Why I Joined a Multiple Sclerosis Support Group | MS BLOG

Everyone can relate to the feeling of being alone.  We have all been to that point where something happening in our life makes us feel like we are the only person in the world going through it.  It’s that desperate feeling of being totally on your own with no one to help you work through it.  These horrible feelings are the reason why I started to seek a support group when I was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

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To support is to give assistance to or to bear all or part of the weight of.  Support groups are for giving assistance in bearing the emotional weight of various situations.  I previously wrote about the difficulty in accepting having MS and how I approached things with naive levity to cope but the truth is that the novelty of being naive began to wear off after a few months.  After the initial shock passed I was left with having to think about a lifetime of this disease.  My neurologist had mentioned joining a support group before but this was the first time I really felt like I needed to begin seeking one out.  There were a myriad of reasons behind this action but here are my top 3 reasons for seeking out and joining a support group:

 

1. I was tired of feeling alone in the battle.

 

I know I was never really alone.  I was surrounded by my family and friends who all showed the appropriate amount of compassion and concern but in some ways it could never really be enough.  I’m so sorry, I can’t even imagine what you’re going through has a very different effect than I’m so sorry, I know exactly what you’re going through.  I appreciate every bit of support my family offered but there was some emotional heavy lifting they just couldn’t do.  I needed to hear that everything was going to be OK from someone who really knew it was going to be OK.  I needed someone to tell me that what was happening to me was normal on some scale because they were being weighed relatively the same way.  I needed to not be the only person I knew who was  experiencing having MS.

 

2. I needed to know what having MS meant.

multiple sclerosis, multiple sclerosis blog, multiple sclerosis support groupThe National MS Society states it well.

 

Part of the not feeling alone in the battle thing was a want to know what was going to happen next.  My medical team advised me of various possibilities due to various  reasons but what I needed to know was beyond that.  I needed to know how to deal with the possibilities when the arose and what it was going to be like to live with them.  I was starting to feel like I would only believe this knowledge when I heard it from someone who actually had the experience to back it.  I needed to hear what the worst possible scenario actually felt like and how others got through it to be able to start believing I could really get through it.  As I was attempting to resume my business as usual I also needed to know how to navigate my life now with minimal interruption.  I knew this process required a lot of personal trial and error but it would be nice to hear what others learned during that process too.  Multiple Sclerosis is an incredibly personal disease and no two cases are exactly alike, but having some sort of idea for comparison is incredibly comforting.

 

3. I wanted to really start the healing process.

 

I knew that I couldn’t ever really start to accept having Multiple Sclerosis until I could imagine what life could and possibly would be like.  How could I process my emotions if I had no idea where to start and no solid advice on the best technique?  I wanted to stop feeling anxiety about this disease and start feeling acceptance.  I wanted to hear real life advice on better living with MS and have someone to turn to when I had questions.  I mentioned previously how I discovered therapy wasn’t the best choice for me personally but I knew I would feel comfortable opening up with those who were experiencing this with me.   That freedom to let my emotions fly would be the key to my healing.  I wanted to start my best possible life with MS and I figured out I wanted to start with a group of peers I could relate to.  I wanted to join a support group.

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I know I sound incredibly selfish with all those wants and needs I just voiced but for me I needed to be selfish to start living my life with MS.  The process of joining a support group and what I’ve gotten out of it are another post to come.  That being said, what I can tell you now is that all my reasons for seeking a support group were 100% validated once I did.  I discovered my feelings weren’t as much selfish as they were self-advocatory.  Joining a support group would prove to be one of the best things I have ever done for myself and my life with Multiple Sclerosis.

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