Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

Talking About MS

Telling people about your diagnosis is a very personal decision. Partners, family, and close friends may help you adapt to the news and learn how to live with this change.

Sharing feelings openly and with respect for other coping styles can be helpful. However, you may want to take some time to think about who you disclose your diagnosis to: you may or may not wish to tell casual friends, acquaintances, or those in your work place about your MS, especially soon after diagnosis when you are still adjusting to the news.

Some people will respond with understanding, and some may provide you with much appreciated practical and emotional support. Others may not respond as well. It helps to be prepared for both possibilities. If you decide to disclose, you can start with a simple explanation of the disease and how it is affecting you at this time.

You may or may not wish to tell casual acquaintances if it comes up in a conversation. It is a personal decision, but in many cases there is probably no reason for a formal explanation.

Because MS is such a complex disease, you may feel more comfortable talking about it once you’ve had a chance to learn more about it yourself. Some people may have many questions and some may have none. You won’t have all of the answers, and you aren’t expected to.

MS Its Effects on You and Those You Love may be helpful to guide discussions between you and those close to you, or you may prefer to pass this resource along to family and friends to read on their own.