Stress Makes Me a Mess

March 15, 2008

My body hasn’t hurt this much in many moons. If I ever had doubts about whether stress exacerbates the symptoms of fibro, I’m now completely convinced.

The other day, I was invited to test for this little online job. I passed the test (which was a stressful, timed thing), and I got accepted. The “job” entails having to find, research and type answers to questions at a frantic pace. You get paid per answer. I did it for hours yesterday, just to get into the groove of it (and I made a whopping $8). Kind of hard to explain all of this, but here’s the thing. This job is a little microcosm of what a typical work day out in the world is like for me. I really enjoyed doing it. I love the face pace, the stress, the excitement of learning new things, but by the time I went to bed, my body was shrieking in pain. I woke up in the middle of the night with more areas of my body hurting than I can remember– the soles of my feet, my heels, hips, legs, shoulders– there was almost no area that wasn’t in excruciating pain. I could barely walk. Today’s not a whole lot better.

I dislike it when I whine and complain, but here’s my point. For me, the correlation between stress and fibro is undeniable. I stayed awake thinking about what a huge lesson I’d received about how all of this works. Stress is a demon for those of us with fibro– at least it is for me. It seems that since stress is what intensifies the pain, relaxation and meditation should ease it. But the catch with this is that, although I sometimes have a bit of control over how bad the pain gets (by staying out of stressful situations when possible), I have absolutely no control over relieving it once a flare hits. I can’t seem to undo the damage.

Lesson learned. Ouch.


9 Responses to “Stress Makes Me a Mess”

  1. Little Miss Says:

    I could almost copy your post and claim it as mine – I’ve been going through the same pain and flare up. I definitely agree with the correlation between stress and flareups. I had more stress once my daughter came home, and night before last was the worst night of fibro/RLS I’ve ever had. Maybe I’ll blog about it. I think where we are damned is that unless we turn into complete hermits and have someone who can bankroll our lives for us without question or contribution, cushioning us from the outside world, there’s no avoiding stress in this life. At least that’s my take on it and that totally sucks. Neither alternative is really great, is it?

  2. thegirlfromtheghetto Says:

    I want you and your readers to check out my latest post … it’s about supporting Arthritis Research in the country, and issue important to I assume everyone who visits this site regularly.

  3. Stress exasperates a lot of physical illness. Have you tried stress reduction and relaxation exercises? You have my prayers.

  4. tammyrenee Says:

    Thank GOD (or whomever) I don’t have “flares” with stress or I’d be sick ever day of my life, ha, ha. Type A personality people find the stupidest things to stress about, you know. So I feel for ya! Telling someone to avoid stress is like telling them to avoid life in general so know words of advice on this one… just hearing listening and sending the love.

  5. Mary Says:

    I can relate to the stress and fibro connection. I can’t handle any level of stress at all. When I have to deal with major stress it shuts me down for a couple of days. I don’t know how to reduce my stress level any farther than it is now (with the exception of trying to get through the disability thing with Social Security). That’s going to be around for a while like it or not. Type A personality has my name beside it in the dictionary! I am trying to stop thinking about everything and relax, but it’s just so hard to do. I am going to a counselor tomorrow to see if I can get some help dealing with stress. I can’t seem to do it myself. I have tried bio-feedback without any luck. Maybe accupuncture? Cabin in the mountains? It mainly affects my neck, shoulders and jaw. I have severe TMJ. Sometimes I can barely talk, which my boyfriend sees no problem with! :-}

  6. Stress is a trigger for me too. SIGH

  7. Somehow, I overlooked all of the great comments on the post. So sorry I’m just now answering them!

    @ LM: Although the life of a hermit married to a millionaire sounds cushy, you’re right- I don’t think it’s a likely scenario.

    It’s not even a question of learning to deal with stress– with fibro it seems you have to get rid of even the smallest bit of it, and who can do that without living in a Ziploc bag?

    @ Ghetto Girl: It was a great post, and as you know, I linked it. 🙂

    @ SS Nick: I do some relaxation techniques, yes. I’ll have to get better at it though! What I have to learn is not to stress when I feel the pain coming on. I think it exacerbates things.

    @ (((tammy))): I hope you’re doing well. You were posting for a while there, and though I was reading them all, I wasn’t doing that much commenting. When my brain gets foggy, my comments tend to sound very “Duhhhh…”

    @ Mary: I hope the counseling thing helps you learn some techniques that will lessen your flares. When I was working my last job, I developed TMJ, which I know was part of the fibro. It went away when I quit the job.

    @ brightfeather: This has been a long flare for you, it seems. I hope you find some relief soon.

    I seem to be having trouble finding your other blog. Didn’t you have one in addition to “This Time, This Space?” Can you send me the link?

    To all: The stress aspect of Fibro is one that really gets to me. As so many of you have pointed out in past and present comments, there’s at least a little bit of stress that’s just a normal part of life. Most of us aren’t women who run around like chickens with our heads cut off- but the fact that fibro makes you have to think about it, worry about it, and try to prevent it is as much of a stressor as the stress itself!

    I think it stigmatizes us to a degree, as does the rest of this syndrome.

  8. Missy Says:

    Thanks so much for the information on your website. I too have fibromyalgia and unless anyone else has it, they have absolutely no idea what we go through. It’s like the rest of the world is passing you by, and you’re ankle deep in wet sand, trying to catch up. Keep up the great blog! I really appreciate it.


  9. @ Missy: It’s like the rest of the world is passing you by, and you’re ankle deep in wet sand, trying to catch up.

    What a great way to describe it. Thank you for stopping by!

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