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5 Things I Want You To Know About MS

Living with MS ain't easy. Here are 5 things I want you to know about it.

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Living with MS is never dull. As well as all the symptoms, which can change on a daily basis, it feels like I constantly have to explain myself. To make life easier, here are five things I would love people to understand about MS:

1. I'm not drunk, I've got MS

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I might feel it sometimes, and I certainly might look it, but I’m really not drunk. The idea that people at work may be thinking this is what made me ‘come out’. I couldn’t stand the looks as I came back from lunch. Now, I try and make a joke of it in the office. I’ve yet to risk having a few at lunch and seeing if anyone says anything though...

2. I have fatigue, I'm not lazy

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I wish I could explain to non-MSers how different fatigue is to being tired. I would be loaded if I had £1 for every time someone told me that they feel knackered too and I just need an early night.

3. I don’t use my disability to beat the queue

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It’s funny being disabled but not having a wheelchair or walking aid. People feel they can say what they like to you or give you odd looks.

A man came up to me once to tell me that the police were checking disabled parking badges, and how much trouble I could get into. It took me a while to work out what he was talking about – but then I realised he was assuming it either wasn’t mine or I’d got it illegally.

I never use it when I don’t need to. Ever. But when I do need it, it’s a lifeline.

4. I can 'look well' and still be disabled

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For me, the invisible or cognitive symptoms are some of the worst, but people only really notice when my walking is dodgy.

I get so much more support when my disability is visible. But when I talk about cognitive things, like forgetting people’s names, I’m not sure they get it. It’s like they think I’m just making excuses.

This is probably summed up best by my colleague, who said “I don’t really believe you’re disabled, you don’t do much disabled stuff.” What is “disabled stuff” anyway?

5. Friends and family can offer amazing support by just being there

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I couldn’t have done this without my family and friends. It’s been a massive change to my life, but I never forget how much of a change it’s been for them too.

Some people have changed towards me, and it’s a cliché, but you do find out who your real friends are. They’re the ones who keep inviting you out, even when you’ve cancelled on them three times in a row due to fatigue. They’re the ones who never give up

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