We use words every day to communicate our opinions, frustrations, anger, appreciation and love. Many times we don’t even pay attention to the things we say or how we say them as the words tumble out of our mouths quicker than we can actually think. Those words have the ability to bring hope, tenderness and support, but they can also be used to condemn, attack and ridicule.
Occasionally the words people use when trying to help a person living with Multiple Sclerosis, hurt more than help. It’s my hope that those times happen unintentionally, but they still happen. In their attempt to do something soothing by passing on a few words of wisdom, those words come across more like a punch in the gut or a jab to the heart instead. So, just in case someone would like to know the words that hurt, pass this list along.
Things NOT to say to someone living with Multiple Sclerosis:
- You don’t look sick.
- You shouldn’t drink diet coke.
- OMG, this diet I’m on cures MS.
- OMG, this vitamin will leave you symptom free.
- Aren’t you gluten free? You should be.
- Try this herb; it helped my cousin’s uncles’ sister’s friend who has MS.
- Well, aren’t you taking your meds? (Yes….) Then why is your MS bothering you still?
- Are you contagious?
- You shouldn’t eat meat.
- What did you do to get MS?
- My aunt had that and now she’s dead.
- If the heat bothers you, don’t be in it… or move.
- I heard a vaccine caused it.
- Why are you dragging one of your feet?
- You need to get out of the house more.
- Maybe if you exercise more.
- Well, if you’re in remission, why are you on meds?
- That celebrity with MS seems just fine, why aren’t you?
- Are you sure it’s MS? How can doctors be so sure?
- Stop using MS as an excuse. You can’t feel that way ALL the time.
- Maybe you just need to try a little harder.
- Why don’t you try a different medication that doesn’t cause so many side effects?
- You seemed fine the other day.
- Why are you always so tired? You slept ALL night.
- Oh, trust me, I know EXACTLY how you feel!
- It really can’t be that bad.