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carrie
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« on: April 24, 2013, 02:33:26 AM »

I am finding it increasingly fascinating the reaction of my mind and body to stress, in recent weeks for one reason or another I have been under a great deal of emotional and physical stress and in response I have had bug after bug,my migraines have flared, my ME has flared to the point I am struggling to function, today I went to the supermarket and could barely lift my poor feet off the floor, I went to a friends for a chat and by the time I left, although exhausted I felt less unwell and more positive, seeing friends and family always makes me feel better and i feel it is as it is a distraction from what  stresses me,

 i rarely go into any detail with the about how I am feeling and how unwell I am as it makes no difference and is just liable to bring them down, so it is almost like a different world outside my own, one where pain, fatigue and illness is left  at home and the old carrie perks back up. DOnt get me wrong, it is short lived but this is the reason i will push to go out even when feeling very unwell as that little window of normality lifts my mood and is a welcome break from the crap.

 So I have been searching more and more for the reactions of the body to both emotional and physical  stress and, as I thought, it affects many diseases, my mum has severe rheumatoid arthritis and when she is stressed it flares terribly,my  father had heart disease which is renowned to be related to stress ( as well as his love for anything processed/fried/ or even better both) cholesterol levels  re effected by stress, mine shot through the roof at a time i was under a great deal of stress and dropped back to a reasonable level once I had got myself back together. Cancers can be irratated/triggered by stress and when people mention stress they automatically think of emotional stress but in my opinion emotional and physical stress are closely entwined and cant be separated,

 i am sure there is not one of us who doesnt think at times, I wish I didnt have this damned illness as I would love to be able to do..... what ever it is you want, this is the illness causing stress which in turn can make the condition worse, forgive me for putting it this way, but if we sit and wallow we feel worse, obviously pacing is important but sitting with a woe is me attitude, which i am more than guilty of at times makes the whole thing flare and i feel even worse, hence the going out takes me feel better as it takes my mind off me and how I feel.

I was very ill mentally before falling ill with ME and had just moved from Chester back to blackpool living in supported accommodation with a charity that helps people suffering from mental health difficulties, i met my now husband, lost a load of weight, my father took ill with dementia and over the years to be honest it has been one stress after another, so my theory is that if I had lived in a state of severe mental distress for a number of  years, I weakened my immune system and my bodies ability to deal with the strains of life, started to recover which opened up a whole new load of stressors, not all of them bad and as my mind  started to recover and I didnt need the fight or flight response constantly my body  started to shut down showing the effects of 20 years of stress. on a basically abused body and mind.

 I feel it is a physical response to  stress that i have absolutely no control over and wont be fixed by anti depressannts but I feel there must be a way to rebuild the body to deal with stress again, I mention physical stress as I have put my body through hell and is a minor miracle I am still in one piece wth all my organs intact so that put major physicalstress on an already emotionally stressed system, I still get major adrenalin kicks where I feel agitated and restless and my mind races and I go on little missions to take on the world and its army,that i am super woman and can do what ever I want, I feel the adrenalin surging through me, then the inevitable crash happens as yet I cant find how to control these adrenalin  surges as they can be completely random, usually triggered by a period of physical stress such as a bug.virus or lack of sleep or emotional/psychological stress

I have tried a number of different supplements and the one that made the most difference to me so far was the Co Q 10, it seemed to increase my stamina, reduce the adrenalin rushes and improve my immune response, sadly At this time I cant afford to buy the ones of the quality I believe is needed/

I dont know what other supplements and medication would help, but this i something I aim on researching further as I get to understand more of the physical responses in the body to stress. whether stress was a cause or not I havent a clue and dont really worry about as cause or  effect the reaction on my body is the same and needs dealing with, but I do feel it exagerates my symptoms and prolongs periods of illness below is some info I found on physical responses to stress that i found straight forward and easy to understand

Mind/body health: Stress http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress.aspx

We've probably all felt stress. Sometimes it's brief and highly situational, like being in heavy traffic. Other times, it's more persistent and complex—relationship problems, an ailing family member, a spouse's death. And sometimes, stress can motivate us to accomplish certain tasks.
Dangerous Stress

Stress becomes dangerous when it interferes with your ability to live a normal life for an extended period of time. You may feel "out of control" and have no idea of what to do, even if the cause is relatively minor. This in turn, may cause you to feel continually fatigued, unable to concentrate, or irritable in otherwise relaxed situations. Prolonged stress may also compound any emotional problems stemming from sudden events such traumatic experiences in your past, and increase thoughts of suicide.
Natural reactions

Stress can also affect your physical health because of the human body's built-in response mechanisms. You may have found yourself sweating at the thought of an important date, or felt your heartbeat pick up while watching a scary movie. These reactions are caused by hormones that scientists believe helped our ancestors cope with the threats and uncertainties of their world.

