As I’ve mentioned before, stress is a potential trigger for flare up of symptoms to any person with an autoimmune disease. My ability to handle stress or just my tolerance for stress has drastically decreased since my diagnosis. Not only does stress trigger my MG symptoms but they also trigger migraines for me, which then trigger my MG symptoms or even worse a crisis. That’s right. Endless Ls over here.
Stress, believe it or not, uses a lot of energy. When you have MG, energy is a precious resource. It’s invisible gold. I try not to waste it on unnecessary movements or actions. Lately, I’ve been super on edge. My sleep pattern is off. My symptoms are starting to make random appearance again. I was on the verge of imploding.
The problem is life in general can be a bit stressful. A simple trip to the grocery could turn into something an unexpected. Conflict is a natural part of life. To be honest, without a little conflict and a stress, I feel like life would be boring as hell. They provide the challenges that mold us as people.
You ever sat down and talked to a parent or elderly person and they hit you with an old quote that’s supposed to make you feel better but really just irritates you? It’s about to happen right now. There’s an old saying that “pressure makes diamonds”. My response to that is “too much pressure bursts pipes”. I don’t want to burst. So I really need to get a grip on the stress thing. In true Morgan fashion, in order to figure out how to deal, I have to pinpoint the causes.
My Possible Sources of Stress
- Having an Autoimmune disease
- Duh! I mean here I am living a quasi normal life and I’ve been catapulted into unchartered territory. Everyone is different so there is no sure fire treatment plan or route to recovery. There’s no map, no guide. It’s everyman for him(her)self.
- Not being able to control my body
- I am a very controlling person (shocker right?). So not being able to control my body when I want to, not being able to do very basic actions is frustrating. Especially when I know that I can do them (or could at one point)
- Not knowing when my symptoms will hit
- My MG symptoms fluctuate like crazy. One minute I will be perfectly fine. The next minute I will feel so weak, so out of breath, so MGish. It’s hard to plan activities in advance because I never know what the day will bring or if it’s too much for me.
- Disdain for my appearance
- Beyond basic girly vanity, my worries about my appearance are on another level. Between the droopy lids, the eye patch, the lack of facial expressions, and the weight gain, sometimes looking at myself is stressful. I’m getting better at unconditional self love but its such a drastic change from what I used to look like and what I prefer myself to look like. It’s also an over concern with how other people perceive me while I’m in this state. Do they think I’m overeating? Do they think I had a stroke? Are they staring because I’m fat?
- Fear of what’s to come
- Right now my MG is pretty much contained and under control. I haven’t been labeled officially “in remission” by my doctor but I am praying those words will come out of his mouth. Even if I do go into remission, there’s always a chance that it can come back with a vengeance. I’ve seen and heard so many stories of severe MG crisis, flare ups, month long hospitalizations etc. I’m still young and I had to live the rest of my life with this disease. There is always that thought in the back of my mind of what my life will entail and how this will shape my future.
- Lack of understanding
- It’s hard to explain what you’re going through and what your needs are when you barely understand it yourself. It’s frustrating to feel a lack of compassion from your family and friends. You feel isolated and lonely. You wonder how others’ perception of you has changed on top of fear of letting them down when you are no longer able to meet their expectations.
- Family & Friends
- Gotta love them right? Ehhh. Maybe. I have two categories of friends and fam. The first category consists the ones who call and check on you everyday, see how you are , make sure you’re good. This category sounds good but they tend to hover. They make it seem like you’re not able to do anything. While well meaning, it’s like they are constantly reminding you that you are sick. All the calls and texts can be overwhelming. All the status updates and checkins can be annoying. The other category consists of the ones who act like everything is fine. The never call just to see how you are. When they call they talk all about themselves, their problems, their issues. They want you to do certain things and if you say no or express reluctance, they don’t seem to comprehend why. These people are so draining. Can I get a third category please? One with a little something I like to call balance.
- Financial Obligations
- I mentioned before that being sick is hella expensive. People really go into debt over medical expenses. Add that to just regular cost of living. I’m a home owner, a car owner, a person. There are costs associated with each of those things and I’m not splitting expenses with anyone. The cost to simply exist in my area is kind of steep. I am blessed to a job that let’s me live within my means. But this autoimmune disease ain’t in the budget fam. Financial freedom and stability have always been a priority for me. Every time I get a bill, I clutch my little pearls.
That’s not a comprehensive list. I’m sure I could name a few more. But I just wanted to share some of the things that stress me out in general. For someone else it could be work, or a relationships or a recent drastic change.
As an exercise this week I’m going to track every time I feel a bit stressed and what led to it. Once I pinpoint the stressors, you betta believe I plan on eliminating them one by one.
Since stress isn’t only a MG or autoimmune issue, I’m sure anyone can relate to this. Are you feeling stressed lately? What are your stressors?