effeoh 10/12/14
Last reply 3 years ago
Personal Research


Sorry been a while since I was on here. Thankfully my symptoms have not been causing trouble for at least a year so have been able to put MS to the back of my mind. I’m lucky I guess.

But in the last week my best friends daughter has suffered an MS like attack and is now going through the whole diagnosis process which has made me think so much more about it.

This is a girl who has had to deal with the breakup of her parents this year which I feel was a trigger for her MS. Mine was a breakdown of a long relationship. Given conversations with other MSers a lot seem to have had major life events and stressful situations that act as a trigger. Also unusually due to past conditions (mild cerebral palsy) she has had historical MRI’s over many years which I think could be revealing from a scientific perspective. I don’t know about you but the first time I had an MRI was after my first attack so there would be no historical data, but she has that history.

Its made me think about what happens before MS, what is it about us that causes the disease to trigger. Is it our personalities? Is it how we deal with situations differently from others? Is there something about how our brain works that can cause this?

The research I’ve found seems to be how neurological diseases affects personality (memory loss, mood swings etc). But nothing much about how personality affects or can cause neurological diseases. I may be looking in the wrong places though.

I’ve got a month off travelling India in a couple of weeks and want to look into this a bit more. Get my head around the subject. Maybe because it’s a loved one involved now that makes me more angry and want to get to the bottom of it.

But does anyone know of any research into this, any books I can read or even share your personal experiences – of stress prompting your symptoms.

Any insight or thoughts would be well received.

Cheers guys!

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3 years ago

I think nearly all of my attacks start when stressed! My first attack started whilst dealing with a little bullying, the second just before my GCSE exams and the third with A-Levels combined with gossiping and bad mouthing that was going on around sixth form concerning me!
I don’t think stress could be the sole reason for anybody getting an MS attack, but I do personally believe it plays a huge part in the duration between attacks – for me anyway!!!

3 years ago

I, too, believe that stress is a major contributor to MS. I can also relate stressful events to major relapses.

I have also had a brief look at stress and what it actually does to you. Well, I discovered that stress causes the brain to release certain chemicals that could adversely affect………your Central Nervous System (CNS). And, that’s what MS attacks!

However, I also believe that MS has a few causal factors, besides stress. So, rather than find the one culprit, there is possibly a conspiracy of several factors.

It’s like a reverse lottery. And I got all six numbers! lol 😆

Enjoy your trip to India. And do some sight-seeing, don’t keep your nose in a medical book/journal! 😉

3 years ago

Not sure with mine as first major attack happened 20 years ago after traveling around Australia and that part of the planet.. came back to Oz on a visitors visa for 3 months after my other travels and a month in my symptoms really started (Not due to lack of sunshine either..) came home.. bit stressful as I was homeless for a while and took just over a year to get better.. had an MRI on my spine only and Neurologist said had damaged my back with heavy backpack.. no mention of MS. Got better and carried on with life and travels :D. This time symptoms started September time last year.. was having an MRI (3rd one in 3 years)on my spine as I was due to have some more cortisone injections for my low back pain also possible stress as been in pain on and off for about 4 years by this stage due to a tumble I had. The surgeon was concerned with my symptoms and white lesions on my spine so sent to a neurologist who asked for a full brain and spine MRI in April 2014 and the rest is history.. Best wishes to your best friends daughter.

3 years ago

My first and only relapse started about 6 weeks after the worst flu I have ever experienced. It’s coming up for two years now and nothing since and nothing before that terrible case of flu. I personally think that the flu caused my immune system to go into overdrive…..and that’s what kickstarted the attack.

3 years ago


Sorry about your friends daughter, hope she is ok

I find it all very interesting, I got ill with ms in March this year. I was horrendously stressed at work which I believe definitely contributed to my relapse. While I was in hospital me and my friend asked people on the neurological ward. Everyone had suffered stress. Plus we all had a bad childhood problem or our moms had before they had us. Hooping cough, glandular fever etc. Seemed weird we all had this in common.

Hope you have fun traveling x

3 years ago


Whether or not our personalities can cause or contribute to us getting particular illnesses is something I’ve thought about a lot before. I find the possibility of a psychosomatic element really interesting, but it’s not something Western medicine & science ever seems to consider.

The problem with it, though, as that people would blame themselves & think it’s all their own fault, and if only they had a different personality then everything would be ok. I don’t think that’s a helpful thing to do though. But it’s easy to underestimate the power of our brains & emotions.

As an example, here’s an interesting experiment for you to try on 2 people. Person 1 has to hold out their arm in front of them, then person 2 has to push down on their arm for a few seconds while the first person tries to keep their arm out straight and not let the other person push it down.

Next, person 1 can put their arm down, then has to close their eyes & say ‘I am weak and unworthy’ out loud ten times. (People often don’t like saying that & will rush through it, but it’s best to get them to take the time and really feel the words.) Then repeat the experiment – person 1 holds their arm out straight and tries to keep it straight while person 2 tries to push down it down. Note whether or not it was easier to push their arm down.

Finally, person 1 can put their arm down again, then has to close their eyes & say ‘I am strong and worthy’ ten times out loud. Again, this shouldn’t be rushed. And then repeat it again, with person 1 trying to keep their arm out straight while person 2 tries to push it down.

Chances are, it will have been easiest to push person 1’s arm down after they said they were weak & unworthy, and hardest to do it after they said they were strong & worthy. And I think that’s fascinating for us with an illness that’s defined by weakness. Obviously, that doesn’t mean MS is all in our heads and we can ‘fix’ it just by thinking better. But how much do we make things just a little bit harder for ourselves by telling us that we’re weak & will find things difficult? I use the ‘strong & worthy’ trick a lot now, and my body is always a bit stronger afterwards.


3 years ago

It is an interesting topic. I had glandular fever at university ( many years ago), which some think can be a trigger.
My first attack was after normal stress of work , family etc, but was the first day of a holiday after a very stressful term at school.
The second major attack which finally lead to diagnosis was definately caused by the horrific stress induced by the death of my mother in law and the catastrophic family reactions to it. None of the stress that was caused was in my control and I still find it hard not to blame them for what has happened to me, which I know is completly irrational and unhelpful, but there you go.

3 years ago

Along with @stumbler, I think that it’s a combination of factors that cause MS. It surely can’t be stress alone, because the majority of the world’s population would get it! But once you’ve got it, well that’s a different story. I remember my first post-dx consultant’s appointment. I’d been feeling fine with minimal symptoms for the three months since I’d been in hospital. I sat waiting to be called and then had to walk down a corridor to the great man’s room. As I did so, my leg buckled and I limped into his room. I apologised and tried to explain. He smiled and said, ‘Don’t worry about it. It always happens like that’. Mind-body? I see it as an exaggeration of one’s mood and physical state. The slightest upset, germ or virus will translate into MS symptoms. And it’s about as controllable as trying to stop butterflies in your stomach.

3 years ago

@thepond thanks for the arm story! tricks like that really do help to keep going and keeping going is what keeps us keeping on!!

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