When you’re diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, it’s like receiving a little jar of pain. Like with the Pandora Box, the jar has been left open, and all the pain it contains is slowly flowing out. As it does, you can hear your inner voice screaming, not only in pain but also in terror because, if there’s one thing that scares people who’ve discovered they’ve got MS is the knowledge that the pain will not go away. For many, it’s a matter of knowing how much pain they can take before they mentally give up. Does the mind gets used to your aching body? In a way, it learns to deal with it. There are good days and bad days. And as time passes you begin to wonder how your place in the world, and more important how MS can affect the people around you. The question is simple: Will there be emotional pain too?
It affects your mental health
Pain is the result of stiffness and spasms in your muscles as well as numbness, pins and needles, and even tightness in the chest area. When you’ve got MS, you gradually learn to recognise those pains for that they are. It would be easy to give in and let MS claim your mental strength as well. All you would have to do is to lie down and let the disease affect your limbs, your muscles, your energy day after day. Why make any effort, you think. It’s all so painful and weak. You have a choice. You can let the disease fill your day. Or you can remain in charge. Every little effort is a step towards protecting your mental health because if you don’t do that for yourself, you can’t expect to maintain relationships with others.
What about fertility?
If you are in a long-term relationship, you might worry about how MS affects your fertility. Depending on how advanced the illness is, a man with MS can safely conceive a child if the nerves connected to the sexual organs are not damaged. In the case of dry orgasms, specialists employ successful techniques to harvest sperm for insemination. On the other side of the spectrum, men who have MS and are worried about having a child can safely arrange for an appointment at a dedicated vasectomy clinic. Indeed, there is no evidence of health consequences following the operation.
A little note on women with MS
As for women with MS, the disease doesn’t affect your fertility. However, you will need to discuss alternative contraception methods with your doctor. Indeed, if your mobility is already severely affected, the risk of blood clots with pills can’t be ignored. Additionally, some MS drugs can reduce the effectiveness of your method of contraception.
MS and parenting?
Finally, parents with MS need to be aware of the risk for their children. Indeed, children are more likely to be diagnosed with MS if one of their close relatives suffers from it. It is a situation you need to be ready for. Additionally, as a parent, it is difficult to explain to your children that your health will never improve – but will, in fact, get worse.
The ultimate question of whether or not MS impacts on your relationships with others depends on a variety of factors. Looking after your mental health is fundamental. But you also need the support of specialists when it comes to starting or not a family.
**This is a collaborative post**