SINGLE WITH MS: A POCKET GUIDE
Building a strong support network is key to managing the challenges of
MS, especially for singles. Here are six strategies for ;ying solo.
1. Get involved. Set a goal to attend a gathering every week. When people go to programs
that educate them about their MS, they’re very
likely to meet others who are like-minded and
who can share information. It’s also important
to extend contacts beyond MS. Join a book
club or hobby group, sign up for a class or volunteer for an organization you respect.
2. Get organized. Make a plan for household
tasks and organize errands so they can be done
all in one trip. “I have lists for everything,”
said Sharon Dodge. “If I don’t write it down,
I forget.” Dodge also organizes her day so
energy-zapping activities are accomplished in
the morning when she’s at her best.
3. Ask for help. Resilient people know when
and how to tap into resources to help them
out. Whether you’re delegating responsibilities
at home or on the job, capitalize on people’s
strengths. Does your daughter love to cook?
Ask her to make dinner once a week. Is your
niece great with kids? Pay her to babysit. “The
more people know about the support that’s
available to them, whether it’s through their
church, the National MS Society, professional
counseling, friends and neighbors, the better
off they’ll be,” Dodge said.
4. Know your limits. Don’t take on tasks
you don’t like or don’t do very well. And don’t
neglect your own responsibilities by taking on
someone else’s—even if that someone else is
your child or a friend. Most importantly, don’t
say “yes” out loud when you’re screaming “no”
5. Pat yourself on the back. Silence that inner
voice that says “you’ll always be alone.” Focus
instead on the many things you’re doing to
broaden your social network. Whether you
go to a support group or join friends at happy
hour, talk about your successes. And give your-
self a reward. It can be as simple as a gold star
on your desk calendar or as extravagant as a
weekend getaway. Pick something that’s special
to you and makes you feel good.
6. Find your own way. MS affects everyone differently. What works for you may not
work for someone else. Don’t feel you have to
change your whole identity to respond to well-intentioned advice from others.