Stress and Onset of ME/CFS

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I'm just curious as to how many of you experienced stress as a factor in your onset of ME/CFS. I'm NOT saying this is a psychological illness, or implying "it's all in your head." I become very angry when people suggest that. For instance, my onset was started by a flu, which became the flu that never went away. I do think, however, that stress played some role in my onset, because I was totally stressed out over another medical condition. I'd also be interested to hear from people who know that stress was not a factor. Maybe I have way too much time on my hands, but I'm just trying to understand this illness better. Maybe a better question would be: "What happened in your life when you developed ME/CFS?"

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  • Posted

    Hi Jackie,

         I also became ill as a result of a flu like virus. I got over the flu but then the onset of CFS started. And I had just started a new job and was really stressed out about being ill as soon as I started working. I became more and more stressed as I could not shake the intense fatigue and every other symtom that came with it. So yes, I think stress is a very big factor in this disease and the more stressed you are the worse the symtoms are. 

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  • Posted

    I had a pretty severe and prolonged episode of stress before the onset of my CFS. I believe that triggered it for me. 
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  • Posted

    Hi,

    The doctor who made "stress" a medical term (it was an engineering term first) used it to mean "any condition which causes the body to release adrenaline".  I think it is significant because adrenaline is a powerful hormone.  Under the force of adrenaline people can do things that they would not normally be able to do. The downside is that when the emergency is over other hormones shoot up which do the the exact opposite of adrenaline.  

    During the "emergency" adrenaline levels are high, you are faster, stronger, more focused than ever before.  After the "emergency" you are weak, your limbs tremble with exhaustion, you are easily moved to tears, and you can't think straight.

    I am wondering if the sympathetic nervous system plays a part in CFS.  Does anyone know if there has been research in this area?

    Good luck,

    Sunny

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  • Posted

    Hi Jackie, Yes i tick all the boxes. The past 2 years prior to my illness i was under the most stress in my life. Heavy lifting early morning (5am) start warehouse job+triathlon training which i was always aspiring to be better at. I see the job as the major driver (i've trained for 10+ years no problems) and everything else componding it, even my diet which  according to the TCM doctor i saw by drinking alot of raw veg juice i was weakening my organs(who knows.) I'm 34 and now laregly housebound, extremely worried for my future, my life. 10 months into my PVF diagnosis and this week in particular feel i have taken 10 steps back. Just when i think i can't be any worse as a 'good day' is still terrible you realise the good days are truly good.
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  • Posted

    Hi Jackie,

    I've had Fibromyalgia and ME it suggests since I was 14 yrs old, I'm now 36.  I can't really remember that far back whether I had an illness or stress - I don't know.  I remember having a bad back, therefore going to a Oestopath and then a sudden growth spurt which the back of my legs didn't seem to grow the same speed resulting in hard to walk for a while.

    I've always been a stressy person. My Mum was too (although she caused me alot of my stress)- long story! Whether it's if you can't physically handle stress feelings you are more likely to develop ME as a result of the body not getting rid of the reactions properly?  I do know that my symptoms are alot worse (especially IBS) when I am stressed!

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  • Posted

    No stress here, but wouldn;t be surprised if any difficulty increased people's vulnerability.

    Also though, if people were starting to have mild CFS-like problems, that alone would lead to life being more stressful.

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  • Posted

    yes jackie, had three stressful months at work which caused a lot of fatigue which just didn't go away. As far as I can remember, I didn't have any viral infections, but I do remember lying in bed realising my muscles weren't actually relaxed, even when I had (I thought) deliberately tried to relax. I think that the endocrine system and other systems of the body do respond to stress, as sunwyn says, and maybe sometimes they don't get switched off again.

    I hope there is research going on in this area.

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  • Posted

    Yup, I definitely believe that stress plays a huge factor. My specialist believes that my CFS was triggered by a combination of my glandular fever and burn out. He told me to avoid stress as much as possible. Stress definitely causes physical reactions and can result in damaged adrenal glands.I also become very angry with the "it's all in your head" implications!!!
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  • Posted

    I am currently in the process of being diagnosed and receiving CBT from my counsellor. She is confident that a huge build up of stress was the cause of me developing whatever this is (most likely CFS/ME). I started suffering from the symtoms at around the same time I found out that my Mother was having an affairabout 9 years ago. Won't go into details, but the years that have followed I have been put in some pretty awful situatons which have led to subsequent depression and (unbeknown to me) a great deal of stress! I am still new to the possibility of ME in my life, but it can only be stress that triggered it for me, as I've not really had any serious illness in the last 10 years.
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  • Posted

    I find that stress makes my M.E. worse. I was expectiing my fourth unplanned child and got a spotty virus my husband had wanted me to have an abortion and my doctor thought I had german measles. I carried on with the pregnancy and the baby did not sleep much for 4 and a half years this caused a lot of stress in the family and i felt like leaving so many times but did not. This was 31 years ago.

    Alison

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