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Trauma/stress

Hi for anyone diagnosed do you feel that your ms symptoms first appeared after a traumatic or stressful event or does your symptoms get significantly after trauma or stress

my diagnosis came in a relatively calm period of my life.

however i totally agree that stress makes the symptoms worse.

carole x

No question about it, stress & trauma definitely makes my symptoms much, much worse and I often wonder whether one of the things that made me became a MSer was because of stress. Desperately try to be cool and calm but not easy. Keeping mentally occupied and having a chuckle helps so much. Lucky not to have Brain Fog (I don’t think!!) but find the Brain Fog thread so therapeutic - thank you all! xxx

Hi

I wasn’t diagnosed after a stressful event (it was after I got an injury, which I think can be common). But I find stress does make me feel weaker, and that is very common with MS. So if I find myself in a stressful experience, I make an effort to stay calm (mindfulness meditation is helpful for that).

Dan

This thing first raised its ugly head after an incredibly stressful time when I was trying to finish my History degree (6 years part time with the Open University) whilst working full time, and then moving house just before my final exams (not my idea!)… Should’ve been glad I got my degree at all, didn’t do as well as I had hoped but was so relieved I’d finished, didn’t really care that I came out with a 2:1 rather than the First I was on course for! I don’t know if they’re connected, but if this is what stress does, you can keep it! Can’t cope with it any more… used to thrive on it and really only started studying properly once the Fear kicked in - assignments due - can’t do it now!

Well done on your degree Anonymous! I have to admit that my attitude to all aspects of ‘stress’ has changed since being diagnosed. Came upon a book by Gabor Mate MD “When the Body says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress” which apart from being fascinating, an awful lot of the content I also found related to me and my past. Certainly made me think and wonder.

I have read this idea before and i do wonder if my wife’s Ms could be linked to trauma and then a long and stressful period following it.Guess we will never know for sure. Long story so sorry for that in advance! * Injury at work Nov 2015 working as a carer when a service user fell onto her causing lower back pain and shoulder pain,with hindsight foolishly worked on in pain self medicating for a month before became impossible and finally went sick.Feels guilt(causing slight stress?!)both from a letting down colleagues and also massively from not being able to do any care for our daughter who is completely wheelchair dependant with CP.And that i am now doing all housework etc despite working full time(i dont mind and am not making her feel guilty) *3 months later(from going sick)and still signed off,having had physio stopped due to physio wanting guidance and neck scans etc,as scans on shoulder etc showed nothing.Old supportive manager is promoted.New manager with no people skills and seemingly encouraged by getting away with sacking someone else on long term sickness despite clearly not knowing how to follow company hr procedures comes in,and phones my wife asking her in for a chat the next working day!After being pushed revealing her intention to get my wife to agree dismissal for medical incapabilty " if you sign we can get it done quickly and without fuss!" She reluctantly agrees to meeting. I get home from work to find her in tears on sofa. I tell her she isn’t going as this is a discliplinary meeting which requires 2 working days notice in writing and must be informed of right of accompianament(union rep or colleague),after consoling her i phone a good friend who is a senior union rep(she joined her union too late and they wont really help) for advice.Which sets us off on a Diy fight against her employer for about 6 months,initially really just trying to delay in the hope she would get a proper diagnosis and treatment and could get back to work at a job she loved!Eventually it was clear this wasn’t going to happen quickly enough and became about accrueing as much holiday pays as possible as sick pay had stopped.This may be a long paragraph but believe me i have tried to make brief,diagnosed as neck damage to spine and nerves by mri during this period,this was Was a very stressful time for us both for whole 6 months. *After sick pay stopped Applied for esa but then in september 16 (just before being sacked) assesment attended and a completely inaccurate (lies or incompetence??)report allows DWP to stop this,Sets us off on the appeal process.Lots of stress due to potential money worries etc all whist still unable to do much due to injury which is still not getting any better!I notice my wife occasionaly having little stumbles around this time but we put it down to dopeyness from painkillers.(We eventually win tribunal against DWP decision a few months ago) * MARCH 17 Wife has been hiding slight symptoms from me but suddenly wakes up as if she had a stroke with pretty much the whole of one side being numb inc face etc which starts the ms investigations! I am proud of how we dealt with her employers and i did it with very good intentions to support my wife and got everthing owed and that we fought the DWP etc but i do feel some guilt that it would have created a huge amount of extra stress which i pushed her into(i didn’t like her being bullied!) and that its very possible i have contributed to her condition now!

