By Amanda Michelle Steiner
January 20, 2016 at 01:49 PM EST
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Former Sopranos star Jamie-Lynn Sigler is opening up about her multiple sclerosis diagnosis, which she received when she was just 20 years old. 

Now 34, the actress tells People in an exclusive interview she no longer wanted to “hold a secret,” adding that the disease, which damages the central nervous system, is nothing to be ashamed of and she didn’t want to act like she had “something to hide.”

“It’s part of who I am; it’s not who I am,” she added.

Sigler, who recently wed pro baseball player Cutter Dykstra, hopes that being open about her diagnosis will give other people living with the disease “hope that it’s not the end”; she also aims to change people’s perceptions of what the disease means. Upon her own diagnosis, Sigler “thought it meant wheelchair. I thought it meant your life was over. And so there began my almost 15 years of being in denial or not accepting that it was something that was part of my life.” Now, she says, “I want to live my truth.”

For more from Sigler, head to People. And for more on living with MS and to contribute to the fight against the disease, visit The National Multiple Sclerosis Society.