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'Coming out' about my MS

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When Kimberley was diagnosed with MS in February, she was scared to open up about the condition. But then a few months later, on World MS Day, she decided to ‘come out’ about her MS in a rather public way – and was overwhelmed by the support she received from friends and strangers alike.

When I first found out I had MS I was totally shocked, despite having known for three years that it was a possibility. I never thought it would happen to me or ever imagined being diagnosed with MS, but after some tears I decided that I had to make the best of my situation and to be positive about my future. I was getting married four months later and knew I had to be strong. Having an amazing support system of family and friends helped me incredibly.

Adapting to having MS hasn't been easy; my neurologist has said my MS has been active recently with three relapses in less than a year. I am learning to adapt my life by not taking on too much, listening to my body and resting when I feel the need, not feeling guilty about having naps and saying no to plans when I do not feel up to it. Being a busy person and having an active job managing a performing arts centre for adults with disabilities means I can find it hard to 'slow down' and 'take it easy', but I know that I must do this for my own health. I had a relapse of optic neuritis during my honeymoon which may have been a result of all the wedding stress and planning.

I posted on Facebook about having MS on World MS Day. It was a very big statement, but I felt it was really important. I didn’t want it to be a ‘taboo’ subject and I didn’t want to be a victim of MS. I understand that sharing your story so publicly isn’t for everyone, but it has helped me greatly. I was scared about doing it, but felt that by posting on World MS Day I could raise awareness of younger women having MS and living their lives just as anyone else does – just with a few obstacles to overcome along the way. When I shared my story, so many inspiring women who had been living with MS for years reached out and gave me invaluable advice and support. It was the best thing I could have done.

My advice for others recently diagnosed with MS would be to try not to think the worst – being positive has helped me massively.  Also, having a rewarding job gives me purpose, keeps my mind active and helps me to be thankful for the life I do have. I would also advise people to share their story, not necessarily publicly, but to talk to others and be open with your feelings. I was overwhelmed by the advice and support I received after sharing my story. 

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