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Wie man mit seinen Lieben darüber spricht

von NFI Redaktion

Dr. Vincent Macaluso discovered he had Multiple Sclerosis (MS) while in medical school. Today, he treats individuals with MS at his clinic in New Hyde Park, NY.

He understands that MS can impact the way you think, feel, and act more than most people. He also knows firsthand how challenging it can be to explain this to others.

Symptoms like memory issues and depression arise because MS affects how your brain functions. While these issues can greatly impact your life, others may not always be aware that you are experiencing them. According to Macaluso, people with MS often appear fine on the outside but may not feel well internally.

It can also be the other way around. Dr. Tim Vartanian, Director of the Judith Jaffe Multiple Sclerosis Center in New York, states that family members or colleagues may notice the changes first.

In any case, it’s important to inform those closest to you about what’s happening now and what could happen in the future. This helps them better understand the changes they see and offer assistance when needed.

At some point, over half of individuals with MS will experience cognitive issues. Vartanian mentions that the most common symptoms include:

  • Slowed thinking
  • Blurry memory
  • Executive function problems – your ability to plan and execute tasks

And at times, you simply may not feel as sharp as before.

People with MS may have some or all of these symptoms. However, for most, memory problems top the list. Vartanian explains that MS can impact current or distant memories.

For many, the everyday symptoms are often mild. But even minor errors can be a challenge. (Memory problems are a major reason why people with MS may no longer work.)

To convey how it feels, try to describe it in words others can relate to. You could say: „Remember how frustrated you were when you couldn’t find your car keys yesterday? With advancing MS, this might happen to me more often.“

Individuals with MS should collaborate with a neuropsychologist who can suggest ways to sharpen their minds. This includes both mental and physical exercises. Factors that can affect how well your brain functions, like „depression, anxiety, and stress, all need to be addressed directly,“ says Vartanian.

Inform your loved ones about things that can help you cope with memory issues associated with MS.

Stay cool. Damaged nerves do not function well in heat. Therefore, many (but not all) individuals with MS think and learn better when it’s cool. To enhance concentration, spend time with friends in a cool, quiet place with no distractions. (Step away from Netflix!) Let them know this is the goal in case you forget occasionally.

Create to-do lists. Many people with MS say they lose track of notes. Instead, you can use a small recorder you can wear around your neck or your phone’s voice recorder. And let your friends know you are doing this so they can help.

Establish a routine. Keep your car keys, phone, and glasses in the same place so you always know where they are. Let your loved ones know where this place is so they can put them back if they find them elsewhere.

Set alarms. Use reminders on your phone or computer to prompt you to do things. Your loved ones can set the same alarms to remind you in case you forget what the alarm is for.

Repeat information. When someone tells you something, repeat it back to them. This way, it’s more likely to stick in your memory and theirs.

Jessica Thomas, a social worker in Greensboro, NC, has MS like many of the individuals she encounters. She suggests that while a counselor can help with managing the emotions of living with MS, individuals with depression may also require medication. She also emphasizes the need for individuals to have an MS-free zone – „a part of life or passion that MS must not impact.“

Exercise is also a crucial factor. It is essential for your overall health and well-being. It also assists with nearly all aspects of MS and may work better than antidepressants for depression. So, you can tell a friend that having a workout buddy can truly help you stay on track.

Share with your loved ones that these things can help keep depression at bay:

  • Healthy ways to cope with stress
  • A more plant-based diet
  • Ample rest
  • Assisting you in completing your to-do list when needed

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