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Struggling with the Invisible Side of MS

August 22, 2016

No one is going to understand how you feel on the inside except for you, not even other multiple sclerosis patients know exactly how you’re feeling. Although, what other MS patients do know is that you too, have invisible symptoms. Others will see your external form and think that you look great and are definitely not a sufferer of a debilitating illness.

Some of the most common MS symptoms are those not visible to the eye, such as fatigue, numbness, vision loss, dizziness, tingling, spasticity and bladder or bowel problems. It is frustrating that others don’t realize people with MS are suffering from these symptoms.

While family members and friends know you struggle with this autoimmune illness, they can have difficulty understanding what kind of pain you may be going through. Since MS usually catches those in their young and healthy days of their twenties or thirties, they appear to be extremely healthy which makes it even more difficult for others to comprehend.

When feeling misunderstood, try explaining these invisible symptoms to those around you, try being open and honest. Tell people you aren’t feeling well, if they are curious, give them a brief explanation of how you’re feeling to help them understand. This is important when it comes to children as they may be more confused than others when it comes to your symptoms. Dr. Rosalind Kalb, vice president for clinical care, advocacy services and research at the Nation Multiple Sclerosis Society advises that for younger children it is easier to describe your symptoms with words they can picture in their minds. “You might say: ‘I’m just really, really tired today. I feel like I’ve got these big heavy things on my legs and I’m trying to walk through mud up to my waist.’”

Even if you don’t feel the need to explain your symptoms to everyone, it is important to pay attention to the way you are feeling and never ignore your symptoms.