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“The threat of symptoms arising any time can be psychologically disabling”

Posted on: July 09 2020

MSer and research student Hannah Morris discusses the impact of living under the threat of uncertainty can have, and how to overcome it

The threat of uncertainty can be paralysing. It can pose a huge challenge to us being who we want to be or achieving what we want to, whether it be in terms of our careers and outside relationships, or in the home with our family and friends. 

Any type of health condition can produce a threat in the short term, whether financially, socially or otherwise. Longer-term illness comes with a longer-term threat. If there is the hope of a cure to counter our fear, the psychological burden is lessened in the knowledge that there is an end in sight. With a chronic condition such as multiple sclerosis (MS), which I have, the threat is never-ending. The feeling may go up and down, but I find it is always a constant. 

Anxiety

The psychological effect of threat results in feelings of anxiety, which is exhibited in a physiological reaction. With short-term threat this is not a problem it serves as a protection, as these physiological changes support whichever ever approach is taken to escape or fight the threat. However, with consistent long-term exposure to threat, anyone’s health can be impacted. For people who have compromised immune systems, like those of us living with MS, this is something that we need to be more aware of as it can have detrimental effects to our MS status, potentially triggering the onset of a new symptom or relapse.

I personally am someone who feels particularly anxious about change of routine which is why I had a really hard time adjusting at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. I was always used to the routine of school runs and having that space to myself during the day. Then COVID-19 happened and upset my routine and my anxieties were all over the place as I tried to establish a new routine and be OK with it. I know from experience that this anxiety is not good for my MS so had to find ways to manage myself. 

Uncertainty 

I know only too well that the threat of symptoms arising any time can be psychologically disabling and may potentially be one of the underlying causes of anxiety in MS. According to a recent article in the Journal of Neurological Science, anxiety is disproportionately higher in the MS population compared to the general population, or even other chronic illness population. Despite this, there is a paucity of interventions targeting anxiety in MS. However, there are many ways in which threat and the resulting anxiety can be managed. 

How to manage threat and anxiety

Change your perception. Be realistic about the chances of your fears coming to light. Instead of ruminating over the ‘what ifs’, I make a plan in case the worst does come to pass. This will eliminate the need to ruminate further as you are now prepared.

Counter the psychological effect. As mentioned previously, if there is the hope of a cure, this neutralises the psychological experience of threat. We know that there is no cure for MS and some may say it’s unrealistic to live in hope of a cure too which could lead to further distress. 

However, there are other ways that people with MS can find hope by focusing on shorter-term goals and/or exploring alternative ways to attain goals. As an optimist, if I have a seemingly unattainable goal, you’ll find me seeking alternative ways to achieve it that are more compatible with my abilities. 

For example, I’d long since dreamt of doing a PhD but for a long while also didn’t think it possible due to MS-related obstacles that would potentially make it difficult to maintain attention whilst also remaining alert. As anyone with MS will know, this is something that is not always possible, especially if it is expected to follow a set schedule, when MS never seems to like to adhere to any schedule and instead strikes when it pleases. 

After a lot of head-scratching and searching, I finally came across the perfect opportunity to complete my PhD by distance. It has allowed a great amount of flexibility that lets me work with my symptoms rather than fighting against them. If I’m feeling fatigued, I can take a break when I need, or, my most common issue, if I’m experiencing a bit of ‘cogfog’, I can set the article aside and get back to it when my brain is ready to comply and I’m ready to take a deep breath and face it with patience. 

Counter the physiological response. The physiological response to threat can easily be reversed through the use of relaxation techniques that aim to reduce levels of arousal by reducing respiration, heart rates and blood pressure. Common techniques include breathing techniques, progressive muscle relaxation, visualisation and mindfully paying attention to one’s surroundings whether it be directly in the body, or the physical surroundings, making use of all the senses. 

