I Felt Like My MS Made Me Redundant

My advice

Tell your manager and ask for an occupational health assessment. Know your rights.

My recommendations

My story

After I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis I wasn’t sure whether to tell people at work. I don’t think many people really understand the condition and I didn’t want things to be awkward.

My manager already knew about it. I’d been off work for months and the diagnosis helped arrange a return to work plan. I didn’t feel like the plan was working and I was made redundant within a year or going back. Despite my experience, I don’t think they made effort in finding me a different position in the same company. I took some time off. I felt like my MS made me redundant. My employer always said it was nothing to do with that.

From then, I decided I wouldn’t tell work about my MS ever again. My symptoms were mild so I thought maybe no-one would notice anyway. I started a new job with no-one knowing anything about my MS. It felt amazing. I made excuses for not being able to make social events after work and would always blame looking tired on whatever bug or cold was going around the office or that I was having problems sleeping. I felt bad lying, especially because my colleagues were so friendly.

Things were going well but then my symptoms got worse and started impacting work performance. I was working slow and often got confused. My memory got worse and I kept forgetting and misplacing things. I was taking more and more sick days and my manager was getting suspicious. I felt so stressed about the situation and it started to make my mental health worse. After speaking with ACAS, I decided it was time to tell the truth. ACAS helped me understand my rights and reassured me my manager couldn’t go and tell the whole office.

I was really scared about telling my manager but felt so relieved when I did. He was really understanding and wanted to support me. We discussed with HR and I had an Occupational Health assessment which really helped me make some changes from having a desk fan to flexible working patterns and more working from home. It’s been a couple of years since then and I am so happy I could open up about it again. After a while I started telling some colleagues that are now my friends and they have been really supportive. I really enjoy my job and really happy my new workplace has been so understanding.