If the cause of your stress is temporary, the physical effects are usually short-term as well. In one study, the pressure of taking exams led to increased severity of acne among college students, regardless of how they ate or slept. The condition diminished after exams were over. Abdominal pain and irregularity have also been linked to situational stress.

The longer your mind feels stressed, however, the longer your physical reaction systems remain activated. This can lead to more serious health issues.
Physical wear and tear

The old saying that stress "ages" a person faster than normal was recently verified in a study of women who had spent many years caring for severely ill and disabled children. Because their bodies were no longer able to fully regenerate blood cells, these women were found to be physically a decade older than their chronological age.

Extended reactions to stress can alter the body's immune system in ways that are associated with other "aging" conditions such as frailty, functional decline, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, inflammatory arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.

Research also suggests that stress impairs the brain's ability to block certain toxins and other large, potentially harmful molecules. This condition is also common to patients suffering from Alzheimer's Disease.
Pressure points

Although sudden emotional stress has been linked to severe heart dysfunction in otherwise healthy people, scientists are uncertain whether chronic stress alone causes cardiovascular disease. What is clear is that excessive stress can worsen existing risk factors such as hypertension and high cholesterol levels. Studies also show that people who are quick to anger or who display frequent hostility—a behavior common to those under stress—have an increased risk of heart disease and crying fits.

Feelings of despair that accompany stress can easily worsen into chronic depression, a condition that can lead you to neglect good diet and activity habits. This, in turn, can put you at a greater risk for heart disease, obesity, and kidney dysfunction.

Stress can also complicate your ability to recover from a serious illness. A Swedish study found that women who have suffered heart attacks tend to have poorer chances of recovery if they are also experiencing marital stressors such as infidelity, alcohol abuse, and a spouse's physical or psychiatric illness. On the other hand, stress management training is a proven method for helping speed recovery follow a heart attack.
What you can do

Learning to deal with stress effectively is a worthwhile effort, even if you already consider yourself capable of handling anything life sends your way.

Many of the most common long-term stressors—family illness, recovery after injury, career pressures—often arise without warning and simultaneously. Stress management is particularly valuable if your family has a history of hypertension and other forms of heart disease.

Identify the cause.You may find that your stress arises from something that's easy to correct. A psychologist can help you define and analyze these stressors, and develop action plans for dealing with them.

Monitor your moods. If you feel stressed during the day, write down what caused it along your thoughts and moods. Again, you may find the cause to be less serious than you first thought.

Make time for yourself at least two or three times a week. Even ten minutes a day of "personal time" can help refresh your mental outlook and slow down your body's stress response systems. Turn off the phone, spend time alone in your room, exercise, or meditate to your favorite music.

Walk away when you're angry.Before you react, take time to mentally regroup by counting to 10. Then look at the situation again. Walking or other physical activities will also help you work off steam.

Analyze your schedule. Assess your priorities and delegate whatever tasks you can (e.g., order out dinner after a busy day, share household responsibilities). Eliminate tasks that are "shoulds" but not "musts."

Set reasonable standards for yourself and others. Don't expect perfection.
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soozieq
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M.E/CFS/FIBRO


« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2013, 09:47:33 PM »

 s_hi Carrie
Excellent post, I totally agree  thumbsup

Sooz xxx
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One day at a time....all I can manage
Anttas
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2013, 06:56:28 AM »

Briliiant post Carrie, i definitely feel that prolonged stress set me up for CFS, and though i am recovering, stress is still the thing that will knock me over again.  At one stage i though CoQ10 was THE answer, but it seemed to do less for me over time, i found that one tablet every week or 2 seemed to give me as much as 1 /day.  Everything is so expensive i always try to optimise my supplementing. 