I’m very fortunate to live in the countryside so this is one of my ‘go-to’ techniques when I can feel my anxieties coming on. I like to go outside and experience my senses whilst walking if possible, but often the weather doesn’t allow for that, so I’m generally quite content to take myself to a window, gaze out and just embrace my senses. I tend to experience sensory overload a lot so I find this approach is helpful for that too. I’ve tried to make this practice a part of my new routine to help keep on top of my anxieties. 

It might be that you generally favour one approach over the other or find that certain ones are more appropriate at different times. Either way, a process of trial and error will determine the most effective approach for each individual to reduce the level of threat and resultant anxiety. 

As part of my PhD research, I am hoping to support others with MS and invite you to join me in this endeavour by having your say in what would help you. 

 If you are happy to help out then you can complete this online survey here by clicking the ‘start’ button at the bottom of the page. https://research.reading.ac.uk/neurodegenerative-diseases/multiple-sclerosis/
Or you can go directly to the survey here https://forms.gle/5YTssp4pDVFciYEe9

 

“Only by working together can we tackle loneliness and isolation in the MS community”

Posted on: June 16 2020

diana_crop.jpgMS-UK’s Head of Services, Diana Crowe reflects upon its latest report which gives valuable insight into the loneliness and isolation people living with multiple sclerosis can experience

Much of my time last year was spent exploring how people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS) experience loneliness and isolation and my findings are shared in our report that we have published this week. I don’t wish to repeat in this blog what is said in the report but rather reflect on my experiences whilst working on this project.

When I first started to scope out the work I realised that I needed to squirrel myself away at home one day a week to give me the time and space to research and read all of the amazing reports that had already been published and understand the landscape. This was a luxury to have this time (before we were all forced to work at home – thank you COVID-19!) but I soon discovered the irony of working on a project that was making me feel a little lonely and isolated from my colleagues. 

As a community-led organisation, the next step was to reach out to the MS community to hear about their lived experiences. I always love this part of my job because it keeps me grounded and drives the passion that I have to really make a difference. We started by conducting an online survey which gave us a really good starting point and enabled us to drill down further into the challenges and barriers that the MS community were facing.

In the late summer, my colleague and I travelled the country on one plane, many trains and automobiles! We were so grateful to the MS Therapy Centres across the UK that opened their doors to us and enabled us to facilitate focus groups. The dynamics were different in each group – one was very emotional as people shared their experiences and tissues were needed and in others, we heard how some people used humour to deal with the challenges they faced. For example, someone pulled up their trouser leg to reveal a catheter bag and exclaimed ‘this is not a fashion accessory you know!’ We conducted telephone interviews with those we could not meet face to face and it was such a privilege to take this time and listen. Many cups of tea and cakes later we had a rich insight that has shaped the next steps you see in this report.

It has been a long time in the making and we had every intention of launching this report back in March but then we were all forced into isolation (thanks again COVID-19!) and we have all faced so many challenges both personally and professionally and it certainly did not seem appropriate at that moment. 

However, this week is Loneliness Awareness Week and we felt this was the right time to share our work. This report and the recommendations within, build upon the work we are already doing and gives us a platform to develop new initiatives. This is just the beginning of what I hope will be an ongoing conversation and I encourage organisations to get in touch to talk about how we can build partnerships, learn from each other and keep this conversation alive. Only by working together can we tackle loneliness and isolation in the MS community.

Click here to download our Loneliness and isolation report

Making the connection

Posted on: May 29 2020

Clive small.jpgFor World MS Day, Clive Whyte explains how connecting with our counselling service helped him transform his mental health

A diagnosis of Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a very big thing to take on board, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.

At first, I thought I could handle it and just stride through life with no worries – it’s just a condition! However, the mind has a way of catching up with you and stopping you in your tracks. After being diagnosed, I started having issues with anxiety that was affecting my day-to-day life.

I read about MS-UK’s Counselling service and decided to refer myself.

When I had my first session, I spoke to a completely neutral counsellor about everything and anything that had been troubling me daily and causing my anxiety. There was absolutely no judgement, just a listening ear.

