8 Tips to Help Build Confidence While Living with MG

Here are some ideas to help you feel good in your own skin for everyday life with MG.

Living with myasthenia gravis (MG) may sometimes mean living with challenging, physical symptoms—and possibly emotional challenges, too. Having to cancel plans because of muscle weakness or being uncomfortable at a restaurant due to difficulty chewing might understandably affect self-confidence. The important thing to remember is that the emotional and mental health effects of MG matter just like the physical ones—and finding ways to navigate them can be just as relevant.

We spoke to Courtney* and Mike,* who each live with MG, about their experiences both struggling with self-confidence and finding ways to build it up. Below are some tips that worked for them, which may offer you some support along your own self-confidence journey.


1. Identify methods of calming your mind

Having a practice you can rely on to stay calm may help bring you to a confident headspace. When Courtney recognizes she’s feeling anxious, she meditates. “I don’t want to stress myself out thinking of all the things that could possibly go wrong, so I try to calm my mind as much as possible,” she explained.

For Mike, keeping calm can be as simple as shutting his eyes and listening to a favorite album. He highlighted the importance of having go-to activities that can help you relax on rough days, so you can feel more confident the next day. “On a bad day, let yourself rest,” he said. “Whatever doesn’t need to get done for the day, don’t do that.”


2. Plan ahead

Think about the little things you could do today that might make tomorrow a little easier. In Courtney’s case, picking out an outfit and ironing her clothes ahead of time helps her feel confident to start the day, particularly if she has a big work event to attend.

Mike emphasized the advantages of structuring your days around when you feel your best. For him, his ocular strength is best in the morning, so he ensures a good night’s rest the evening before so he can maximize productivity early the next day. “Do whatever it takes to get back on top in those moments when MG is testing your confidence,” he noted.

Mike smiling outside Mike smiling outside Mike smiling outside Mike, living with MG

3. Get creative

Even a short-term solution can come in handy sometimes. Mike explained that when his double vision kicks in, there are times where he just doesn’t feel confident wearing an eye patch—like when he’s coaching his son’s baseball team. As a work-around, Mike had the idea of covering the inside of one of his sunglasses’ lenses with tape. He now wears that pair of sunglasses if he ever feels insecure with his eye patch out in public. “You can make little tools to get through,” he shared.


4. Stick with hobbies that make you happy

Some hobbies may naturally boost your confidence, especially if they don’t feel related to or defined by your MG. Take Courtney’s book club, for example—she finds that by holding herself accountable to read one book a month, she impresses herself with the goals she can achieve. She even carries this goal-setting confidence to her job as a reiki master, as she pursues career growth through new trainings and programs. Another way to participate in book clubs is by listening to audio books.

One of Mike’s passions is fitness. He shared that he was very athletic before MG and, while he has had to make some adjustments since his diagnosis, that hasn’t stopped him from pursuing fitness to the best of his ability. From running to weight training to playing various sports, Mike finds that continuing to do something he loves keeps him confident. “Whatever you loved before your MG diagnosis, you still might really want to incorporate. Try planning for what you need to do with your MG management in order to get there,” he suggested. If you’re also interested in fitness, you might want to try out these MG-friendly exercises.

Although sometimes it feels like I’m going in slow motion, I am moving.

Living with MG


5. Lean on a support system

Getting an external perspective or just a listening ear might be what you need on some days. Family, friends, fellow MG support group members or others in your life may be great resources to help fuel your confidence. 

Courtney noted how grateful she is to have her mom living with her, which aids her confidence in numerous ways—from helping Courtney button her shirts to just being a sounding board. Courtney also finds emotional support in her friends. “They’ll be like, ‘We forget you have an autoimmune disease; you do so much!’ So, I am grateful to have them remind me that although it sometimes feels like I’m going in slow motion, I am moving,” she said.

In addition to his girlfriend and eight-year-old son, Mike finds this support in a daily text chain with friends who also live with MG. “We are all there to lift each other up and get through the day,” he said, noting that they’ll celebrate accomplishments no matter how small or mundane, like getting out and mowing the lawn.

If you think professional help would be a good addition to your support system, consider reaching out to a mental health counselor to talk through confidence building with MG.


6. Share and acknowledge your feelings

If your MG symptoms are making you feel nervous, simply accepting those feelings and vocalizing them may go a long way. Courtney remembered a time she had to give a speech at work and was having trouble speaking due to her MG. Rather than bottling up her nerves, she openly shared what was going on with a colleague—which, in turn, helped build her confidence back up. “I think because I gave myself grace, it was still a wonderful session,” Courtney reflected. “I reminded myself that this is just a moment.”

Courtney smiling in house Courtney smiling in house Courtney smiling in house Courtney, living with MG

7. Forge a positive partnership with your doctor

In addition to applying confidence to your everyday life, consider how it might relate to your MG management, too. Mike says he has built confidence in discussions with his doctor by being diligent in what he wants to achieve, sometimes by writing topics down ahead of time. Taking steps as simple as that might be what you need to feel comfortable at your doctor visits in general. Courtney, for instance, says she feels confident advocating for herself with her neurologist. If you’re struggling to build confidence in interactions with your doctor, consider revisiting options for building your healthcare team to find a better fit.


8. Savor the good times

When you do find yourself feeling especially confident, don’t take that for granted! Courtney often taps into memories of feeling her best, saying that it helps her combat negative feelings when she goes through tougher times. “Having MG really forces me to appreciate the great moments,” she expressed. “When I’m having one, I savor it and that helps with my confidence. If my speech is slurred one day, I remember that yesterday it wasn’t bad at all—and then I feel great. I cherish those moments.”

It’s important to consult with your healthcare team before making any decisions about your overall health. Check with your doctor to make sure they approve of any adjustments you plan to make in your life.


Removing the Stigma: Asking for Help with an "Invisible Illness"

Removing the Stigma: Asking for Help with an "Invisible Illness"

Can you remember the last time you asked for help? It may be tough but these tips may help make it easier.

Finding Your Voice: Being a Strong Self-Advocate at an MG Appointment

Finding Your Voice: Being a Strong Self-Advocate at an MG Appointment

When it comes to your healthcare, confidence may be a valuable skill in getting the myasthenia gravis care that really fits your needs.

Tips to Help Burst Your MG Isolation Bubble

Tips to Help Burst Your MG Isolation Bubble

Try these ideas to help combat feelings of loneliness.