio! Silence the negative self-talk.

  • You know that voice—the one that whispers in your ear (or maybe for you, it’s not whispering, it’s SHOUTING), “Why can’t you remember why you walked in this room?” The next time your inner negative voice goes off, SHOUT BACK with something positive. “I might have forgotten why I walked in this room, but I walked in! Next time, I’ll make sure to write it down.” Replying to your inner voice in a calm and positive way can help turn your day around to more positive interactions.

Let’s be friends! Find others to whom you can relate.

  • Support. We all need it in various forms, but finding the right support can be difficult at times. Your family and friends outside of the MS community may try and understand where you are coming from, but it can be difficult. “I had such a bad day; my hairdresser had to reschedule my appointment. How was your day?” “My day was pretty good; my physical therapy went great, and I went a whole day without any muscle spasms! Too bad about your hairdresser though.” We can all relate to a missed appointment for some reason or other, but finding others who can relate to living with MS can be challenging. If you’re looking for support, you may consider checking out the Lift MS Facebook page. It is filled with people like you living with or caring for someone with RRMS. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society also has information available on ways to find and join local support groups.

Be the STAR in your story!

  • Redefining who you are after an MS diagnosis may be difficult. Maybe you were the guy who everyone went to when their car needed fixed, or maybe you were the gal who volunteered for all the school activities. After an MS diagnosis, you may begin to wonder who you are, because you may not be able to do everything you once could. Praising yourself for what you can do instead of focusing on what you can’t is a great coping technique. “I can’t work on your car, because my hands are numb today, but I can tell you what I think the problem is.” “I wasn’t able to sign up for three events for the school carnival, but I am proud of the one event I was able to attend, and being there for my kids felt so good.” Focus on the CAN and not on the CAN’T. You’re the star of your story! You are amazing! Don’t forget it.

Form a game plan with your neurologist and other healthcare providers.

  • Ready, set, GO! Form a game plan with your doctor regarding disease modifying therapy, symptom management tips, and dietary and healthy lifestyle choices. Stick with your PLAN! If something changes — for example, a new symptom or a change in insurance that may cause a delay in therapy — SPEAK WITH YOUR DOCTOR. A good game plan involves active communication between you and your healthcare provider.

There are many other strategies for coping, and what works for one person may not feel like a good fit for another. That’s OK. Part of coping is finding what works for you. If you try something and it doesn’t work or feel natural, then it might not be for you. Remember, this is YOUR journey. You write the story. You are the star, the hero. Finding ways to get through the tough chapters is part of the challenge of living a courageous life with MS.

If you’d like to see more stories like this, register to receive our updates. We’ll email you reminders when there is something new that we think you’ll enjoy!

Veronica H.

Shared Solutions® Nurse

About The Author

Veronica H., RN, MSCN is an MS-Certified Nurse working at Teva's Shared Solutions® with 6 years of experience, 3 of those years dedicated solely to multiple sclerosis.

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10 Comment(s)
  • Jamie Byers | May 01, 2017
    Sataying as posetive after first diagnosed is so important. Then setting up a routine that works for you is the next to how will beat this disease down. You may MS but do not you
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | May 02, 2017
      Thanks for sharing, Jamie.
  • Deb | May 04, 2017
    My doctor is NOT a good communicator! She is very stoic. Make a plan??? Never. Any questions y email get a one word or one sentence reply. Any symptom gets " Well, that's part of it". "It", being MS. I am frustrated, but live in a small rural area where neurologists are not plentiful! I don't know whether to get a new doctor now. I am 30 years into this disease and can't likely drive 100iles.
  • Debbie | May 05, 2017
    I really enjoyed reading the things that can help me more positivity is great having trouble talking so bear with me I talk into the phone instead of typing it takes a long time to do the texting
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | May 08, 2017
      That’s great to hear, Debbie. We hope you'll enjoy reading more of the posts featured on the blog. Let us know what you think!
  • Linda | May 09, 2017
    Thanks for sharing MS life with other! When I started this life changing journey I knew no one with MS other than a friend whose mother did. This lady who I had never met but heard her daughter speak of her family life growing up in a large family (7 siblings) without the support I had. If this lady could do it I knew I could and I sing and smile doing it with the support of my husband, 2 kids
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | May 10, 2017
      Thank you for sharing your experience, Linda! We hope you continue to lean on the community for support. Best wishes!
  • Anita T. | May 10, 2017
    I am a retired RN who volunteers as a MS activist. I love talking and motivating people to live each day to the fullest. My MS has improved so much since I stared doing a Zumba Water Aerobics class, eating healthy and having a good attitude. People need to help their immune system
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | May 11, 2017
      Finding an activity you enjoy can make all the difference, Anita! Be sure to consult a healthcare professional before starting any exercise program.
  • Jewel | May 15, 2017
    Please tell me what all the symptoms of relapsing remitting MS are so I can show my daughter!! Thankyou.
  • Patricia | May 23, 2017
    I can relate
  • Donna | May 27, 2017
    I have a mess late stages and could use the support.
  • Michelle | June 03, 2017
    Stay positive always even if it's hard for us got to keep on going every day got a wonderful wonderful family right by my side blessed
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | June 05, 2017
      Thank you for sharing your positive outlook, Michelle.
  • Dianne | June 04, 2017
    Thank you for up dates on ms every thing that I have read is so helpful.