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Fifteen Ways to be Fearless in the Face of MS

By Gay Falkowski
Being fearless can be challenging for those affected by MS, especially right after diagnosis. The experts agree, you don’t always have to be brave. But when the time is right, conquering your fears can be empowering. In addition to uniting with advocates, don’t be afraid to:

1) Learn everything you can about MS. Knowledge is power. With so many choices to make about your MS care, you’ll want to make informed decisions. Always refer to reliable resources, such as the Lending Library at MSFocus: The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.

2) Ask for help. Being self-sufficient isn’t always possible when MS complicates life. You’ll learn whom you can count on to assist with errands and chores. But they won’t know to help unless you ask!

3) Tell your doctor the truth. Been forgetting to take your MS treatment? Started on a new CAM regime? Honesty is the best policy with your doctor so he or she can work with all the facts when guiding your MS care.

4) Ask for accommodations at work. If your disability due to MS is verified, you are entitled under the law to receive reasonable accommodations to make your job easier. For more information visit the Job Accommodation Network at askjan.org.

5) Take ‘me’ time. When prioritizing activities, don’t forget to schedule time to do the things that you enjoy most. Maybe that’s reading, pursuing a hobby, or just relaxing.

6) Say ‘no’. Don’t feel guilty! If you’re like most people with MS, you don’t have the energy you once had. Saying ‘no’ when you want to may mean you’ll be able to do things you really need to do.

7) Try new activities. It’s natural to feel restricted by MS, but remember you still have many abilities that you can discover when you dare to venture outside your comfort zone. Try a new hobby or take a class to learn about something different.

8) Keep doing what you love. Sometimes MS gets in the way of doing things you love the most, but don’t back down! Often with a little creative problem solving you can devise a way to adapt.

9) Meet new people. Connecting with others for support and companionship is part of the human experience, with or without MS. However, individuals with MS report that good relationships with others affected by MS are a source of strength.

10) Exercise. If you’ve heard that exercise is bad for people with MS, you’ve heard a myth. In fact, just the opposite is true in most cases. With your doctor’s approval, an exercise program designed to meet your needs can be very good for your health!

11) Speak out about MS. Are you ready to use your voice to make a difference for people with MS? Join the MSFocus’ government advocacy initiatives now!

12) Stop caring what strangers think. You’ll never be able to control what others think, so don’t let fear of that control your actions and keep you from going out and doing what you enjoy.

13) Travel. MS often presents challenges to travelers, but many have found ways to rise above those challenges and explore new places. MSFocus at Sea (formerly Cruise for a Cause) is a great way to travel and be around those who understand. Join us in 2016 for an Alaskan Cruise!

14) Be different. You are unique. So is your MS. Instead of following the crowd, dare to think outside the box to discover what works best for YOU in living with MS. (With your doctor’s guidance. See No. 2.)

15) Participate in the MSF’s MS Superhero Contest! IPads will be awarded as prizes in each category. You know you want to, so be fearless! For more information visit msfocus.org.