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Extremely scared

Hi,

I was at the opticians yesterday to get new glasses. As the optician was doing the eye tests he said that he wanted to take another picture of both my eyes. After the second picture he said that the margin around my left eye was blurry compared to the right eye. This got me scared as he gave me an emergency referral to the eye doctors and told me to go straight away. When I got there the optometrist said that there was swelling in my optic nerve in my left eye. I was panicking like crazy and asked him about MS 6 times in one sentence. He told me to calm down and that he is quite confident it is not that as I have no symptoms of optic neuritis. He has referred me for an MRI in a few days just to have a look. I received a call from the neurologist today who also told me that it was unlikely to be MS but both of them told me they can never say 100% without a scan. I am so scared as I was already quite worried about MS even though I did not have much to go on. Leg aches which I was told was sciatica due to my ongoing back pains and also an achy arm which I am unsure what the cause of is but the bones keep clicking inside it. I am petrified and feel that my life is at a stand still until the MRI which I do not even want to do out of fear. I know none of you can diagnose anything but is the optometrist and neurologist right in saying it is unlikely to be MS? If that is the case I will be so happy but really shocked as this would be a massive coincidence. I cannot believe I am having to go through this as I am a only 20 years old. Male. My sister has said that by worrying about all these things I am giving myself the symptoms. But could I really have given my self optic nerve swelling? Both doctors had to calm me down as I was panicking like crazy when they told me what it was even though they both said it was really unlikely without the common symptoms of optic neuritis. Also, a GP doctor back in September also told me I am unlikely to have MS since she tested my strength, eyes and walking. What if the ON just isn’t showing symptoms yet?

Thanks for reading,
Nathanial

The first thing, Nathanial, is to just breathe. Slow, steady, in and out.

Now, most of the people I’ve known with any sort of eye trouble don’t have MS. I do have MS, but other than occasional blurring, I don’t have eye trouble.

I don’t know anything about swollen eyes, but the doctors would have told you if this was something to be afraid of. Just try to be patient and wait for the tests, then go from there.

I agree with your sister to a certain extent. When you panic over a specific symptom, you start imagining all kinds of horrible things. Just stop it. Breathe steadily and think happy thoughts. Do you have anyone who can give you a hug or hold you for a while? I understand being scared, but you can do this.

Thank you for replying. I am trying to remain calm but after getting over my fear that my symptoms could be MS I was faced with this yesterday. I am sure my sister was only trying to help but I have to face the facts that there is swelling. The only thing that has given me the slightest relief is that both the optometrist and neurologist told me if it was optic neuritis that I would have symptoms in the eye such as blurring, pain or vision problems. I have none of that but what if that’s just because it has only started. Oh and yeah I have my family supporting me through this.

I think it’s the middle of the night there now, so sometime tomorrow, why don’t you curl up next to mum and let her know how scared you are and just let her hold you like she did when you were little. Or whichever relative provided you the most comfort when you were small. I still ask my children for hugs when I’m feeling down, and it really does help.

And keep writing to this forum if it makes you feel better. Staying relaxed and comfortable right now is important.

My MS started with optic neuritis and you were right in the last part…it comes with blurry vision, severe pain in the eye and sensitivity to light. However, I would recommend getting the necessary tests for your peace of mind especially that a lot of diseases and disorders today are caused by stress alone and you don’t want that :slight_smile:

Easy for me to say I know, but if you can, just take things one step at a time and don’t think too far ahead. Have the MRI scan and wait for the results. Take someone with you for emotional support to your first doctor’s or neurologist appointment following the MRI scan, preferably someone in your Covid bubble.

There’s really nothing to be gained from worrying in the meantime. Try to put it out of your mind, and get on with enjoying your life. Make the most of your family and friends.

Having MS is not the end of the world, although everyone feels that way when first diagnosed. There’s lots of support for people with MS out there, including social groups for young people like yourself.

Anyway, you might not even have MS, so don’t make decisions based on inadequate or incomplete information.

Best wishes,

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Sisters, eh? She’s not entirely wrong, though: we are all capable of manifesting anxiety in concrete physical ways that are only ‘all in the mind’ in the sense that everything related to the central nervous system - in other words absolutely everything - is all in the mind.

My guess is that this is not the first time you have found yourself in a state of painful anxiety. If you have tricks in your armoury to manage anxious thoughts and a racing mind now’s the time to deploy them. Easier said than done, I know.

Of course, your sister is not the only one who’s right: you are too. As far as I know, one does not worry oneself into having trouble with the optic nerves. So please don’t think that I’m saying this is all in your head, meaningless as that phrase is at the best of times. There’s something odd going on, and you need to find out what, and whether it is something that needs attention. And that is what you are doing. The wheels are in motion. What you need to do now, I think, is to step back a little bit if you can and let the process play itself out. No amount of worrying on your part is going to make a scrap of difference to the outcome. I sometimes think that the worriers among us (myself included) have at heart a superstitious belief that if we just worry enough, that will make it OK. I hope very much that it will be OK for you, but you worrying isn’t going to make it so, and you know that as well as I do. I am very sorry that you are having a rotten time. Good luck with the tests.
Alison

Hello

I thought I would just add that I was frightened of having an MRI scan but now I have had quite a few it’s no big deal. I just close my eyes once I am lying down and only open them again once I feel the machine sliding me back out.

It is noisy but you are quite safe and although you can’t see the staff they are there. They will talk to you between scans and if there is a long silence just trust they are there doing their job. What I really recommend is before you go imagine where your most safe and happy place is to be. Then you can go there in your head while they are doing the scans. You will find your mind is amazingly powerful and if you tell it you are fine and it’s all ok it will do the rest in terms of slowing your breathing and keeping you calm.

You can do it.

Good advice. Also, most MRI machines are set up to play music to you through the ear defenders you need to wear. Soothing, calming music is best, not pop or rock.

It sounds like you have had a fair fright.

I’m curious, as to why you would think it was MS from the off? Not being mean, I had no idea what my symptoms meant and even after I had my first 3 scans, right up until the Neurologist brought up MS.

Is there something making you fear this? It’s not too scary, honetly be kind to yourself and work through the tests and process as calmly as you can. It might just be a blip, lots of things can affect your vision and MS isn’t always a big bad beast, if that’s what it is.

If MS is suspected it will take a while and quote a few tests to determine, relax and take in the information from the specialists. Ask them to break it down into stages for you.

I hope you feel better soon.

Thank you for the update - that’s great news.
A
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You are actually very scared. You should not worry so much about everything, especially when you dont know the results. This summer, I was also very worried about everything important and unimportant and it had a very bad effect on my health. I often got sick, had a headache, was not in the mood. I read about good ways to deal with this. I tried not to worry because it wouldnt change anything, I regularly did sports that distracted me from problems and I also took antidepressants (it`s all I read on Canadian pharmacy ). Now my life has become simpler and I become happier