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MS Support Group: What Should I Expect?

By Daryl H. Bryant (502 words)
Posted in Living with MS on July 5, 2016

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MS Support Group: What Should I Expect?

Attending a support group is a great way to expand your support network, whether you are recently diagnosed or have been living with MS for years. But what exactly should you expect at an MS support group? While each MS support group is unique, there are three things you should expect no matter which one you attend.

Expect to Meet People

The most obvious thing you should expect when attending an MS support group is to meet other people who have MS. No matter how your support group is set up, getting to know other people who have similar struggles will help you realize you aren’t alone.

You are under no obligation to develop friendships with people in your MS support group, but many people find lifelong friends there. Regardless of whether you want a group of people to see semi-regularly at the support group or are looking for friends to spend time with outside of the support group, you will likely meet great candidates at an MS support group who really understand what you are going through.

Expect to Learn

You’ve heard it time and time again that MS is different for each person. At your MS support group, you are going to learn a lot about symptoms, treatments, and ways to cope. All of this information may be overwhelming at first, but hang in there.

The wealth of knowledge available in a support group is one of the greatest things it has to offer. You can ask questions, learn what has worked for other people, and try new things to support you in living MS symptom free.

As you learn about others, do remember that just because someone experiences MS a certain way doesn’t mean you will experience it the same. You may never have the same symptoms as the man in your support group, and what worked for him may not work for you.

Expect to Share (But Only If You Want)

One of the greatest things about an MS support group is that it is casual. This is not a group therapy session. You only have to share if you want to share. You can go every week and just listen if you want! Nobody will pressure you to talk if you don’t feel like it. But when you do need to vent, this is a great place to do it.

Living with MS means there will be times you just want to complain to a compassionate person. At your MS support group, you never have to feel guilty about sharing or worry that you are burdening your family and friends with your concerns. Let it out so you can feel free - how and when you are ready.

So what should you expect at an MS support group? New friends, education, and an opportunity to vent (if you want to). Do you have any advice for first time support group attendees? Share in the comments below!

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