Restoring cellular energy production has always been my issue, and the silver bullet for me over the last 6 years has been NADH (Mojo 20mg) sublingual, and i take as many tablets as i need to before i feel it kick in. 1 Coffee which used to anhilate me, now also seems to help me get the most out of my NADH by (according to Newscientist) kick starting the cyclic AMP pathway which leads to ATP synthesis.

Other things which helped a bit along the way were: Glutothiomine, minerals meant to make up for poor Australian soils.

Managing stress is such an important aspect of management..i got very efficient at ending stressful discussions, minimising my news intake, screening my clients, and avoiding vampires.  I am currently trying to unlearn some of my more abrupt ways of killing a conversation.
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CHY
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2013, 12:08:37 PM »

Thanks Carrie and perfect timing!  clap

My daughter has been suffering an increase in some of her symptoms over the last few months.

Our GP sent her for general blood tests to cover the usual basics and all is fine. He said that its likely to be the effects of anxiety, which tendency she has unfortunately inherited from me.

He is referring her for counselling to try and find some advice and support to help her find some effective managing strategies. 
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Emmaxxx
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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2014, 09:31:22 AM »

After recently having the most stressful start to this year followed by stress and after stress, its really knocked me off my feet. To be honest, I thought I was going a bit crazy thinking that just stress can do this to me. So glad I came across this post :-)

I'm not sure if you mentioned it above as I wasn't able to read it all, but I'm curious to know what chemicals are set off with stress that would interact this way with illnesses to cause them to worsen. I've looked up the physical symptoms of stress before but was left thinking that such small physical symptoms weren't enough to cause me the set backs I have with stress. The mental symptoms are mostly symptoms I've coped with since before developing CFS so I don't see them as being so relevant either given that I can cope with the mental side of stress.

I'm not sure if this makes sense but I'll give it ago... I've read somewhere before that for some reason unknown people who suffer from CFS have generally suffered from panic attacks in their life at some point, which obviously is the fight or flight response which again is related to stress on the body physically and mentally. So with that in mind there must be a deeper connection to how stress effects us and effects different illnesses.
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impalpable77
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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2014, 10:38:43 AM »

Well one chemical is definitely adrenaline.  Released to allow you to fight or fly.  This would explain some symptoms because you hear of people with M.E managing to get through one busy day on adrenaline but then they can't do  anything for a week or a month afterwards. Not sure if it's the adrenaline itself or that the adrenaline allows you to do more.  It explains why with M.E 'uppers' aren't effective.  Where as in fatigue caused by cancer for example 'uppers' are effective.  Another one is cortisol which is kind of sugar based.  Again you see people with M.E not tolerating high sugar diets.  Is it the sugar it self or because it gives you a false sense of energy.

Apart from the chemicals stress is exhausting.  Mentally  tasks cause physical tiredness- stress makes you try to problem solve, think things through and I know I can't do complex (or even easy) maths which I previously found easy.  Physically (which you mention) stress often involves conflict arguments raised voices.  I'm exhausted having nice conversations.  Add complex thinking, having to listen carefully and the energy of having to raise you voice  I know when I'm stressed I'm tense and my sleep is worse than usual.  Two things that add to pain and fatigue.

Just some ideas - I'm not sure if these are the answers but they make sense to me.

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Emmaxxx
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« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2014, 02:10:46 PM »

As much as I spend my time thinking (or rather stressing about things I have no control over), I would have never thought of it in such a simple way...

... to think that stress can be caused by how we feel from the most simplest things, so the more complex things probably cause more stress than what we take into account, at least what I take into account. I know stress is always a big factor in my relapses and bad days, whether its from pushing myself too hard or from over thinking something to the point it starts my headaches of.

The part that leaves me more curious is that I use to thrive on stress and see it as a challenge which I enjoyed overcoming, with work or with any other aspect of my life. But I guess now my body is too tired to see it that way anymore, which adding more exhausting reactions/emotions that cause stress only adds to the scale of how bad the symptoms are.

Its a shame more accurate research isn't put into finding out the cause of CFS because knowing that might help with understanding how the brain receptors works in accordance to the symptoms of CFS might lead to a medication that works better overall to control the symptoms.

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