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Community Thoughts: The Language of "MS Warrior"

Last updated: September 2019

The term “MS Warrior” is a phrase often found and used within the MS community, and we wanted to learn more about how others felt about this name. So, we asked! We reached out to our Facebook community and posted the following question: Do you like the term “MS Warrior”? Or is there another term you prefer to describe your experience with MS?

It generated a really interesting and lively discussion (you can catch the whole conversation here)! Read more to see the top things people had to say.

I love the term “MS warrior”

Many people in our community felt that the word “warrior” really represented how they battle their MS and its many symptoms. It can be a source of strength and motivation for those who face MS head-on and do their best to get through each day despite numerous challenges.

“I love the word Warrior! I get up every day and I have to fight my body! Yes, I am at war with my body and I am a WARRIOR!! You can pick any word you want to describe your own personal relationship with MS. It’s your body and your feelings about it. If you don’t want to put a word to it, you don’t have to.”

“I have absolutely no problem with the term. I look at it as a term of endearment. A form of camaraderie with others. We’re a team battling something that not everyone battles.”

“MS Warrior is fine with me cause we are definitely fighting this monster!”

I don’t use it, but I don’t mind it

For others in the community, the term “warrior” just doesn’t mean much. Whether you’re just not into labels or you don’t connect with the word, you’re definitely not alone.

“I don’t mind it although I’m not really a fan of tag lines. I’m pretty crabby in general, so I find this one better than the stupid (in my opinion) ‘It doesn’t have me.’ Frankly, I’m just dragging myself through this and 23 years after diagnosis, I’m not so much a warrior as just surviving day to day.”

Eh… not for me

Several others noted that the use of words like “warrior” and “fighting MS” make it seem like MS is a battle that can be won. With MS, there’s no winning or losing, just coping and adapting to the changes.

“I don’t like the ‘fighting’ words currently used to describe coping with and managing chronic health conditions. To me, they are an insult, but that is my opinion. Being a ‘warrior with MS’ or ‘fighting cancer or MS or diabetes’ implies one can ‘win’ and it will be over – and it is not ever over in reality.”

“I don’t want to be labeled a warrior because it makes me sound courageous, I am just handling my life from day to day. There are many courageous people in this world… but to me, courage is a choice or decision – MS is not.”

Can’t stand it

The phrase “MS warrior” can really rub some members of our community the wrong way. Everyone’s journey with MS is different, and to some, “MS warrior” feels like it’s making light of MS or implying that if a person “fights harder,” they could get better.

“I’m a person with MS. I’m no warrior, I’m fighting a disease I had no choice in. I’m not a survivor because it’s progressive and I’m in the advanced stages. I’m a person. With MS. I have no time for these silly names. They don’t make me feel better, they seem silly.”

“I hate it, much like any term such as ‘it hasn’t got me,’ (and all the stories of MSers running marathons and the like!)… I feel there is an implication if your disease progresses/symptoms worsen it is somehow your fault for not ‘fighting’ hard enough?”

“Wow, I thought I was the only one who really hated being labeled a warrior. I don’t like the tag warrior although I wouldn’t begrudge anybody with MS who uses the name to give them hope and inspiration. I like to think I’m just ME. No warrior just a husband, father, brother, cousin, and friend just trying to get through life the best I can.

I found a term that fits better

Some community members shared other terms that fit them better, like MS navigator or MS survivor. We love hearing all of these perspectives and learning more about how different phrases and words connect with different people. MS is truly a “snowflake” condition, and no two people are the same, so it makes sense that everyone has their own way of describing their life with MS! Which term do you prefer, if any?

“I just call MS my shadow that follows me around every day, when it is in front of me, I step on it and on days when it is behind me, I try to ignore it. It’s just a part of my life and I carry on…”

“If I have to put a label on it, I would say navigator is more accurate. From day one, MS has been about navigating. First the health care system, and the bevy of doctors who misdiagnosed me for almost two years, and since then treatments, the realities of decreasing mobility and physical limitations, and most often just navigating my daily life while dealing with MS.”

“I would rather be called an MS survivor than an MS Warrior. I will survive MS the best that I can, I do not like the implication that warrior implies that I am fighting a war, which I am against totally.”

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