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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Stress/Anxiety & MS


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Profile photo of Ashley Ringstaff
Now, I don’t know about everyone else… but prior to my diagnosis, I didn’t feel nearly as ‘overwhelmed’ as I do now. Life in general is stressful, of course… family, friends, work… it all can lead to stress at some point. So what’s the big difference with how ‘normal people’ are stressed out… and when an MS patient is stressed out/has anxiety? Well, I’m going to share my 2 cents on that.
So, let me just say that I don’t deal with heavy stress/anxiety 24/7, but at times it can feel like I do. Now, what the big difference in being stressed having a chronic illness, like MS…. And being stressed out while being ‘healthy’, so to say.
When I was first diagnosed, I was told that there are certain ‘triggers’ for MS that can make your MS flare-up and/or make your symptoms worse. Those three triggers I was told were: Extreme Heat, Extreme Cold, and Extreme Stress… When I first heard this, I was like “Great… I live in Central Texas and I’m a mother of two boys…” Now I said that in a joking matter, because I didn’t fully understand just how much stress could affect my symptoms, etc. Click here for a list of triggers. They are different from what I stated, but wanted to share.
What I’ve noticed is that when I deal with ‘extreme heat’ it also causes ‘extreme stress’ for me, so I’m dealing with two of the ‘triggers’ at once. I know there are things out there to help with stress/anxiety and I have been prescribed medication to take if needed, but I’m already on SO MUCH medicine, why would I want to take MORE?
So, back to what I was saying… I’m thinking to myself, okay I need to avoid those extremes, obviously… but I didn’t know how much more ‘sensitive’ I would be to those factors as well. It seems that now a days, I become stressed easily, compared to like 10 years ago… I get that it comes with life, but it’s hard to explain. I feel like I have NO CONTROL over my stress/anxiety at times, and when I get like that, it’s hard to think clearly to calm myself down.

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