Stress and ms

I was recently (Sept 2013) diagnosed with relapsing remitting ms. It would be really helpful to understand from fellow ms sufferers how much stress affects you and symptoms and how it triggers exacerbations. I have an office-based job of ten years which has been a good job for many years but has been making me very stressed and frustrated for a range of reasons over the last couple of years. I am currently off with optic neuritis, my first relapse since diagnosis. I believe this relapse to have been triggered by a house move and stress at work. The house move is obviously not a continuous thing but the job is and I am very concerned about the impact it is having on my condition. Thanks.

hi otterian

yes i agree. stress up to my eyes before diagnosis.

i got medical retirement and i’m so glad of that.

i made it my mission to get rid of all causes of stress.

certain people caused me stress.

i noticed that whenever one of my husbands friends was around, i could feel that tension. so i now avoid him at all costs.

it’s a bit harsh to look at people like this but i have also noticed who makes me feel good.

i dont go out as much now so i make sure that the people i see are the ones who make me happy.

good luck with all the adjustments

carole x

I have a different experience. I don’t have (very) much stress in my life but my physical condition continues to get worse (I have recently started using a wheelchair). I try to have a positive outlook on life and to see the funny side of things if I can. I try not to take it too seriously when things go badly wrong. This all sounds very sick-making doesn’t it? I want to say, could you take your job less seriously? Just do your best and shrug if it doesn’t work? Maybe I’ll just leave it there - I’m sure you’ll get plenty of people telling you to get rid of the stressors in your life but there is another way to deal with the bad stuff - (and remember that everyone has bad stuff, whether they’ve got MS or not).

I think I’m between the two. I’ve never felt my relapses to be triggered by stress. If they were, there have been times of my life I definitely should have had one (terminal illness and death of a parent, for example), yet didn’t. Other times there was nothing out of the ordinary happening - no special stress. But I just had a relapse for no reason. So for me, relapses are a force of nature, like the weather. They don’t appear to be connected to anything I do, or have been going through. Symptoms, on the other hand, are a different matter. Any current or residual symptoms I do have will defintely get worse with stress. An example I’ve often quoted here is legs going weak, just because an over-pushy friend was trying to press me into going round to dinner, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. It wasn’t an unwanted romantic overture - not even as awkward or potentially stressful as that. Just somebody trying to be sociable, but not understanding I didn’t feel like it. His wife has MS too, so he above all people should have known. But I’m sure he had absolutely no idea a pushy dinner invitation was leaving me quaking. And I’m not usually someone who has any trouble saying what I want/don’t want. I think the problem was he was like a dog with a bone; just wouldn’t accept: “That’s really kind, but another time, perhaps”. I was caught between not wanting to offend him, and being forced into a social engagement I didn’t want to go to. An unwanted invitation is well down the stress scale, and something we all have to deal with from time to time, but I was getting in a terrible state! Tina

I have had relapses for ‘no reason’ but then one or two others which I feel have been triggered by ‘stress’. Or certainly exacerbated by the fact I’ve been run down - I guess in the same way that one might get a cold sore or mouth ulcer in that kind of situation I’m prone to ‘relapse’ or see a worsening of symptoms. I think it helps to allow yourself to rest and take yourself out of the situation as and when you can. Take care :slight_smile:

Some good comments. One thing I would add is that, when you have recently been dx with RRMS, relapses do have a tendency to happen, stress or no stress. So I would be careful about pinning the blame on this or that life event. Life tends to be a stressful business, and there is no avoiding that, and there risks in trying to. Above all, don’t start blaming yourself or others for your MS troubles. There isn’t one damn thing you or anyone can do about that! Alison