A Coleraine who suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS) has agreed with new research which reveals that public ignorance of the illness makes life stressful for sufferers.
In a poll by the MS Society of almost 2,000 people with MS over half (61%) revealed they had been mistaken as ‘drunk’ because of their symptoms, which can include balance and mobility problems as well as slurring of speech.
Local mum, Jane Ramsey (39) from Coleraine was diagnosed with MS in 2011: “Since then there have been some ups and downs”, she says:
“I get dizziness, really bad fatigue and lose my balance. Sometimes I have to use a crutch to help me stay balanced.
“I can understand why some people might look at me stumbling out of my car and think the worst but it still really hurts. I didn’t ask for MS - it came into my life unexpectedly – and I’m just trying to get on with my life.
“I can understand why some people think you’re drunk when you stumble or slur your speech but it still hurts to be judged by complete strangers who have absolutely no idea what it’s like to live with MS every day. I’m lucky that my two children Joanna (13) and Stephen (15) are a big help to me and keep me going.”
Jane explains: “I don’t think people realise that MS affects younger people and they can be too quick to judge because a lot of the symptoms are invisible.
“Now that I’m using a crutch more often, I suppose I look ‘disabled’.
“I feel there needs to be more understanding of conditions like MS and how they affect people. Just because someone is a little off balance doesn’t mean they’re drunk”.