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The Importance Of Communication When Living With Multiple Sclerosis

Written by: Lucie Petrelis, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Living with multiple sclerosis (MS) presents a variety of challenges, including physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. Effective communication plays a crucial role in improving the quality of life for individuals with this chronic neurological condition. This article emphasizes the significance of communication in two distinct areas: communication with oneself and communication with others. By focusing on both aspects, people with MS can increase self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-trust, effectively express their needs, reduce isolation, seek support, and cultivate meaningful connections, leading to better health and well-being.

Women Sitting on a Living Room Sofa and Talking

Part 1: Communication with Oneself – Self-Reflection and Clarity


Living with MS begins with internal dialogue. Communicating with ourselves is vital for gaining clarity about our physical, mental, and emotional state. By taking the time for self-reflection, we can better understand and articulate our experiences and needs, most and foremost to ourselves. This introspective communication allows us to:


1. Develop Self-Awareness


Engaging in self-communication practices such as consciously connecting with ourselves, monitoring our feelings and symptoms, and minimizing meaningless and energy-consuming distractions, helps us understand the nuances of our symptoms, recognize patterns, and identify triggers that affect our MS journey.


2. Foster Self-Expression


Self-communication allows us to validate our experiences and emotions. It enables us to articulate our feelings internally, cultivating a deeper understanding of our needs and priorities. This self-expression promotes self-compassion and self-acceptance, empowering us to be resilient, solution-oriented and optimistic.


3. Practice Self-Advocacy


When we have a clear understanding of our emotions and needs, we can confidently advocate for ourselves. By effectively articulating our experiences and limitations, we ensure that our voice is heard, our needs are met, and our well-being is prioritized in various aspects of our lives. And most importantly we are finally able to say “no” when something is starting to approach the line of being too much for us.

Part 2: Communication with Others – Building Support and Understanding


While self-communication is crucial, effective communication with others is equally important for individuals living with MS. It plays a significant role in building support, fostering understanding, and creating a sense of community. When we communicate with others, we can:


1. Build Relationships


Openly and specifically expressing our needs, limitations, and concerns to loved ones, friends, colleagues, and others in our environment helps them better understand the challenges we face. Effective communication fosters empathy and compassion, enabling our loved ones to listen and provide the necessary support at the level that is most beneficial. Because often receiving too much support can even have negative outcomes. And, of course, offering support must always be balanced and go both ways as on some levels and during different moments we are all patients and caregivers to each other!


2. Connect with peers


Sharing our experiences and feelings with others who face similar challenges provides a sense of belonging and reduces feelings of isolation. Through open communication, we connect with individuals by exchanging our experiences while offering each other valuable insights, coping strategies, and recommendations to improve daily life. These relationships can inspire us and transform how we perceive our reality. Especially because one day, I am strong and optimistic, and the day after that, I need your strength and optimism to lift me up, keep going and never give up.


3. Educate and Advocate


Communication empowers us to educate others about MS, dispel misconceptions, and promote understanding and support. By articulating our reality, we can advocate for ourselves, ensuring that our physical and emotional needs are met in various settings such as the workplace, educational institutions, community, and other social spaces. Effective communication raises awareness and creates a more inclusive and supportive society.

Let us embrace the power of communication and unlock its transformative potential in our lives while living with MS (or not!). By actively engaging in effective communication first with oneself and then with others, we can overcome obstacles, build a reliable support system, and lead a healthier life filled with joy, purpose and strong connections. Remember, communication is not just about words spoken but also about listening, understanding, and expressing oneself authentically.

As a life coach, I am here to support you communicate better with yourself and others in your environment to make the best out of your life and your MS journey while enjoying your everyday. Reach out to me today, and together, we will embark on a path of empowerment, growth, and true self-discovery.



Here are some resources that provide valuable information about MS:

  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is a leading organization in the United States dedicated to improving the lives of individuals affected by multiple sclerosis.

  • Multiple Sclerosis Foundation The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation is a nonprofit organization that focuses on providing comprehensive support and educational programs for individuals with MS and their families.

  • Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF) The Multiple Sclerosis International Federation is a global network of MS organizations from around the world.

  • Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America is a national nonprofit organization that provides vital services and support to individuals with MS.

  • MS Trust The MS Trust is a UK-based charity that focuses on providing information, support, and resources for people living with MS, as well as healthcare professionals.


I focus on raising awareness on MS – Multiple Sclerosis, ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, sexuality and gender identity topics, and on how to redesign our reality in a way that makes sense to us and brings us joy every single day.


Follow me on LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


 

Lucie Petrelis, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Lucie Petrelis is a certified life coach supporting individuals with ADHD and MS to redesign their life in a way that makes sense to them, and that is based on their needs. At 22, she temporarily lost her ability to walk and was suddenly diagnosed with MS, forcing her to rethink her life’s perspective and priorities. Twenty years later, her diagnosis of ADHD gave her the gift of finally understanding the root of so many of her challenges. Using the power of her stamina, positivity, and proven methodologies, she inspires and drives others to take their life into their own hands, re-structure it, re-prioritize it, add a lot of joy in it, and above all be proud of who they are. Her motto: Your challenges are valid.

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