My mother was just recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I know what MS is and what it does to the human body and I am freaked out. My mother is the single most important thing to me. Without her, I don’t think I would be able to live. She is all the family I have, and I am only 17 years old… I need her more now than ever. I know that with all the new technology and medicine of today that people don’t usually die of MS but there have been people in my family to die of it before. Whether or not my mother will die of this disease, she will still have to suffer with all of its side effects, and that alone freaks me out. I hate to see my mother in any sort of pain, whether it be physical or emotional. So I really don’t know how I am going to be able to deal with this. Please tell me what I can do to make it easier for the both of us.
I’m sorry to hear about your mother. Perhaps the best thing you can do for her is to offer your support. Whether helping with chores or providing a shoulder to lean on, family and friends play an important role in helping someone deal with a critical or chronic illness.Here are a few suggestions that may help you protect own mental and physical health:
Get support for yourself: I would recommend talking to a school counselor about the fear and anxiety the situation is causing. The counselor may also be able to refer you to outside assistance like support groups for the families of those suffering from chronic or life-threatening illnesses. Friends and other family members can often help. Don’t be afraid to express your feelings to them, too.
Arm yourself with information: When people don’t know what is going on, they often imagine the worst, so having information about what’s happening often helps. Read up on the illness yourself to get general facts about it.
Keep the lines of communication open: So many of those who suffer from chronic illnesses feel that they shouldn’t “burden” their relatives, especially their younger ones, with the details about their treatment and prognoses, but this often creates distance between the person suffering the illness and those around them. Let your mom know that being informed about her health will actually help you manage your anxiety. If you feel comfortable doing this–and if your mother agrees–accompany her to her doctors’ appointments when you can. If you are confused about certain aspects of her illness or treatment this will give you an opportunity to ask her doctor for clarification. It could turn out to be very informative…and a real bonding experience.
Don’t forget to schedule your regular activities: Make time to exercise. Go out and have fun with your friends. Engage in your favorite hobbies or activities. Carve out some alone time to collect your thoughts.
I’m sure your mom wants you to remain healthy and happy. I hope these things will help you stay in balance.
All the best to you and your mom.