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Stress before ME onset

Discussion in 'General Symptoms' started by jimmy86, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. jimmy86

    jimmy86 Senior Member


    beforehand this is not a post about stress being the cause of ME.

    Rather, I would like to know people which experienced major stress before getting ill.

    Looking back on my ME onset almost five years ago, I realized once more that I experienced a period of extreme stress (I was studying at university for two diploms, did not do sport etc.) before getting ill. The stress made me anxious and tired (but nothing compared to the exhaustion today), plus I got dizzy. Symptoms of a burnout I would say today.

    I got ill on the classic way, via a viral infection. However, I think that in my case, stress and ambition is an important cofactor (and potentially in the center) of my illness. I tried so far meditation and relaxation (and supplementation such as B vitamins), and I am definitely less stressed and more balanced emotionally, however, especially my PEM does not get better.

    I guess there is a bunch of other people that experienced more or less the same. How did you treat this aspect of your illness? Any strategies besides? What about hormones?

  2. Tammy

    Tammy Senior Member

    New Mexico
    I definitely noticed a pattern with stress and feeling that flu-like feeling whenever I experienced stressful times. divorce.......felt like I had the flu for at least 3 months........but my body recovered. Then throughout nursing school...........I would have those flu-like feelings.........but my body recovered.................Years later taking care of my dad who was dying of Lou-gherigs........I would have those flu-like bouts...........this time however my body never recovered............I got full-blown cfs 6 months after he passed. So for me...........I think the stess was a trigger that lowered my whole system.
    taniaaust1 likes this.
  3. maryb

    maryb iherb code TAK122

    I had a lot of stress too before I got the virus that floored me, but just see it as another stressor on the body until its overwhelmed, noth the stress per se. I was very tired too for a long time before getting ill, work and sleep was all I could manage, my battery was running down and I didn't heed the warning signs.
    I think it could have been any stressor though, accidents, surgery,lot of dental work, I've heard all these things preceeding the onset of the virus that caused ME to develop.
  4. SOC

    SOC Senior Member

    Not me and not my daughter. We had very calm and peaceful lives pre-ME/CFS. However, I think a lot of people today live rushed and stressful lives, so it's likely that many people were rushed and stressed when they got ME/CFS. ;)
    ahimsa, Valentijn and WillowJ like this.
  5. WillowJ

    WillowJ คภภเє ɠรค๓թєl

    WA, USA
    I was busy at the time I got ill (in the classic way, suddenly), but much less stressed than at some other times in my life (like when my granddad died of cancer, for example). It's not like I didn't get colds/flu other times (including stressed times, I'm sure). It's also not like I wasn't busy at other times, though I may have been slightly more busy at that particular time.

    When I fell ill I had felt positive and productive. There was measurable evidence that I was doing well at what I was doing. I was maybe not getting enough sleep, but of course that is very common among Americans in general and not unique to people who fall ill with serious diseases.
  6. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

    I wasn't stressed prior to getting ill. I'd moved into our new house with my fiance, was doing great in Dutch classes, and my Mom had just visited and we'd all had fun hanging out in the Netherlands and Belgium while it was all snow-covered and pretty :D

    I really don't stress in general.
    SOC likes this.
  7. peggy-sue


    I had been having a bit of a ghastly time - but I'd had ghastly times before that too. They're just par for the course in life, but I suppose it wouldn't have helped.

    In my tiny, 4-people affected (in different ways, 2 x ME, 1 x IBS, 1 x PVFS) "outbreak cohort", the other person who got ME had not experienced much stress immediately prior to getting ill, but had, a few years before that.
  8. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

    What would be the difference between the Stress and non-stress onset people I wonder? In my case there was no stress and I just made the mistake of travelling to an area where there was an (unknown to me) ME outbreak. This was on holiday and I was happy, bathing in the sea, relaxed and having a good time. The viral inset was severe but my boyfriend was fine. Why me and not him?

