BBC's Caroline Wyatt: My faith helps me through MS


Caroline Wyatt, who recently left her role as the BBC's religious affairs correspondent due to a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, has talked openly about how her faith and the prayers of others are helping her through the illness.

In an interview with the Radio Times, she talked of coming to terms with the illness, and how she is remaining positive in the face of increased disability. "It is what it is. I am not angry, and I don't want bitterness to start eating away at me. I don't know what the future holds, but I am determined to make the most of my life.

"I have had moments of incredible doubt, but I do still have a faith. Has it helped? Yes. This is not something you can deal with on your own and I have been so touched and so overwhelmed by the number of people who have said they're praying for me and thinking of me. And that really helps."

Caroline is taking a break from the BBC, but hopes to be back reporting on the canonisation of Mother Theresa later in the year, and to take a more studio-based role in radio in the future.

She talked about her shock at falling over in the street recently, and how the illness has attacked her vision and her balance. She has had symptoms such as numbness for some 25 years, though she only received an official diagnosis last year.

In fact her condition had been treated as chronic fatigue, which is what prompted her to leave her role as a defence correspondent for the BBC to move to religious affairs in 2014.

Though her time spent reporting in war zones meant facing death regularly, she says that the slow progressive disease of MS evokes a different kind of fear than that faced in war. "It's less terrifying to me to think of being blown up and dying than to think, 'Gosh, I might decline slowly day by day, losing a little bit of capability every day.' And where will I end up? Will I end up in a wheelchair, unable to walk, unable to do all the things I love?"

She does, however, have a positive attitude to her difficulties, and is seeking to learn from the experience. "I have quite an optimistic disposition. I always hope for the best but if the worst happens, just deal with it. But I realise now that I did live incredibly selfishly. I pursued my career because it was interesting. I wasn't there for my ex-boyfriend's birthday. I wasn't there for Christmasses and many other significant events. It's made me realise that the really, really important things are your family and your close friends, so to a large degree it is reshaping my view of what really matters."

She also discussed her childhood. She was adopted from the care of nuns because her mother's family was staunchly Catholic and the parents didn't feel ready for parenthood. However when she returned to Australia to try to find her birth parents, her reconciliation with them ended up in the parents' reconciling too, and they were married within a few years, with their daughter as a bridesmaid. "They absolutely adored each other, so it was lovely to see them back together again and married."