Stress doesn’t alter my MS symptoms at all. My stress levels are very high looking after Dee who is diagnosed with Dementia. When dealing with yes means no and vice versa but only sometimes I really don`t have time to think about how stress is playing a part with my MS. If anything, having my time occupied with Dee puts my MS on the back burner. If I only had MS to deal with, things would probably be totally different.

0173, I’m feeling so cross on behalf of both you and your wife. You’ve both been through so much which seems to have started with a work injury. Please, please look after yourself - absolutely none of this is your fault. Historically (forever) I’ve bottled ‘stuff’ up rather than sharing so inadvertently caused myself even more stress. No longer! I offload ‘stuff’ by talking to whichever friend or family member is most suitable, they know I’m not expecting them to solve issues for me or to actually do anything but that a quick chat helps me. Job done!

Scudger, so sorry to hear about Dee and suspect you’re correct which is why I do the above and try to keep busy not thinking about ‘stuff’ and concentrate on doing non-MS related things instead.

I can’t beat MS but it’s not going to beat me.

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When I was about thirty I changed my job, moved home (twice) and my mother died of cancer in the same year. I had no ill effects at all.

Twenty five years later I became bankrupt, lost my home and my income, and developed optic neuritis and foot-drop. Within 18 months I was diagnosed with PPMS.

Define stress.

Anthony

I was really happy and pretty much stress free when I had my first MS attack at the age of 30. I was in a relationship, was happy, had a job that I didn’t mind doing, it wasn’t especially stressful. The symptoms and the tests were pretty stressful, but I got over that. Later I had really stressful times with work. I did a job which I loved but it was hard, all on my shoulders, and no relapses. I did have a few relapses over the initial 5 years, but none related to stress at all.

I was only diagnosed 5 years after the initial relapse. It was when I was settled in my job, living a good life, 6 months into a new relationship and a big relapse forced me back to the neurologist. Again, no major stress in my life.

In fact, the more stressful times have been periods when the MS has been pretty well behaved. My big bad relapses were always when I was happy and worry free.

And now I am SP, so I am happy that I don’t have to worry about relapses anymore. Given that my life is only stressful when the DWP get involved, I’d probably be plagued by relapses due to my calm, reasonably peaceful and happy life.

Sue

My two pence worth. Stress is a wird one. For me, sometimes ‘stress’ gives me a Boost (I don’t notice normal symptoms & I can function at pre ms speed) . Other ‘stress’ , my symptoms are exaggerated. It seems to be that ‘stresses I am ust to’. I can Chanel positively, but new or different ones I can’t.

Interesting subject. Apparently prolonged stress can weaken the autoimmune system - but what some think as stress others treat as a challenge. During a chatty moment with my Neuro a while back I told him about a very dangerous situation on the motorway and queried why it hadn’t made me feel ‘stressed’ and he said it was because I’m confident when I’m driving so unconsciously felt in control. Thought about his comment a lot and it made sense. With me it seems to be ‘stuff’ that is or was out of my control, and there’s been a lot. Trying to treat things as a challenge now instead.

P.S. Just because I said I’m confident doesn’t mean I’m a good driver!!!

That’s a really good point, marking the difference between stress that spurs you on to work harder, achieve more, and makes you feel in control against the worrying type of stress when you have no control over situations.

And it would seem likely that when people experience their MS flaring up as a result of stress, it would be the second type that might cause the problems rather than the first.

Sue