Does Stress Cause MS?
Multiple Sclerosis Journey

Does Stress Cause MS?

If you’re new to my site, I was diagnosed 6 months ago with MS, back in April 2017. Six months ago, I was a wreck, really. I didn’t know what was going to happen, I couldn’t grasp what was going on, and I was just in denial that I actually had a disease. An actual disease that could alter my future in such a horrific way in the blink of an eye. I feel like I am a human time-bomb, even now.

It doesn’t stop me from believing that I can beat this, and help the millions of people that have also been diagnosed with MS.

I’m aware that it is a step of the grieving process to think, ‘I’m going to beat this disease’ when you are first diagnosed with something like this, but I still feel this, constantly. Everyday.

I have my sight back, thank the heavens, but one of my most powerful tools in the universe is slowly vanishing. My memory. Mine stood out at one point, and it angers me that it is slowly vanishing. I was once able to quickly glance at a paper, and I could tell you absolutely anything that paper said. A few seconds later. A week later. It was an amazing tool that got me through school, and through life with ease. I don’t know the statistics of how rare that is, but it seemed to be an amazing thing to anyone that witnessed it. It doesn’t matter much now though, it’s gone. I can barely remember what I’m about to do at times. Don’t even get me started on school.

 

 

A few months ago, I realized two things:

One: I’ve had a relapse before the one that made me lose my vision.

Two years ago, I had a period of time where my left leg went numb. Just the inner half of it. It didn’t hurt, but I couldn’t stand it. I was ironically (or was it?) in nursing school at that time as well. I dismissed it as a pinched sciatic nerve, went to the chiropractor, and I regained all feeling in my leg again; except in my medial left great toe. I’ve noticed it here and there, mainly just when I’m clipping my toenails. It has never caused me any concern before I was diagnosed with MS. It doesn’t hurt, and it’s not painful.

Two: Perhaps stress causes MS. I noticed my memory start to slip after I became a mom, but I really started noticing it after I became a nursing student. If you’re either a mom or a nursing student, you know what stress is. Now times that by two. Times it by three if you take into consideration I had Jordan during my first year at Lenape, and I had Arlo my first year at BC3. No sleep? Exams in the morning? Back to work? Am I dead yet?

During my initial research upon diagnosis, I frequently encountered the same sentence over and over; there is no proof stress causes MS.

There is no proof, because there is no research. During my search, I could not find any related clinical trials that directly relate to stress as being a cause of MS. We all know stress is horrible for us. With just about every single thing I’ve learned in nursing school, from diabetes to cancer, all prevention measures repeat themselves over and over; avoid stress.

If you research the affects of stress on the brain, you will find hundreds of research articles. I’m willing to bet that in some way, stress is a huge cause of MS. Our immune system isn’t turning on it’s own vessel for no reason. I feel like when we undergo stress, our body is trying to stop the stress by killing our brain, leaving these lesions as evidence.

 

Here is my theory:

With my potential first relapse, as I’ve mentioned, I was a nursing student that had also recently given birth.( You can read my diagnosis story here). That is when I originally noticed a decline in my memory, and that is when I had my first potential relapse. Before my second relapse, I was working night shift, going straight to school afterwards, and coming home to my two babies.

Everybody knows stress is a curse to your health. I don’t think there is a single thing I have studied during my whole nursing career that didn’t mention stress as a risk factor. My theory is, autoimmune diseases are caused by stress in a way. Maybe when our bodies become so stressed, the immune system thinks we are under attack, and it begins to destroy parts of the brain as a way to become less stressed, much as in the way diabetes is more likely to occur in an individual that has a high sugar intake. The pancreas becomes so tired of making these mass amounts of insulin constantly, that it just stops.

 

Disclaimer: This is just a fun theory I came up with. I am NOT a medical professional of Multiple Sclerosis, I am a patient myself. If you have questions or concerns, please seek guidance from your doctor (:

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