When Emotional Stress Translates into Worsened Health

How much do significant negative events affect your health?

  • Severe effect

    Votes: 16 64.0%
  • Moderate effect

    Votes: 7 28.0%
  • Somewhat effect

    Votes: 1 4.0%
  • No effect

    Votes: 1 4.0%

  • Total voters
    25

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
Jennie Spotila lost her mother almost three months ago and is grieving and still feeling the physical effects of that loss.
Grief is physical. I don’t mean in the stab-in-the-gut way when I miss her, although that happens too. I mean that I have not physically recovered from this loss. Mom died eleven weeks ago, and I am not back to Normal Shitty Baseline.* I am on the verge of crashing every day. I am not thinking clearly. My temper is short. I have trouble completing tasks and my memory is shot. I’m having trouble separating what is disease process and what is grief process. Even at Normal Shitty Baseline I have days when I can’t get out of bed or cook dinner or a thousand other basic things. What is normal in grief, when your normal is already shitty?
Three months later everything is more difficult, she has much more fatigue, she's crashing more...I remember hearing of a former airline pilot with ME/CFS who had done really well with the amygdala retraining program and Dr. Klimas's care. She got to the point where she was able to go out on long bike rides (!) but then an upsetting emotional situation caused to lose all her progress (!)

How much do emotional stressors affect your health? and how?
 

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
I notice alot of effects from minor stressors. Overall I think they're more important to my health.
It's takes a pretty strong stressor to knock me off my state of health but when it does - it happens, largely from poor sleep, pretty darn quickly. I tumble pretty fast, I guess, because my reserves are low.
 

AnneVA

Active Member
It can be a fun phone call with her brother or yesterday a puppy suddenly howling in her ear at work and startling her, something negative or worrisome. End result. Feels like she ran a marathon. Hard to get upstairs. Short of breath. High heart rate. Bad headache. Her autonomic system is so teetery, she just has wild swings over relatively simple things. It can take a few hours to recover. At 19, she opened up her own art studio and immediately crashed. Tried to work too many hours. stressed over the normal things in marketing, paying rent, etc. It took her a few months to recover and adapt her schedule but she ended up closing it up and is now working on art from home. "The secret of life is to reduce your worries to a minimum." She is learning to let things slide. She's made the connection that if she senses a situation that can or is starting to cause a reaction, she must back away emotionally from it and relax. The dread of the potential crash can cause a crash.
 

Issie

Well-Known Member
It can be a fun phone call with her brother or yesterday a puppy suddenly howling in her ear at work and startling her, something negative or worrisome. End result. Feels like she ran a marathon. Hard to get upstairs. Short of breath. High heart rate. Bad headache. Her autonomic system is so teetery, she just has wild swings over relatively simple things. It can take a few hours to recover. At 19, she opened up her own art studio and immediately crashed. Tried to work too many hours. stressed over the normal things in marketing, paying rent, etc. It took her a few months to recover and adapt her schedule but she ended up closing it up and is now working on art from home. "The secret of life is to reduce your worries to a minimum." She is learning to let things slide. She's made the connection that if she senses a situation that can or is starting to cause a reaction, she must back away emotionally from it and relax. The dread of the potential crash can cause a crash.
Yeah, us POTSies are very sensitive. Speaking for myself, I feel deep and hard for others - Empathy is deeper than Sympathy. Amazing what others take forgranted, the little things that can send us on a roller coaster ride.

Issie
 

San Diego

Well-Known Member
I've long said that my body no longer knows what to do with stress. In my healthy years, no stress was too much. I found it useful and loved to go into overdrive and accomplish a lot during stressful times. Classic Type A lol.

Now, the smallest stressor, like @AnneVA said (about her daughter?) - anything unexpected like the ring of the doorbell, honk of a car, someone walking around the corner - these things put my body in overdrive. I've slowly learned how to get back to baseline more quickly for these little events, but I do fear large life-event type stressors.

@Cort It does make me curious about the amygdala training for that portion of this illness. Have you tried it?
 

AnneVA

Active Member
I've long said that my body no longer knows what to do with stress. In my healthy years, no stress was too much. I found it useful and loved to go into overdrive and accomplish a lot during stressful times. Classic Type A lol.

Now, the smallest stressor, like @AnneVA said (about her daughter?) - anything unexpected like the ring of the doorbell, honk of a car, someone walking around the corner - these things put my body in overdrive. I've slowly learned how to get back to baseline more quickly for these little events, but I do fear large life-event type stressors.

@Cort It does make me curious about the amygdala training for that portion of this illness. Have you tried it?
yes, my daughter. Can't find an alarm clock. stopped playing "BOO" because I felt so horrible when I saw her response. She is finding that it really helps, like you said, to get back to baseline quickly. She had an impulse to toss the puppy when he startled her but held on (new job as a vet tech, P/T).
 

