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How to Manage Grief and Multiple Sclerosis: Advice from a Psychologist

When you are first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, it is normal to feel a range of emotions. You may feel scared, confused, or even angry. It is important to remember that you are not alone in this journey. Many people can help you manage your MS and associated grief.

In this blog post, hear from Dr. Meghan Beier, a psychologist who specializes in helping people with MS identify and manage grief.
 
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological condition that affects the brain and spinal cord. The immune system attacks the neuron’s protective covering, called myelin. When break down of the myelin occurs, or demyelination, it results in communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body. There is no cure for MS, but treatments can help to speed recovery from attacks, modify the course of the disease, and manage symptoms. Most people with MS lead active, long, and fulfilling lives.
 
The symptoms of MS can vary widely and range from mild to severe. They may include problems with vision, balance, muscle control, and fatigue. In some cases, people with MS may also experience depression, anxiety, and difficulty thinking clearly. These symptoms can trigger feelings of frustration, and often grief.
 
How does MS affect the brain and body?
The symptoms of MS can vary widely and range from mild to severe. They may include problems with vision, balance, muscle control, and fatigue. In some cases, people with MS may also experience depression, anxiety, and difficulty thinking clearly. These symptoms can trigger feelings of frustration, and often grief.
 
Managing grief when diagnosed with MS.
Grief is a funny thing. It’s often thought of as something that only happens when we lose a loved one, but in reality, grief can come from all sorts of losses. We can grieve the loss of a relationship, the loss of our health, or even the loss of a pet. But what is grief, really? Grief is simply the process of adjusting to change. It’s our mind and body’s way of dealing with a loss. And while it can be painful, it’s also a normal and natural part of life.
 
For people who are dealing with a major life change, such as a diagnosis of MS or a change in function as MS progresses, the grieving process can be even more complicated. There is no “right” way to grieve, and there is no timeline for healing. But there are some things that can help.
 
Below are a few tips, from psychologist Meghan Beier, Ph.D. who specializes in helping people with multiple sclerosis manage the emotional impact of MS, including grief.
 

Tips for managing grief and multiple sclerosis.

 
First and foremost, it’s important to be gentle with yourself. Permit yourself to feel whatever you’re feeling, and don’t try to force yourself to feel better before you’re ready. Name the emotion you are feeling. Examine it. Notice what triggered it. When you are ready, gently, without judgment, shift your mind and attention to another task or something comforting – a warm cup of tea, a funny movie, upbeat music, or whatever works for you!
 
Reach out to your support network. Whether it’s family or friends talking about your grief can help you start to process it and feel less alone.
 
Find a support group for people with MS. Many organizations offer support groups for people with MS and their loved ones such as the National MS Society, Can Do MS, MSAA, and more. Talking to others who have experienced similar feelings of grief can be helpful.
 
Stay engaged and participate in activities that you enjoy. It’s important to find moments of joy and connection. Participate in activities that you enjoy, whether it’s taking a dance class, joining a book club, starting a garden, or doing something creative.
 
Sometimes it’s important to reach out to a professional for help when you’re struggling to manage your grief. A therapist can provide the support and guidance you need to get through this tough time. They can also offer practical advice for dealing with MS-related issues, like how to manage your stress levels and cope with fatigue. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by grief, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. It could make all the difference in your ability to cope with MS.
 
In conclusion, managing grief when you have MS can be difficult, but there are ways to make it a little bit easier. By being gentle with yourself, reaching out to your support network, and staying engaged in activities you enjoy, you can start to process your grief and move forward. And if you find that you need extra help, don’t hesitate to reach out to a therapist who specializes in MS. They can provide you with the support and guidance you need to get through this tough time.
 
Additional Resources:
Meghan Beier, PhD

Meghan Beier, PhD

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