Telling people

How do I talk about my diagnosis?

If you’ve just been diagnosed with a neurological condition, you may experience a range of emotions. Chances are you won’t know a lot about your condition at this stage, so telling others about it may not be easy.

Was a close friend or family member there when you received your diagnosis?

MSWA Rob Cridge2

There’s a well-known saying: 'A problem shared is a problem halved'. Just having someone you trust to talk to can be a great comfort.

Before you share your news more widely, be sure you feel ready to talk about it. You may be more comfortable sharing once you understand your condition better.

To help you, your family and friends, MSWA provides information about neurological conditions on our Living well after diagnosis page. We can also provide printed copies of easy-to-understand information brochures.

Visit Living well after diagnosis

Andrew Francis with family

Who should I tell first?

The closer the relationship, the more your loved one could be impacted by your condition. It’s your choice as to when and how to break the news, but generally, being open with those closest to you is the best policy.

Like you, they will need time to adjust. They may be apprehensive about the future, uncertain as to how your journey with a neurological condition will affect you and them.

If you have children, they may be too young to understand fully about what’s happening to Mum or Dad. However, even the youngest child may pick up that something’s not right with Mum or Dad. Try to tailor your conversation to the age of the child and look for ways to focus on the positive.

Your friends might feel awkward, not knowing how to talk to you or include you in activities.

If you have a job, you may be especially nervous about telling your employer. You may be wondering what considerations you can ask for, and whether your manager will be supportive.

Where to get help

MSWA’s Counselling Service is here for you, after diagnosis and into the future. We provide a safe, non-judgmental space for you to talk about how you are feeling and the challenges you may be facing.

More about MSWA's Counselling Service