After the sessions, I felt like I had lifted a lot of troubling thoughts out of my head. I’d felt like I had a lot of tangled, knotted thoughts in my brain, and counselling helped unravel them. It helped me to think more clearly.

Relationships

My partner is my rock, and she has seen me go through some quite dark moments. However, she tells me she has definitely seen an improvement in me recently. I still have good and bad days, but I feel a lot more in control of my thoughts in general.

My confidence has grown more and more since my counselling sessions, and I feel a lot more comfortable in social situations at work and with friends. Before, I would avoid a lot of these situations due to anxiety.

With time, and the help of counselling, I began to accept my condition and come to terms with a lot of the other things you need to process after an event like this, and that’s exactly what I will continue to do.

Counselling was a way for me to release feeling trapped within, and allowed me to feel more relaxed in myself and with who I am. It’s been a gift for me, and one for which I’m very grateful.

Sign up to MS-UK Counselling

How to manage frustration

Posted on: May 21 2020

iStock-1179938842 low res.jpgOur MS-UK Counsellors discusses how to deal with this feeling

Frustration is a common human experience, however, it seems to me that MSers have more than their fair share. This is not surprising as frustration is the experience of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something. In my counselling work for MS-UK I hear many examples of day to day tasks and other life achievements which can remain elusive for MSers.

Frustration is unpleasant to experience and when prolonged it can lead to low mood which can bring unhappiness, poor sleep, negative thinking, worthlessness and self-pity. Experiencing this for too long or too often is debilitating and can have a ripple effect on others near and dear to us.

A way forward when experiencing frustration may be to try out what is known as distress tolerance skills – distraction and shifting focus. Distraction helps by diverting attention. It works better if you choose something that keeps you absorbed and as different things work for different people it is worth trying some out. Shifting focus helps by noticing the frustration and then deliberately choosing where to put your focus; do you choose the frustration or a different focus? As you "do" your chosen activity, you will notice thoughts, feelings and other distractions come into your awareness so just notice them, then gently bring your attention back to your chosen activity.

A way of shifting your attention away from frustration is by using the ‘Right Now’ method. Say ‘Stop’ to yourself and then think about and say

  • 5  things you can see now
  • 4  things you can hear now
  • 3  things you can touch and reach out and touch them now
  • 2  things you can smell or like the smell of now
  • 1 slow deep breath and then focus on something different now

Some examples of what you might use to distract from frustration are offered below from trying out new things to thinking about what needs doing in your home or garden, and do some work in bite-size chunks to match the energy you have with what you want to do.

Pamper yourself

Try out aromatherapy or reflexology, visit the hairdresser, watch the clouds or stars from inside or out, read, have an early night, eat something new, have a bath or shower, write a list of your achievements – great and small, soak your feet, write a list of things you are thankful for, cuddle a soft toy, watch a feel good, funny or inspirational film.

Get out and about

Try joining a leisure centre or health club, or see what is going on at your local MS Therapy Centre, take a walk or jog, or sit on the beach or in a park, get on your bike or local bus, visit a new church, go to the library, visit a museum, check out what movies are on, go to a concert; browse the shops or car boot sale, find out what free classes are on offer, go out for lunch, learn to drive or go out for a drive, visit a garden, visit an attraction.

Be Creative

Try a new hobby, learn a language, write a story or poem, learn to meditate, do yoga or tai chi, learn a musical instrument or compose music, paint, create a blog or website, sew or knit, bake, take photos or sort out the ones you have, make a scrapbook.

Make contact with others

Phone someone you have not spoken to for a while, join a self-help group, a civil rights group, do some voluntary work, write a letter or email a friend, phone the MS-UK Helpline.

Express yourself physically

Bang a drum, shout or sing loudly, rip up a newspaper, dance or cry.

And finally,

Talk to yourself positively

I can get through this. I can take one hour at a time and these feelings of frustration will pass.   

