Team sports and talking therapies help me live life to the full
I was diagnosed with primary progressive MS in 2014 and joined my local MS Society group straight away. I googled “support for people with MS in Lanarkshire”, and there they were. The volunteers have helped me in so many different ways.
A few years ago I went to a curling taster at the local Hamilton ice rink. As part of the Lanarkshire group’s Active Together programme, this event and other activities were created to get people with MS moving and exercising. Curling’s a Scottish sporting tradition that was originally played on the frozen lakes, so it was really great to be part of this. We had Paralympians Aileen Neilson and Michael McCreadie there, with Jim Morrison from the Scottish Curling association. To meet them and get coached by them was unbelievable, I absolutely loved it.
I came off the ice and thought I’m going to do this, so I went along to their weekly sessions. Next thing you know they ended up choosing me for the team and I started going to championships. That’s the best part. Scoring the highest points for my team and winning the match. The crowds cheering, my team’s cheering. It’s absolutely brilliant and we’ve got the medals to show it.
If it wasn’t for the local MS Society group taster session I don’t know what I would have done. It opened up my mind to try new things and try sports. My personality has changed as well, I’ve become livelier. Activity like this opens up a network of people and can help with living with MS so much, improving mood and symptoms.
Using the Talking Therapies service
My MS medication and another medication reacted badly together and affected my mental health, leading me to need treatment for depression in hospital. When I got out, volunteer Karen told me that she believed that the Lanarkshire Talking Therapies sessions might be good for me, so I went along.
Nicola the therapist, talked to me about how I was feeling and taught me coping tools like breathing techniques and meditation, which really helped to calm me down. I don’t use them now because I’m feeling so much better. But I know the tools are there if I need them.
Nicola said “the volunteers and staff member Tracey have worked so hard to get the service up and running and get the word out. Dealing with MS affects a lot of people’s mental health and they saw there was a great need for it. There isn’t a lot of counselling freely available and accessible to people and there certainly wasn’t anything specifically for people with MS.
The service has grown massively over the last few years. It’s so rewarding to be able to support so many people. I’m even continuing to provide the service during the coronavirus pandemic, on the phone and via Zoom. Recent events have been such a rollercoaster for everyone so it’s important to be able to do this. We’ve been getting really positive feedback. The volunteers are fantastic, they have so much knowledge and help people in so many different ways”.
Volunteer with us
The COVID-19 pandemic means we can’t meet face-to-face right now, but there’s still ways to you can help us be there for everyone with MS. If you can volunteer some time remotely, by phone, video call, or online we’d love to hear from you.
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We don’t want anyone in our MS community to feel alone during this crisis. And that means we need your support.
We’re rapidly expanding our services and tailoring them so anyone who needs us can get help online or over the phone.
Our MS Helpline has seen a big increase in calls - we want to answer every single one.
Will you help us be there for everyone by making a donation?
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Help us be there for everyone with MS
£10could pay for two phone conversations with a trained member of our new Keep In Touch team
£20could pay for our MS Helpline team to answer a call or message from someone who needs our help
£65could pay for someone with MS to have a session with our Benefits Adviser to help them get the support they need
Every penny you give us helps us be there for someone affected by MS.
£10a month could help cover the cost of a MS Helpline call with our specialist MS Nurse
£20a month could help people with MS get vital support from our Benefits Advisor
£30a month for a year could pay for a day on the MS Helpline, helping people in our MS community
Your regular donation means we can be there for everyone with MS. So no one has to face this pandemic alone.