Last reply 1 year ago
Effect of Stress

Everyone says ‘avoid stress’. Easier said than done.

Does anyone have evidence where stress, self-induced by the work-aholics amongst us or from external factors, has brought on a relapse? Either in addition to drugs or in its own right.

I’ve seen the advice on how to avoid stress but it’s like my wife has so buried herself in her work to give herself something to do, it’s causing her more stress than ever. I don’t want it to bring on a relapse but I cannot get her to see this; she thinks we are reacting too protectively of her since her diagnosis. I don’t deny that is true (mostly inadvertently), but it is with good reason.

Any advice????

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1 year ago

Well there is no way to prove what causes relapses and symptoms to occur. However, my relapses have occurred when I was under tremendous stress. So maybe?

I’ll be honest. Right now the majority of my stress comes from my family. I love them but when things at home are too stressful (I have three kids who like to whine and scream a lot right now) I do sometimes stay at work an extra hour or go in early to escape it. If you’re being “overprotective” that may be stressing her out more than working. My suggestion is to back off. The number one reason I haven’t told my family, aside from my husband, about my diagnosis because I know their concern would stress me out.

1 year ago


“she thinks we are reacting too protectively of her since her diagnosis”

If she thinks so – then you are… For me, nothing is worse than being treated differently. I want life to be normal; it isn’t yet I am the person I was before MS came into my life.

Be aware that she might say no or ask to have things adjusted. Other than that, treat her the way you always have… Dinners with friends, movies, walks, shopping, etc… If she enjoyed them before – she still does!

She will laugh at the same things; cry at the same things. She is the same person you married. Just make sure she knows you are on her side; if something needs to be cut short because of MS, all she needs to do is mention that to you.

All she wants is life to be normal & know you are on her side…

1 year ago

@seb80 , I blame two work-related incidents that stressed me out and caused major relapses.

You just have to keep things in perspective. We all like to take pride in our work, it’s the professional way to do things. But, work is a transient phase in our life. We are only a temporary resource and when we are an expended resource, we get replaced.

No-one is indispensable or irreplaceable. Our employers owe us no favours and will push us to the scrapheap when we’re damaged and of no longer use.

We just have to ask ourselves the question, “is this situation worth damaging my health……………..for life”?!

I wish someone had told me about this, back in the day………..

1 year ago

I don’t think stress is the main cause of a relapse, if that was the case I’d of had loads the last couple of years. I don’t think it helps as it just aggravates old symptoms sometimes.
When I relapsed last, I wasn’t stressed, in fact I was feeling really good but I caught the flu and that caused it. It’s good that you’re thinking of her and looking out for her, my husband didn’t and walked out before I was diagnosed, hence the stress.
To me, she seems like she justs wants to be normal, maybe work is her way of showing that she may have MS but it doesn’t have her! It’s what I do, I push myself, never let it stop me from doing things. She will know how much she can push herself, just be there when she needs you to be 😊 but don’t treat her any different, she’s not made of glass, non of us are, in fact we’re the opposite!

1 year ago

Hello @seb80, agree with all of the above. The problem is that MS itself, DMDs, lifestyles, they all affect different people if different ways, the the impact of stress becomes impossible to quantify. What I can say, is that often, work is refuge. It gives you purpose, it makes you normal, it creates structure and routine. Your wife is newly diagnosed and still processing things. With your support, things will slowly unfold and she may feel more like reflecting on things now, and for the future. I would say though that diet, exercise and rest shouldn’t be compromised by work. Good luck x

1 year ago

I wonder if what you need to do is understand her symptoms better. I remember a good (but infrequently seen) friend telling someone that ‘she can’t, she has MS’, in response to a suggestion that we should do something or other. I remember my reaction – that he had absolutely NO idea of what was going on in my body. So what are her symptoms? Sensory, motor or both? Does she have pain? Fatigue? Reduced mobility? Low mood? Is she able to describe her MS sensations in a way you can relate to? For example, when my leg first started to misbehave, it was as if I’d sat on it and got extreme pins and needles that wouldn’t go away. In my major relapse, the fatigue that swept over me was like the moments before you go under a general anaesthetic. If you can empathise with what’s going on in her body you’ll be better able to support her. Everything she’s doing and the way she’s doing it is her effort to be putting the MS in its box and live her life. Somehow you’ve got to see the world as it now is through her eyes, process it and act accordingly. Rather than going into ‘protect mode’, see if you can spot the obstacles and how they affect her. If you can find practical solutions, try then to make everything as normal as possible and include yourself in that solution. For example, if you’ve had a handrail installed, make sure YOU always use it as well. And everything related to healthy living as applied to MSers can equally well be applied to you- diet, exercise, sleep quality, stress avoidance. I hate the word ‘journey’, as applied to difficult life decisions and choices, but that’s what it is – and you’re on it too. Very best wishes, xK

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