MS-UK Counselling is here for anybody living with MS and offers space for you to explore your thoughts and feelings in a professional, supportive, and non-judgemental therapeutic space. You can register your interest for this service at www.ms-uk.org/counselling

"Not only did this condition change my capabilities, it changed my sense of self-worth"

Posted on: May 21 2020

MSer and research student Hannah Morris on the psychological impact of diagnosis 

hannah morrisresize.jpgLoss of feeling, loss of eyesight, loss of taste, loss of mobility, loss of balance and loss of energy. These are some of the physical losses I experienced one year prior to diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Once diagnosed I was able to get rapid treatment for these things which was great, but it didn’t give me back the losses I faced psychologically. The treatment I was offered would help to restore physical function and even prevent it in the future, but no pill, injection or infusion could help to restore the psychological losses I faced.

Psychological aftermath

To the medics, their job was done once diagnosis had been given and treatment had been administered, but I’d walk away having to deal with a whole lot more than a pill could fix.

Medical treatment gave some consolation for the physical loss and to some extent for the emotional loss, in that I felt reassured that there was some hope, but that was not enough.

Thrown in to the pits of uncertainty, loss would be something I would have to face for the rest of my life; not just physical loss but psychosocial loss also. My role as a mum, a student, a care worker, and a friend amongst others became threatened as I felt unable to fulfil my expectations. My dreams were shattered and my hopes were lost. I had lost everything that I was striving to become. A loss that was bigger than any physical loss I had faced thus far.

My self-worth

Not only did this debilitating condition challenge my capabilities, and future plans but it challenged my sense of self-worth. It might be argued that a pill can actually fix the feelings that are evoked as a result of this and to some extent this is true. But, as with treatments for the physical symptoms, this only treats the physiological consequences of such feelings when something deeper is actually needed to treat the psychological symptoms beyond this.

I felt alone, like perhaps I was the only one who was still feeling the pinch of this illness even after the physical symptoms had been treated and subsided. As a result, I didn’t even think to reach out for support when really I needed it at this time. It was only some years on, after reading the psychological literature in my years as a student that I came to realise that psychosocial loss is in fact a normal part of the MS experience and is often the cause of psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression. I wasn’t alone after all and I had no reason to have felt this way throughout the earlier years of my diagnosis.

Hidden support

It was only after some years that I realised that there many effective treatments and support available to deal with the psychological losses and consequences of MS. It is unfortunate that such support and treatments don’t seem to be offered or made available to people with MS unless they go looking for them. Furthermore, given the diversity of the MS experience not all approaches are appropriate for everyone so even when they offered they might not be suitable to everyone in meeting each individuals needs.

Ultimately, it is normal to experience ongoing sense of loss in MS, but it is also something that can be made easier to deal and cope with through the appropriate type of support.

My research

As part of my research I am hoping to support others in the same situation and invite you to join me in this endeavour by having your say in what would help you.

 If you are happy to help out then you can complete this online survey here by clicking the ‘start’ button at the bottom of the page.

Or you can go directly to the survey by clicking here 

Impact of MS on relationships

Posted on: May 20 2020

iStock-1125540923 low res.jpgIn this blog our Counsellor's answers your MS relationship questions for Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

As human beings, we have an instinctive need to be in relationship with other people. This includes those relationships we have with our family and friends, as well as people we are in contact within a more general sense. Relationships can be complex, some nourish us and bring warmth and others are more challenging. Sometimes, all can be difficult to navigate and it goes without saying that having a condition like MS can really complicate things! In this article, I hope to offer some practical suggestions around some of the most common difficulties people have shared around the impact of MS on their relationships.

I feel like such a let-down when it comes to socialising with my friends. I cancel plans or don’t engage fully because my fatigue and pain make it so difficult for me. What can I do?

