Telling People Face to Face that I Have MS

Most of the people I know have heard of MS one way or another. They either know someone with the disease or know of it because of me. You know, they did their research around the time that I was diagnosed. All of this being said; I haven’t really had a proper opportunity to explain it to many people. I did write a blog post about it (click here) explaining what it is and the like, but, I haven’t had much of a chance to explain it verbally. It’s a good job too because I get baffled and sometimes worry when I explain it to someone face to face, I’m afraid that I can’t get my point across.

I have no problem letting the world know that I have a chronic illness. I am absolutely fine with that. Sometimes, it can be unnerving to tell new people that I have it though. It scares me to think about how they’d feel and/or act about it or about me after hearing such heavy news. When people hear the word “chronic” they automatically assume it refers to fatal, contagious or something disgusting. Then when they hear “disease” all of the same assumptions come up. That makes it really hard for me to explain it to them without them thinking that I’m dying, or that they’re going to get cooties!

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I look at the serious side of it first; will they not want to get involved with me? Have I just turned them off getting to know me? Then I see the funny side; they think that I’m some kind of a blood sucking monster..pretty sure they’re known as vampires now, but, minor details! Or a big cootie bearing monster and with one touch they will also get MS and die an awful, painful death. It’s kind of funny really! It just goes to show how little work has been and is being done to raise Multiple Sclerosis awareness.

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I don’t mind letting the world know that I have this chronic illness, it’s when the world starts treating me differently to those who don’t have one that bothers me. Yes, I get sick, I suffer from things that you don’t, but, I’m still Karolyn. I’m not going to infect you with a flesh eating virus or anything. Sometimes when I tell people they don’t know how to react. It can be awkward at first, but it doesn’t have to be! I’m absolutely fine with this stupid disease. Its shit, but, I cope with it. You don’t have to look at me as if I have 7 eyes and ooze is coming out of my ears and nose. I promise; my MS will not hurt you!

The most obvious reaction to telling new people about my illness is one of overwhelming pity and extreme awkwardness. I dread telling people because of that reason, especially when they’re not aware of Multiple Sclerosis and what it entails. I’m not taking a stab at people here; I’m just saying that MS awareness is so low that many people haven’t a clue what it is and instantly feel unsure about me when I tell them. I get that confused look; “what do I say?” “What is a chronic illness?” “Is she dying?” They don’t make me feel very good about myself to be fair! That being said, it’s aan expected reaction, its not like I don’t presume it when I tell people.

Finally, just to reiterate; I am not a contagious freak, I am not dying, I am not a disgusting cootie monster! Just don’t make me angry 😉

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Navigate Between Individual Posts | MS - Mo Scéal

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