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Department of Neurology
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Learning the Power of Saying NO When You Live With MS

By Cathy Chester

As a writer I sit on my duff all day doing my job for various websites, including this one, plus writing my weekly blog posts. I love writing and do it so much that now I find myself writing entire sentences in my head while I watch TV, am on a date with my husband (sorry, honey) or even in my dreams.

But once in awhile I get writer’s block, and when I do I look to writing prompts. A few words or sentences strung together to start the flow of creative juices. One writing prompt in particular got stuck in my head and I’d like to use it now. It’s applicable for all of us.

The Power of No

When you live with multiple sclerosis it’s sometimes hard to say no. For me, someone who is somewhat introverted, saying no was always tough. So once I had physical challenges as well I had to learn how to say no more often. I dreaded it.

Those of you who are younger than me let me tell you something that you can look forward to when you reach midlife: Saying no gets easier! I’ve finally learned to put myself first in many situations. No, it’s not selfish to do that. It’s healthy. Very healthy.

Here’s a list of some things to say no to:
  • Staying later at social occasions because you feel obligated, or you feel you’ll be considered rude, instead of leaving when you’re tired. Say no to yourself and (politely) to the host and go home.
  • Say no to a doctor who tells you that your appointment is over, even though you brought a list of unanswered questions. Say no to leaving the office until your questions are answered.
  • Say no when you feel uncomfortable, fatigued, overwhelmed, frustrated, anxious or sad in any situation. Listen to what you body and mind are telling you and trust your instincts.
  • Say no to self-doubt or feeling worthless. You matter. Your voice matters. Your life matters. You are amazing. You simply are. A change in a couple of lesions will never change how remarkable you are!
  • Hold a pity party if you can’t keep up with others. But make it a short one. Because your life can still be wonderful, only now it’s on different terms. I know it’s hard. Believe me, I know. Seeing others do whatever they want while we can’t? It can break your heart. But your community is always here to lift you up, to hold your hand, to dry your tears, and to ease your way. But say no to a long pity party. Life is too short.
  • Say no to going to any sub-par medical professionals. Research their background online on a site such as or ask those in the community. Say no to scams and authors who are preying on those they see as weak or desperate. We are neither. Research, ask questions of the community on Facebook or on our website at You deserve the best. Always.

Empower yourself by saying no. You deserve to take the best care of yourself that you possibly can. I believe in you. That’s the power of YES!

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by MULTIPLESCLEROSIS.NET
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length

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