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Is there such a thing as an MS personality?

Is there such a thing as an MS personality?

After many years of braving it out, even after diagnosis, I finally listened to my long suffering mind and looked up counselling. I am in recovery! I acknowledge that I am not an MS Super Hero. And maybe I have experienced enough to warrant spending time with a mental health professional.

This is not an easy step to take.  As a child of the 1980’s, mental health was often at the butt of jokes and comedy sketches on TV. As kids we would tease each other about the ‘people in white coats’ coming to take you away!  So there is a Grand Canyon of self consciousness to cross before you seek out help for your noggin!

My counselling sessions were brilliant and introduced me to the writings of Dr. Gabor Mate. And especially his book ‘When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress’. It was a game changer for me.

Through many years of working as in palliative care, Doctor Mate has identified different emotional states or personalities that he believes contribute to becoming unwell. It’s not just outside stress alone that precedes the disease. Most of the MS patients that Maté treated also reported a pattern of:

• repressing their own emotions;
• ignoring anger or annoyance; and
• constantly prioritizing the health or needs of others over their own well-being.

Does any of that ring true for you?  We may have been diagnosed with MS already. But the good news, as I see it, is that I can work on these psychological characteristics to give my body and mind a chance to replenish.

“If we gain the ability to look into ourselves with honesty, compassion and with unclouded vision, we can identify the ways we need to take care of ourselves,” Maté wrote. “We can see the areas of the self formerly hidden in the dark.”

I just may not be a very nice person/doormat any more!


Hey there 👋 We’re Shift.ms, the community for people with multiple sclerosis. Founded by MSers, for MSers, we exist to give you social and emotional support, and to inspire you to take charge of your health as soon as possible after diagnosis. It's independent and free. Click here to join our community.

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About the author


Hi, I’m Treasa Anderson, a Digital Marketing Specialist, originally from Dublin and living in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

My hobbies include trying to motivate myself to walk and do the occasional HIT session but it's really feeding an insatiable appetite for property programmes (please send on your recommendations)

I became an MS anorak shortly after being diagnosed in 2015, and can talk for hours about DMTs, treatment strategies and environmental factors. I even completed the 'Understanding Multiple Sclerosis' course from the University of Tasmania.

Facebook: Treasa.Anderson

Twitter: @TreasaAnderson

Instagram: @AndersonTreasa