It can be difficult to be fully present when your head feels foggy or you are struggling to think about anything apart from the pain you are feeling, physically or emotionally. Think about how it would be for you to communicate your difficulty with your friends and let them know what you need. Could it be that something less tiring would be better for you? Or having a boundary around the amount of time you can be with them might help. On the days when fatigue is higher, maybe consider talking to friends on the phone instead of physically meeting.

I get frustrated when people close to me want to talk about how I am or make an assumption about how I’m managing my emotions. This causes me to not want to be with people. How can I help this?

Communication is key here. It can be so difficult to allow yourself to feel vulnerable and talk about how you feel, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Taking a deep breath and letting those closest to you know that things are difficult can open up that dialogue and if nothing else lets them know that you are finding things tough. Also, it can be useful to let people know what you need. Do you need regular hugs, space or is there something practical they can do to support you?

Talking to people feels too much for me right now and yet I know that people can’t read my mind. Is there anything else I can do to communicate?

Yes! You could try to write a letter if this is something you feel able to do or record a voice note to share with them. Others choose to represent their feelings through art or creativity, or music or song. Sometimes, people can really resonate with a poem or a blog that they’ve read. You could share this with your family or friends to let them understand how things are for you.

My relationship with my children has been impacted by my diagnosis and we don’t talk about my MS. What can I do?

Sometimes, friends and family do not want to ask any questions or bring up subjects which we may find upsetting. This can make it difficult to have an open dialogue. If you feel that it would be okay for you to answer any questions or talk about how things are for you, it can be useful to communicate that it is okay for them to ask.

MS-UK Counselling is here for anybody living with MS and offers space for you to explore your thoughts and feelings in a professional, supportive, and non-judgemental therapeutic space. You can register your interest for this service at www.ms-uk.org/counselling

Low mood, depression and MS

Posted on: May 14 2020

Capture.JPGThis Mental Health Awareness week the MS-UK Counselling team discuss how people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) can experience low mood and depression and what you can do about it

The mental health charity, MIND estimate that 1 in 4 people living in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

As counsellors at MS-UK, we are often asked what the difference is between low mood and depression.

Symptoms of low mood

  • Worry
  • Feeling anxious or a sense of panic
  • Sadness
  • Tiredness
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Low self-esteem

When does low mood turn into depression though?

The most important sign to recognise is if we notice that our low mood is starting to interfere drastically in our daily life and is lasting longer than a couple of weeks. This may be a sign of depression.

Depression

How we might feel and think

  • A sense of hopelessness
  • Feeling tired, lethargic or lacking in energy
  • No self-esteem or confidence
  • Isolated and unable to relate to other people
  • Feeling guilt and worthlessness
  • Being critical towards yourself
  • Feeling empty or numb
  • Have little please in life or have stopped enjoying the things you used to enjoy
  • Frequent restlessness, irritability or agitation
  • Have a sense of unreality
  • Sense of hopelessness and  despairing
  • Feelingly down, upset or tearful
  • Feeling suicidal

When we feel depressed we may behave in certain ways too.

How we might behave/physical bodily responses

  • Feeling tired all of the time, so not doing as much in our daily life
  • Loss of appetite which leads to weight loss or comfort eating leading to weight gain
  • Physical aches and pains that don’t correlate to physical activity
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Avoiding social activities or events that you would usually enjoy
  • Neglecting ourselves: not washing frequently for example
  • Lack of concentration. For example, reading the newspaper or watching TV
  • Changes in sleeping patterns: sleeping more than usual/waking up a lot
  • Insomnia
  • Finding it difficult to make decisions
  • Difficulty speaking or thinking clearly
  • Smoking more, drinking more alcohol than usual or using drugs more than usual
  • Self-harming or suicidal behaviour

What causes depression?

There is much debate around this topic but there are three main perspectives around the causes of depression:

  1. Depression links to certain ways of unhelpful  thinking
  2. Depression is a result of negative life experiences
  3. Depression is caused by neuro-chemical or hormonal imbalances

Counsellors recognise that there is usually a combination of these three factors that link to why somebody may be depressed.  

