The importance of mental health is often understated and MS being a highly unpredictable disease can come with its own challenges. There is a stigma associated with mental health which is why many find it difficult to talk about the rollercoaster of emotions they might be experiencing, especially if one is going through MS. Building a support system is crucial to one’s mental health as they are the ones who will stick by your side through thick and thin. Building support takes time, patience, and effort. Here are some ways to take control of your mental health:
- Talk to your therapist: Being professionally trained, a therapist can help you to heal internally by creating a safe space to communicate your thoughts and feelings.
- Join a local support group: It is a great place to meet like-minded people and develop meaningful connections. Moreover, it is a place where you can discuss the challenges you are facing with your MS journey and an avenue to navigate the ups and downs of everyday life with MS.
- Attend local events: Mental and physical health can go hand in hand. MS organizations like MSAA, offer different events like walking, biking, marathons etc. Participating in local events in your community is another great way to meet new people and stay physically active. Even volunteering at these types of events, if you are not able to participate, can be therapeutic and helpful.
- Social media: Online peer support can be a powerful platform for MS individuals who cannot access in-person support groups for different reasons. Technology has made it easier for people to stay connected and reduces the risk of feeling alone.
- Be an ally yourself: Building a support system also means being there for others who are going through similar circumstances. Being newly diagnosed with MS can be overwhelming and scary. Be a friend and cheerleader and help to navigate through their journey.
It is important to build relationships that uplift your spirits as well as those around you. Let your support system be the fortress that stands up to your MS. Be kind to yourself and let your mental health make the best of you.