Here at the MS Trust we’re currently working on information designed to help people with MS manage their day-to-day symptoms. The first booklets in the series will look at common bladder or bowel problems and suggest practical ways you can work together with your health professionals to deal with them simply and effectively.
These days there is more and more evidence that suggests that good ‘self management’ is one of the keys to living well with long-term conditions such as MS. This is a bit of a jargony term but every day we use problem-solving skills: getting to that meeting when our car has broken down or sorting out after-school activities for the kids. We set goals and manage our stress and time: this is self management.
It also involves monitoring what’s happening in your MS. Keeping track of changes and what might bring these about is a key tool. One of the most effective ways of getting a handle on your MS is by keeping a diary. By recording how your symptoms alter at different times and in different situations you can begin to understand what affects your MS and how.
If you’ve kept an MS diary we’d be really interested to hear your experiences and tips. It might be a diary on a particular symptom such as bladder or bowel, or your MS more generally. What’s the best way to record things as they happen? Do you carry around a notebook or do you use your phone? Are there any good smartphone apps that help? What have you discovered from keeping a diary and how did you act on this?
Let us know your experiences in the comments below or send us an email. Your stories and tips could benefit other people living with MS, help us understand what’s most effective, and help improve the quality of our information!