MS and Depression

Depression can affect anybody. Having an MS diagnosis does not mean you will automatically become depressed.

However, around half of all MSers will experience depression at some point in their life. This is three times higher than the general population. This higher rate could be due to MS damaging nerves in the brain that affect mood but also because the person is living with a complex disease.

What can also be confusing is that some symptoms of depression are also symptoms of MS. This can be incredibly confusing for MSers as it can be difficult to ascertain what is causing them. For example, fatigue may be an MS symptom or it may be a symptom of depression. Or it could be both.

I think I might be depressed

If you think you may be depressed. It is nothing to be ashamed of. Below are a few suggestions that you may find helpful:

  • Talk to somebody you trust about how you’re feeling
  • Book an appointment with your GP
  • Contact the MS-UK Counselling service. This service is confidential and is open to people living with multiple sclerosis (MS), and is the only service of its kind available in the UK

MS-UK Counselling is here for anybody living with MS and offers space for you to explore your thoughts and feelings in a professional, supportive, and non-judgemental therapeutic space. You can register your interest for this service at www.ms-uk.org/counselling

How’s your sense of self?

Posted on: May 14 2020

iStock-157685437.jpgIt’s vital to look after your mental wellbeing as well as your physical. Here MS-UK counsellors explain the importance of your sense of self for Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

Psychotherapeutic research suggests that psychological difficulties are more common in people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS). This could be because MS symptoms may threaten your perception of your sense of self which could lead to a change in your mental health and wellbeing.

The American Psychologist Carl Rogers explored the idea of the sense of self. He explained this term as being the consistent set of beliefs and perceptions that somebody has about themselves. Our sense of self consists of all the values and ideas that characterise the 'I' and 'me'. For example: ‘Who am I?’, 'What is my purpose?' and 'What can I do?’

Our sense of self is a central element of our human experience on this earth. It influences not only our perception of ourselves but also that of the world around us and where we feel our place is within it. However, our sense of self does not always fit with reality and we can often see this in people with a negative sense of self.

 

Sense of self

 

Positive sense of self

 

Negative sense of self

  • You can recognise your strengths,  qualities and potential

 

  • You feel comfortable addressing your limitations or shortcomings, viewing this as normal life

 

 

  • You will find yourself focusing on your weaknesses or faults

 

  • You will often downplay your strengths, qualities and potential

 

  • You will often focus on and vocalise your shortcomings or failures

 

 

Sometimes, MS may impact on a person’s sense of self because the way they view themselves may have changed from their pre-MS self. What we as practitioners may see is that a positive sense of self is now being replaced by a negative sense of self.

However, what is important to note is that living with MS does not automatically bring into question a person’s sense of self. But if it does, it can often be the degree to which MS symptoms impact upon your ability to fulfil roles integral to your pre-MS self that may have the greatest re-defining impact on it. Examples of this could be:

Work 

Have you had to reduce hours at work, change your role or leave your job?

Relationship

You may need to rely on others more than you used to which can lead to feeling a loss of independence, choice and control.

Hobbies and interests

You may no longer be able to participate in, be asked to take part in or want to keep up hobbies and interests because of the physical, emotional or cognitive changes you’re experiencing.  

Social activities

Do you have to plan social events in advance instead of being spontaneous? You may be unable to attend social occasions like you used to or not be invited to these things as much.

These examples above are not meant as a definitive list but provide insight into some of the areas in an MSer’s life where you may notice change has occurred, which at times can bring into question your sense of self.

What can I do?

Some people find journaling their thoughts to be helpful. This can help you to reflect upon negative thoughts, and realise that just because you are thinking them, this doesn’t mean that they are true. It can also allow you to see if there is a pattern to your negative thinking, and perhaps if there are particular situations in your life that are triggering them.

