Literature exists because people need stories of others. Stories are why communities have libraries. Books of woe caution us. We’re encouraged by tales of people who advance against overwhelming odds. We’re quieted by stories of people with hope. Stories of others are important because they allow us to put ourselves in another’s place.

Stepping outside the world of literature, we seek stories about others directly. We ask, “how is ol’ so-and-so doing?” We keep track of people in our communities through the stories we share of their lives. (Of course, this verbal tradition can easily slip into gossip when our motives are too self-centered.)

Here’s the target of this post: In addition to reading books about people who struggle with and overcome the effects of Multiple Sclerosis and finding online support in web sites, consider joining an MS support group.

A Multiple Sclerosis support group is typically comprised of people who have multiple sclerosis. Some support groups invite family members (if not to every meeting) at least to celebrations like a Christmas party or afternoon in the park.

MS support groups are typically not psychotherapy groups. Rather, they are groups of people who offer support to each other as they are able. The focus is usually on how to manage life, maintain health, access resources in the community, and share personal experiences which might help others.

Support groups are not for every MS patient. Like me, some people are not disposed to hanging out in groups. However, the benefits offered by a support group greatly outweigh the discomfort of easing into the group at your own pace.

How does one find an MS support in their community?

First, ask your doctor. Many support groups meet in conference rooms in hospitals or clinics. Also, visit the web sites of the national MS-related organizations.

For example, the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America has a web page devoted to support groups at http://www.msassociation.org/programs/support/. MSSA maintains a list of support groups which you can review online. MSAA also offer a toll free phone number for people searching for a Multiple Sclerosis support group: (800) 532-7667

For years, my wife has been active in an MS support group in our little community. In many ways her participation has been a good experience for her. And now I must end this post because I need to hurry and get ready to go to her MS support group’s annual Christmas party!

Caregiver Tip: If the MS patient for whom you care does not participate in an MS support group, discuss the possibility of attending. It’s a great way to find support and hear the stories of other MS patients.

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5 Comments on MS Support Groups

  1. [...] you want to learn about joining a support group or what my wife means by “leg hours“, this blog is for you. If you want professional [...]

  2. Laura Bruch says:

    I’m tired… I know I need to connect with others…

  3. Meg says:

    HI Laura,

    Are you interested in joining a support group? I know the MS Society is terrific about providing information on support groups in your local area.

    Are you a care taker for someone with MS?

    I hope you’re able to find the support that you need.

    Best wishes,

    Meg

  4. ronald moellman says:

    my wife has ms has been a real struggle it has torn my family apart . their is truly no way to explain what goes on until you have been through this expearance my mother and sister thinks that its not that hard but they just dont understand ms is nasty it eats at the very core of what family life should be like my sister takes care of my elderly mother and thinks she knows what we go through but my mother is not dead weight and can put her self on the toilet she can feed her self she can awnswer the phone my wife needs to have everything done for her believe me its not the same we have to scratch her nose when it itches ill trade with my sister anytime my sister has the gall to tell on of my care givers that she is not needed or welcome that myself and daughter is all that my wife needs they dont like my care giver because i told her i love her mycaregiver helper is a great person she has a big heart doesent charge me a dime my wife loves her company i wish they would just stay out of our bussness if my wife is happy thats all i care about she is well taken care of if i lose my caregiver my wife is going to go to a nursing home i cant do it all any suggestion are welcome

  5. kathleen Mccann says:

    Do what you think is right and distance yourself from the negative. It is true that no one knows what we go through and we being the ones responsible for the people we love know what is best. I would also suggest talking to her if she is able to communicate her feelings on the matter. As a care giver I tend to do what I think he would want and forget that he has the right to speak for himself. I am struggling with my children wanting us to do something with their dad but he keeps saying he wants to be at home. Without my church family and all the help they have given us over the years I would be lost. No one has ever charged us a thing. I have to work so I call on people to care for him while I am gone. When he is having a really bad day, not able to get up I get people to care for him. He does not mind it but it does embarrass him when he can not do things people his age should be able to do. Keep the faith and know that you will find peace in doing the right thing.

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