Is exercise cardio making my anxiety worse?

Hi all

i have been trying to carry on as normal this week as I would before I was diagnosed 5 weeks ago with remitting MS. I did a bit of running 8 x 1 minute runs ( usually could do 8k a few months ago) and I did 22 mile bike ride this morning. Feel horrendous this afternoon, like my adrenaline is running wild, every sense in my body is tingling, and my insides feel like they are trembling, really hard to sit still, lie down and relax. I thought exercise is suppose to help anxiety?

My feet and tongue feel tingly too.

Anyone else had this problem, I’m so tired , it’s making me low in mood, GP says take Diazepam to relax but I’m reluctant as that’s an artificial way to relax and I can’t take them forever, mental health team won’t see me till the 17th December, what can I do ? It’s been 5 weeks now, what ever I do doesn’t seem to work . I have lost a stone in weight in 5 weeks, Trying to stay positive but when I feel like this it’s really hard. I’ve been taking Kalms for a week but not sure they are helping.

How would you expect to be feeling, 5 weeks after getting a life-changing dx of a chronic progressive neurological disorder? I’m not trying to be funny, it’s a serious question. If you’re feeling rubbish just now, I honestly don’t think you need to look far for the explanation, but I definitely do think that you need to lower your expectations in terms of your wellbeing levels and mood at the moment. Please give yourself permission to feel bad and under the weather and maybe a bit at sea and out of control. That is all perfectly normal and part of the path to processing some very unwelcome news. The good news is that you will not always feel like this. We are resilient creatures, and better than we think at folding unwelcome change into our lives over time and making good lives for ourselves. It does take time and patience, but you will get there - take heart. Alison

Thank you Alison, I am naturally hard on myself always have been, I know it’s early days. Just really eager to get my old self back. My husband keeps saying he just wants me better and my old self back. I feel a bit of a burden on him at the moment. Tomorrow is the first day I will be on my own at home in the last 4 weeks. I think both myself and my husband are going through a denial moment, about the whole thing. I posted a positive message this morning as I was really looking forward to getting back on my bike, but disappointed it made me feel worse.

. Hopefully when I start CBT therapy that will help, I see someone from work on Friday, and then mental health late December.

I really appreciate this forum , and all your messages x

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calm down! you’ve had a life-changing diagnosis to contend with and it takes TIME to get to grips with it. Why exactly are you starting CBT therapy and seeing mental health? My guess is that you are probably doing exactly what you were doing six weeks ago before dx. If you’re cycling 22 miles then you’re hardly a burden on your husband. Aim to do what you have always done - if the m.s. restricts doing somethings or causes difficulties then that’s the nature of the beast.

Hi cracowian, Since diagnosis I’ve been suffering with anxiety and no sleep, so GP put me on Fluoxetine which after 2 weeks made me worse,panicky attack’s, very depressed which I wasn’t before I touched the Fluoxetine, so had to go cold turkey that was 3 weeks ago, still using sleep pills to sleep about 4 hrs, but nothing for day unless desperate , then use diazepam. Last used 2 weeks ago,

Cbt suppose to help me with anxiety, also mental health referral to deal with anxiety but appointment still 3 weeks away,

think I have just pushed it too much today

Hi sop

Exercise does help with anxiety. But doing too much exercise, as it sounds like you have done, is simply going to make you feel worse. Lowering your expectations of how much you can do may be hard to do emotionally, but it would be good for your body (and therefore your emotions). I think you’re right when you say you think you’re in denial. And that’s a very normal thing to do. The idea that life may change is a scary, so of course you want to pretend it isn’t happening. I was like that, avoiding anything that reminded me about MS. Give it time. Come on here as much as you need to, to ask questions or just generally offload what you’re feeling. We understand, and will gladly offer up advice or just a (virtual) listening ear.


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I think alison made a great post to you.

the other thing. You need to learn about your MS, what is right for it and how things you do can put it on tilter.

OK exercise can make you warm RIGHT? It raises the core body temperature. with MS any raise in core body temp can actually give you almost a pseudo exacerbation of your symptoms, that is not a relapse but an exacerbation. It can last a few minutes or all day. cos by then you are worked up and stressed about why after exercise you feel poopy.

If i have a shower now its takes me 2 DAYS to get over it.