Practising mindfulness can be helpful to bring your mind into the here and now and stop you catastrophizing. You can find a course through the Mindfulness Network’s website www.mindfulness-network.org

If you are ready to talk to somebody, medical and allied health professionals can support you by assessing which symptoms affect you most and for example, help with symptom management or where possible, help you reconnect with valued interests, roles and activities, in an adapted and more accessible way. Your first port of call is your GP.

MS-UK Counselling is here for anybody living with MS and offers space for you to explore your thoughts and feelings in a professional, supportive, and non-judgemental therapeutic space. You can register your interest for this service at www.ms-uk.org/counselling

5 apps that are perfect for lockdown

Posted on: March 26 2020

alexander-dummer-UH-xs-FizTk-unsplash.jpg

 

 

Boredom can really set in when we are unable to leave the house or have visitors. Thankfully, there are a few apps which have really come into their own recently, which allow you to communicate with friends and family, learn new things and generally have some fun! Here’s our roundup. You’ll find these on the App Store or Google Play.

Duolingo

Use your time at home to learn a new language - after all, last year there was a study which found learning a second language increases the brain volume of people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Duolingo aims to help you learn the basics of other languages, and the service also has community features that let you connect with other people who are learning the same language you are.

Houseparty 

Even if you’re in total isolation you can still have a virtual gathering. It’s been popular with teenagers for a while, and now many adults are discovering virtual hangout app Houseparty. The app enables ‘shared experiences’ - games people can play with each other, or screen-sharing services that allow friends to watch TV together or go on dating apps.

Zoom

Zoom is an easy-to-use video chat app on which lots of people can join together. It’s free but there is a premium tier too - though you won’t need it. The free version allows groups to chat for up to 40 minutes, but you can just redial and get another 40 minutes immediately.

Draw something

This app lets you connect remotely to your friends and have fun back and forth. Choose something to draw and watch while they try and guess what it is you’re penning. It’ll make the time pass quicker. 

Musée du Louvre Official App

Have you always wanted to explore the Louvre in Paris? Those plans have to go on hold for now, but you can access the beautiful artworks from the comfort of your own home with your smartphone. The museum’s official app will show you the paintings and you can learn about their history to enrich your mind.

Are there any apps that you’ve found useful? Let us know so we can share them with everyone!

Useful online resources for people with MS right now

Posted on: March 24 2020

sincerely-media-gm2qQPnSJBA-unsplash.jpgWe’ve put together a roundup of websites you might find helpful at the moment.

Our wellness coaches have produced a series of easy-to-follow videos and uploaded them to our YouTube channel. Why not try a few out? You’ll find them here.

Many people with multiple sclerosis (MS) that are taking disease modifying therapies (DMTs) may be concerned that because some medication affects how the immune system functions, they should stop taking it as it might make them more at risk of contracting the coronavirus COVID-19. Professor Giovannoni, an experienced neurologist who specialises in MS and who currently works in the National Health Service (NHS) in England, has shared his opinion on this in detail here sites.google.com/giovannoni.net/clinicspeak-dmt/home

The MS Society has regularly updated information on MS and COVID-19, including the opinions of various neurologists on DMTs. Find it here www.mssociety.org.uk/about-ms/treatments-and-therapies/disease-modifying-therapies/covid-19-coronavirus-and-ms

The NHS’s Every Mind Matters website has practical advice on mental health, including how to look after yours while you have to stay at home, and steps you can take to manage any anxiety you may feel about COVID-19. Find it here www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 across the globe, digital charity and peer support network for people living with MS Shift.ms has launched a 1-2-1 video service for those in isolation. ‘Co-vid Companion’ aims to reduce the isolation and loneliness that can exist during a pandemic by connecting people with MS (MSers) who are self-isolating or experiencing heightened levels of loneliness due to coronavirus. Find it here shift.ms/category/healthy-living/coronavirus

My MS Gym is a movement and mind-set training resource and community for people with MS. You will find lots of safe exercises to do while you are at home www.themsgym.com/

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