Address Your Fears
It's normal to have fears and apprehensions when diagnosed with a chronic illness, but it's good to pull them out from their hiding place to see how they're affecting you. Some people who are diagnosed with MS worry about:
Losing a sense of who they are in the world.
Becoming dependent on those they love.
The people who depend on them.
Their finances and other practical issues.
Others viewing them differently if they tell them about the diagnosis.
With all of the advances in the last decade, more and more people with MS are able to face their concerns and fears with a sense of hope and optimism. These days, people with MS are a viable force in the workplace and continue to contribute to their families and the community at large. Starting treatment early and being proactive about your condition will help alleviate many of your concerns.
Educating yourself will be helpful in educating others about your disease. One expression you'll hear quite often is “But you look so good!” (Everyone with MS has heard that at least once.) That's because MS isn't a readily noticeable disease. Most people with MS (especially in the early stages) do look good. This misconception can be a problem, especially when others are making demands on your time, not realizing that just because you look well, it doesn't necessarily mean you feel well. Sharing some facts with those folks who don't understand MS can go a long way in changing the expectations and perceptions of others.
Having a strategy to address your fears is the number-one way to lessen them. Doing careful financial planning, readdressing your roles at work and home, and utilizing time management strategies are all choices that will empower you. It often takes time to figure out how your MS is going to behave, and once you do, it may be easier to plan your days and weeks accordingly.