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"The confidence and connectivity I have gained from my Circle has been invaluable."

Living with MS can be difficult at times. Whether you're new to the program or an experienced OMSer, our Circles are a great place to connect with others living nearby. Rowan, from our Sussex Circle, shares her thoughts on how important her Circle is to her.

What is an OMS Circle?

OMS Circles are a great way to meet others following the OMS program, they are open to all and provide a wonderful, positive support network among the OMS community.

Since beginning my OMS journey in December 2018, I have learned so much about myself, OMS and the importance of both supporting others and of being supported. So, when I joined the Sussex circle, I felt I had found a group of people who truly understood, were  supportive and equally positive. It was a breath of fresh air. 

What happens at meet ups?

I was nervous attending my first meet up: a potluck lunch, everyone bringing one dish to share, at our ambassador’s (Circle organiser) home. When I arrived, it was really relaxed and everyone was genuinely welcoming and happy to greet a new face, which put me at ease straight away.

pot luck lunchOne thing that struck me was how non-judgemental everyone was: we were all in this together. Everyone was at different stages in their OMS journey, and I found the group a real safe space to share ideas and discuss any issues we had. 

There were about 10 of us: a few regulars and a few toe dippers, but I was the only newbie that time. We ranged from mid twenties (me) to retirement age, with everyone in between. There were a mix of partners and OMSers, and of women and men. We even had a baby joining us, so they really are suitable for everyone!

It can be an incredibly positive experience to be a relative, as it can help them to better understand this amazing community, and to feel positivity in the changes advocated by OMS. Relatives do not need to be following OMS to come along, and Circle meet ups can offer a support network for those coming on this journey with you, too. 

yoga session
Thanks to Barbara Stephenson for volunteering her time and space

The next meet up I attended was at the house of one of the members, where we shared a beautiful yoga and meditation session, followed by a potluck lunch. They are such a great way to learn new OMS recipes and to share some delicious food together.yoga session 

The meetings normally last about 3 hours and are very relaxed. Examples of other meet ups include an afternoon tea in a member’s garden, and an OMS friendly meal at an Asian restaurant. We have attended an OMS compliant cooking lesson at the local cooking school, taught by our ambassador, and mentioned a sushi workshop for sometime in the future. 

I don’t drive, and as the meet ups happen all over the county, members are always very generous with lift sharing. Plus it gives you extra time to have a catch up!

All Circles are different, but all share the OMS philosophies. 

Support whenever you need it

The group also communicates via email, but mostly through a WhatsApp group, where you will find support 24/7, if you’re having a wobble or have some positive news to share. It has helped me to feel more deeply connected to the OMS community, and is a wonderful way to connect if you can’t wait for the next meet up!

During lockdown, we have managed a couple of Zoom meet ups, which have been a really successful way to touch base and reinforce the importance of coming together, especially when so much has changed around us. 

I have also found OMS communities on Facebook and through the OMS website extremely helpful, where again, you will find no judgement, just encouragement and support. These have been great while I was finding my feet and to keep up to date with new information and connectivity with the community and the program. 

If you are struggling with any aspect of OMS, or are a seasoned veteran with knowledge and support to impart, please please join a Circle via the OMS website, or ask OMS about setting one up in your area. The support, confidence and connectivity I have gained from my circle has been invaluable, and I can’t recommend Circles enough.

OMS circles
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