San Diego

Well-Known Member
yes, my daughter. Can't find an alarm clock. stopped playing "BOO" because I felt so horrible when I saw her response. She is finding that it really helps, like you said, to get back to baseline quickly. She had an impulse to toss the puppy when he startled her but held on (new job as a vet tech, P/T).
Yeah, my kids had to learn about the "Boo" game too. :( My startle reflex is off the charts. Sorry to hear about your daughter.
 

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
It can be a fun phone call with her brother or yesterday a puppy suddenly howling in her ear at work and startling her, something negative or worrisome. End result. Feels like she ran a marathon. Hard to get upstairs. Short of breath. High heart rate. Bad headache. Her autonomic system is so teetery, she just has wild swings over relatively simple things. It can take a few hours to recover. At 19, she opened up her own art studio and immediately crashed. Tried to work too many hours. stressed over the normal things in marketing, paying rent, etc. It took her a few months to recover and adapt her schedule but she ended up closing it up and is now working on art from home. "The secret of life is to reduce your worries to a minimum." She is learning to let things slide. She's made the connection that if she senses a situation that can or is starting to cause a reaction, she must back away emotionally from it and relax. The dread of the potential crash can cause a crash.
Finding a way to relax, to let the body settle down is huge!
 

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
I've long said that my body no longer knows what to do with stress. In my healthy years, no stress was too much. I found it useful and loved to go into overdrive and accomplish a lot during stressful times. Classic Type A lol.

Now, the smallest stressor, like @AnneVA said (about her daughter?) - anything unexpected like the ring of the doorbell, honk of a car, someone walking around the corner - these things put my body in overdrive. I've slowly learned how to get back to baseline more quickly for these little events, but I do fear large life-event type stressors.

@Cort It does make me curious about the amygdala training for that portion of this illness. Have you tried it?
This is so meee:)....Any little thing can put my body into overdrive - it's just so reactive...

It's like the startle reflex is turned on full bore.

Amygdala can definitely help - I don't particularly like the central process but the program provide other ways to get the overdrive problem under controls.

Now I'm using stuff from Landmark education to do that...All sorts of mindfulness/meditation practices can do that. I've found that using the Synergy formula - the immune boost aspect of it - helps with it very much.

It's like our nervous systems are depleted or set wrong.
 

San Diego

Well-Known Member
This is so meee:)....Any little thing can put my body into overdrive - it's just so reactive...

It's like the startle reflex is turned on full bore.

Amygdala can definitely help - I don't particularly like the central process but the program provide other ways to get the overdrive problem under controls.

Now I'm using stuff from Landmark education to do that...All sorts of mindfulness/meditation practices can do that. I've found that using the Synergy formula - the immune boost aspect of it - helps with it very much.

It's like our nervous systems are depleted or set wrong.
Are you on the Synergy formula, too? KPax Immune and Ritalin? I really like the Immune Multi - only multi I've ever tolerated.

When you say that you don't like the "central process" - what is that?

Have you done salivary cortisol testing? That's on my list (what isn't on my list? lol)
 

LondonPots

Active Member
Yes, it doesn't take that much to put me back in bed with the curtains drawn if I'm already a bit low. I wouldn't have thought anything needed retraining, though: on the occasional days when I'm a bit more normal, my startle response is about nil, and trauma/abuse/rude-people just bounces off me as it ever did. On low days, however, I'm irritatingly (to me) sensitive, verging on paranoid.
 
Jennie Spotila lost her mother almost three months ago and is grieving and still feeling the physical effects of that loss.


Three months later everything is more difficult, she has much more fatigue, she's crashing more...I remember hearing of a former airline pilot with ME/CFS who had done really well with the amygdala retraining program and Dr. Klimas's care. She got to the point where she was able to go out on long bike rides (!) but then an upsetting emotional situation caused to lose all her progress (!)

How much do emotional stressors affect your health? and how?
I think there is a severe over-reaction to adrenalin / cortisol. A day and a half after a huge windstorm knocked an 87 spruce down on the house, I found myself almost completely paralyzed. Over the next three days, I was able to walk to the bathroom again and over weeks slowly regained function. Should have called ambulance and gotten tests - but previous. ER disregard dissuaded me.
 

Snookum96

Active Member
I get overwhelmed so easily now. Stress makes everything worse.

I try to lie down, close my eyes, and let it pass. Sometimes a small snack or cuddling my cat help.
 

Snookum96

Active Member
Yeah, us POTSies are very sensitive. Speaking for myself, I feel deep and hard for others - Empathy is deeper than Sympathy. Amazing what others take forgranted, the little things that can send us on a roller coaster ride.