    For the people who do mention a stress onset it may be a totally difference disease or there may be these different triggers. We have argued this often enough for decades now and it doesn't seem like we are closer to the truth. When I attended meetings in the 80's of people with ME stress was never mentioned. They were well up to the viral onset.

    Until we have the research that this disease or diseases warrants we just won't know.

    It may be that for the people who identify stress as a trigger it's just a red herring and they would have developed ME or CFS anyway. It could also be a major part of their ongoing illness and a totally different disease to the previously well acute onset patients. We just don't know.

    Maybe for some people it's the cortisol involved with the stress that causes the body to succumb to a viral infection. For me, that wouldn't pan out but for the group who were repeatedly stressed for a long period maybe particular viri or a new pathogen is working with the high cortisol to cause their illness.

    Something quite specific, changed and unique. As we are mentioned before if CFS was caused by stress we would have seen it after the wars in the early parts 20th Century and not waited until the later part to see Gulf War syndrome. If it was "just stress" then it would be after major ongoing traumatic events and have been obvious in history.

    Something different in the pathogen or involved with the stress response may be happening in a group of people.
    jimmy86 likes this.
  9. Sean

    Sean Senior Member

    I got sick at the end of the best year of my life (aged 20), when I was as fit and healthy (in every sense) and as freely engaged with the world as I had ever been. When my life choices were plenty and varied, and were starting to solidify and become reality and deliver the rewards, when I had the most to look forward to, and did.

    Unless that kind of situation is now included in the definition of 'pathological stress', then I don't see how it could have played a significant causal role in the onset.
    Purple likes this.
  10. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

    Sth Australia
    I too can say that stress and ambition were a huge cofactor in my illness at the start of it. I was raising two young children alone one who has a severe disability, doing full time study as well as trying to work some part time too. I could of been sitting on my sole parent pension doing no study, no work but Im not a person to be like that, I had high ambitions for myself so was being a super woman. Im a personality A type.

    Like yourself, I got ill the classic ME way.. by this I mean with viral symptoms. For the first 9mths doctors kept on diagnosing me with "some virus" each time I got sick Unlike most, my body in the beginning actually had the ability to fight off whatever this ME is (I wonder what antibodies I was producing during that time) . I'd crash for a week with viral symptoms (high fever, swollen glands, muscle aches etc etc) after some heavy studies or assignments, few days up studying without much sleep could do it but would end up recovering till my body was put under stress again..then I crash into the same symptoms. But I was completely well between these times and doing all my normal sports etc (I was going up to 2mths completely well between these times).

    Over time, my length of time I went before getting sick again went shorter and with me being sicker for a little longer periods. Then one day I crashed and had this illness full time, suddenly I was bedbound and was that way for 9mths.

    During the time my viral symptoms were on and off, triggered by stress, I didnt crash with physical exercise, that only came in for me once this illness was full time, had set in one could say. Due to all this I think that ME could be something that is commonly carried by people which is capable of activing, maybe with some strains of it being worst then others hence then the ME outbreaks.

    What I do know that there was probably something wrong with my body just waiting there since I was a child. Thou I was heavily into sports, I had two incidences (which lasted several hours) but where I found I suddenly couldnt walk (mitochrondrial??) and went very weak. This happened without any other symptoms (I wasnt sick at the time). I also had severe mono as a teen and was bedridden for 10 weeks. The other weird thing about me was I NEVER got colds during my my school years and can only remember having the flu once during all those years. I was abnormally healthy (except the EBV). I personally think from these things that my immune system may of been one sided in its Th1/Th2 which lead to me being susceptable to whatever ME is later on in my life

    Id love for science to work out what causes some to get severe mono while others hardly get sick at all from it, I think that would give a clue to the ME stuff too. Why are some or some families, suspectable to this illness? (3 members are affected with ME/CFS in my family with a fourth member who has FM and IBS).

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