Woman comforting another womanQ: Last week, after many tests, my doctor finally told my younger sister she has MS. She is 32 and has two young children. I’m absolutely devastated for her. It’s like she’s been given a death sentence and I cant help feeling guilty and wondering if she’s going to be OK, but how can it be? I’m also worried about her mental state – she’s so depressed, she’s barely able to get out of bed. It’s so unfair and upsetting. Where can I get some help for her?

Sam, Norwich

A: Many people respond with emotional distress to a diagnosis as serious as this. Your sister needs a lot of support from the people closest to her.

If she’s retreated into depression, it’s possible she hasn’t had the energy to contact the MS Society (0808 800 8000). But you can do it for her. They can help organise emotional support for her and her family. There are, for instance, hospital-based MS nurses who can make home visits.

It’s probably also worth contacting your sister’s GP to see what other provisions can be made. It sounds like you might benefit from some emotional support too. The more grounded and calm you are, the better you will be to respond to your sister’s problems.

Emma Marlin, Counsellor


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