Issie
Hmmmm I'm like this too. Everyone says I'm too sensitive. I didn't know that was a POTS thing!
 

CPheroes

New Member
I'm relieved to see I'm not the only one dealing with this, though I'm sorry that you are as well. I thought I was losing my mind! I now realize that my worst triggers are talking, being startled, and constant noise. I am SO much better when the house is quiet. My stepson moved in with us a few months ago. He has developmental disabilities and requires a lot of interaction - He loves to talk and he is very loud (he has one of those deep resonant voices that vibrate through the walls and floor). Even when I try to isolate myself, I hear him talking on the phone or talking to the cats, etc. It gets to the point where I feel like I'm being physically assaulted! Since he has been here my health has deteriorated significantly. This has caused my stress levels to skyrocket, which certainly doesn't help. I'm housebound so it's not like I can go somewhere quiet. I'm almost to the point of moving out, but that would destroy both my husband and me financially (never mind the fact that my husband is also my caregiver and does all the shopping and drives me to my doctor appts). I feel trapped and victimized, which I know is an overreaction but I can't seem to shake it. Any tips or insights would be greatly appreciated.
Cheers, Kristina
 

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
I'm relieved to see I'm not the only one dealing with this, though I'm sorry that you are as well. I thought I was losing my mind! I now realize that my worst triggers are talking, being startled, and constant noise. I am SO much better when the house is quiet. My stepson moved in with us a few months ago. He has developmental disabilities and requires a lot of interaction - He loves to talk and he is very loud (he has one of those deep resonant voices that vibrate through the walls and floor). Even when I try to isolate myself, I hear him talking on the phone or talking to the cats, etc. It gets to the point where I feel like I'm being physically assaulted! Since he has been here my health has deteriorated significantly. This has caused my stress levels to skyrocket, which certainly doesn't help. I'm housebound so it's not like I can go somewhere quiet. I'm almost to the point of moving out, but that would destroy both my husband and me financially (never mind the fact that my husband is also my caregiver and does all the shopping and drives me to my doctor appts). I feel trapped and victimized, which I know is an overreaction but I can't seem to shake it. Any tips or insights would be greatly appreciated.
Cheers, Kristina
Ear muffs! Meditation....Duct tape over his mouth? in all seriousness have you tried ear plugs or something plus maybe white noise in your room to calm things down?

That's a difficult situation....Studies indicated that ME/CFS patients brains have trouble turning off innocuous stimuli - they're trying to monitor everything. That's an exhausting and overwhelming process - hence the need for low stimuli environments.

Is he there for good? Could he be taught to be less loud?
 

tandrsc

Well-Known Member
Any tips or insights would be greatly appreciated.
Ear plugs - absolutely.

I got to the point where even the ticking of a clock would put me on edge. Thankfully that isn't the case anymore.

I had some custom made ones and they weren't anywhere near as expensive as I thought they might be. Your local hearing specialist can probably make you a pair.
 
There are also noise-cancelling headphones, or just some ear buds. Even if you aren't listening to music or anything, these things could at least mellow-out the noise. My sister and I both have ME+FM, and we often comment on how lucky we are that we don't have a lot of noise around the house. We moved in with our mother a few years ago, and she prefers quiet as well, even though she doesn't have ME, and we're very grateful. Some cities have day care for people like your step-son - places where they can go for a few hours a couple of days-a-week. Might there be such a program in your location? Often these programs will handle transportation as well.
There are also many supplements that help with calming and stress. I'd be glad to provide a list if you're interested. They aren't a complete substitute for peace and quiet, but they might also help. You are definitely between a rock and a hard place. Maybe your husband could work with him to talk more quietly? It's hard for non-ME sufferers to understand how excruciating noise can be.
 

CPheroes

New Member
Ear muffs! Meditation....Duct tape over his mouth? in all seriousness have you tried ear plugs or something plus maybe white noise in your room to calm things down?

That's a difficult situation....Studies indicated that ME/CFS patients brains have trouble turning off innocuous stimuli - they're trying to monitor everything. That's an exhausting and overwhelming process - hence the need for low stimuli environments.

Is he there for good? Could he be taught to be less loud?
Well, I don't have to worry about him being here anymore... my husband is leaving me. Apparently this isn't the life he planned on and he can't stand to see me suffer...
 

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
Well, I don't have to worry about him being here anymore... my husband is leaving me. Apparently this isn't the life he planned on and he can't stand to see me suffer...
Wow...It sounds like this is a change you don't want....

I know someone whose wife left him because he wasn't the same person but I don't think men in general are as good at sticking around.
 

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