Heat and MS do not go down very well. It doesnt affect everyone but it does affect a lot of us.

so yes running can make you feel rubbish. Your husband is the one actually putting pressure on you. Shock of a life changing illness is like being hit by the loss of a love one, it takes time and lots of patience.

He needs to treat you how you were before you found out you have MS. you havent changed a bit. why should you?

the only thing that has changed is your body needs a bit more consideration and attention, and it means you need to learn about how your MS affects your body, and so does your hubby.

do not feel disappointed about the bike ride. Just dont over do it. little steps. it will make you feel worse its the nature of the beast, but once you cool down it will be normal again.

this article explains exercise really well, i would let your hubby read it too.

stop being so hard on yourself.

Like I said you need to learn what your body now needs. its kind of trail and error.

hugs again, remember tiny steps, listen to your body. xxxx

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Thanks Dan, yeh finding the adjustments really hard, appreciate your reply and it’s good to know I have somewhere I can air my worries. Hopefully I can repay the advice when I’m in a better place for someone else in the future

Morning crazy chick

thankyou I have just read the link you sent. I didn’t realise about the heat and body temperature, makes sense as I have always preferred to be cold than hot. Yeh thinking running and 22 mile bike ride right now not a good idea. I’m going to stick to walking the dog, maybe a few lengths in the pool at the gym, or maybe yoga ? Heard that’s good for strength.

I think we’re trying to fast to get back to how we were , and I’ve just got to except it’s going to take a while.

Hope you are doing ok and still enjoying filming your wildlife in your garden. A bet that hedgehog is the best fed in your area.

Exercise definitely makes my MS symptoms feel worse.

My problem is that I dont like to give in to the MS, so I stupidly push myself beyond the limit that I should of stopped at, so I then hit what I call my “crash point”, basically its the point where the MS is the winner .

I get off my exercise bike and literally cannot lift my foot to walk sometimes.

Thing is I feel that if I do less than I used to, not just with exercise, but with all aspects of my daily life, I worry that if I reduce my levels that I can sort of comfortably achieve I will stay at that level, or reduce even more if that makes sense.

The other day I decided to wash the car, something I used to do twice a week for donkeys years.

Clearly this particular day, within 10 minutes it was obvious it was going to be a struggle, 2 hours later I was literally crawling on the road (out of site) trying to finish cleaning the bloody wheel, I just would not give in.

Another hour later all done, just over 3 hours to wash 1 car.

Eventually when I had finished I took me almost another hour just trying to roll up the hose and put the washing stuff away.

I had to throw all the buckets, shampoo ect down the steps leading to my shed and go down the steps on my bum.

My wife had come out to check on me and offer help more times than I can remember, but I insisted I would get the job done myself.

Thinking back it was a daft thing to do, but that’s how I try to"stand up" to this MS .

I often think, should we pushing ourselves or does pushing yourself do more long term damage ?

Soon after dx, I was sent to a little ‘welcome to MS’ talk (I jest - that isn’t what it was called exactly, but I can’t remember what it was called) by a psychologist at our local hospital. She drew a graph for us, and it concerned MS and stress. The basic message is that, without MS, we are normally pretty OK at dealing with life’s ups and downs. We have the capacity to deal with most things with ease and grace within our stress budget. Occasionally something really bad or alarming will happen, and we break the stress budget and go into panic mode before things return to normal. Then along comes MS (or similar). Suddenly our baseline stress levels are way higher and our capacity for managing other stressors is thus reduced. Suddenly life’s normal ups and downs bust right through our our stress budget and send us into a tailspin, even if we are normally the sort of person who takes things in her stride. I found this to be completely true for me. Over time, MS’s constant increase to baseline stress will diminish (although it will have plenty of ups and downs - big ones - of its own, I’m afraid.) But I did want to reassure you that the anxiety you are feeling, and the stress response you are experiencing is absolutely normal in the early post-dx days and maybe for a while to come.


p.s. Insomnia, which is a total pisser as I well know, believe you me, is totally part of all this, I’m afraid. I hope you start to sleep better soon. It makes all the difference.

glad you found it useful. No running before you can walk lol. You will get there just remember tiny steps.

Heres a giggle for you. Little hedgehog scares himself, oops a daisy lol.

Aw he’s getting right stuck into that food, loving it x

Thanks Alison xx

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Hi jactac

You sound like you are like me, great determination, not giving up, which is a good thing, shows we are fighters . But yes also agree probably need to find a limit and not to push so hard.