I wondered if we could have a chat about triggers. I'm keen to identify the little gremlins that could be making things worse. So those of you who are living the life please could you share your experiences?
I've noted being overtired and hot exacerbate symptoms. However, I haven't found stress to be an obvious trigger; it may be more insiduous I suppose.
People handle stress differently. For instance, my job is highly stressful and there are days when I dont get to stop. No lunch, no bathroom breaks until Im ready to burst- definately 10 + hours at a time. I also deal with human emotion, and its always the type that is scared and in denial; therefore making job my harder then the average person who is inputting numbers or typing papers all day long.
AND I DONT ALWAYS HANDLE IT WELL.
Meaning that at the end of 2 or 3 particularly long days, Ive been known to collapase, with no feeling in my feet or hands, emotionally spent, physically spent and all over MSey feeling! I can bring on a MS attack simply by not taking care of my own needs and worrying about my job more then I should.
For others, stress is more easily managed and you wont notice it to be trigger.
For me, heat, change of seasons from hot to cold (I live in the northeast where it can be a comfortable 55 degrees one day and a high of 39 the next with wind and rain (or even snow) can bring on a MS episode, in the summers we have temps of 100 degrees with 100% humidity....but always when it is really hot and humid, I suffer. Hot showers will do the same thing to me. Ive given up hot water for life. It makes me dizzy and unreasonable.
Another big trigger for me is loud noises. Forget concerts and stadiums! Too much loud noise, even the radio or TV, can set me off where my mind just cant process it and instead I start to get angry, upset and eventually tingley...
So its a good topic - triggers. Knowing what they are and doing our best to avoid them will definately make our lives simpler. Of course listening to ourselves and paying attention is a skill which needs to be honed. Im not a good example of someone who has learned to do that.
You make me smile! Your job sounds similar to mine too! What is it you do all day? Maybe there is an MS personality......very good at dealing with others but not good at looking after ourselves.
Yes, heat seems to be a trigger I've heard about. My shower is on the cool setting and today my hair dryer too. The climate here in the UK is remarkably unpredictable.
Also I particularly note TV is not always a good way to relax; those images in the commercials move around far too rapidly. The radio (not music) I seem to manage well most of the time. Undoubtedly the peace and quiet is my favourite. I like drawing and painting; pottering in the garden; reading to relax.
Seriously, the stressful work thing is something I am going to reconsider. I may reduce the hours I work I think.
hey Lily. Yes, I do think there is a MS personality! Unforutuntely, after 4 years of this, you would think that I would have realized by now that I need to slow down. So consciously- I know it, but its not in me to DO it.
Im in marketing/sales- but its Hospice. I deal with families and terminally ill patients, so with that, its emotional. I wish I could cut back on my hours, but with me being the bread winner of my family (husband has been laid off for months) its not possible. I will also admit, Im an education junkie. Finished my MBA and started my Doctorate- and still spend way too many hours trying to "better myself'.
You mentioned painting and pottery. Im jealous. I have no use of my hand or fingers due to nerve damage. I cant draw a straight line to begin with, but now, with the MS damage, its impossible for me to do anything which involves my hands. I tend to get lost in books- of course anything not having to do with 'required reading" for school is always a good read for me! Typing for me, means voice recognition softwear....
I do love horses and riding, and since done properly, thats done with the legs, not hands- Im stil doing it. Thats my idea of escaping from everything. I try to ride a few hours a week....but it is getting cold here, and that too, will be on hold until spring.
Going back to triggers.....they work in opposite ways too you know. If you find something that relaxes you- DO IT! Whether its yoga, music, watching movies or painting....whatever makes you happy should definately be incorporated into your weekly routine. Avoiding stress is more easily handled when you have "me" time, and do what you love. The opposite of a trigger is a calm inner feeling which is GOOD for EVERYONE, not just MSers. Finding those "happy places' and being able to get there (mentally) is what helps us to counter the unavoidable MS stuff that we encounter. Does that even make sense?
Yes I the only breadwinner too. So less bread maybe well at least not very much jam on it!
The thought of losing the use of my hands is not something I'm going to think about it because I would lose so much of myself not being able to paint. I did think that if my sight failed I could scuplt! You see the MS personality may work too hard but they are resourceful flexible thinkers! So there!
Very impressed by your studying and of course it is evidence for my evolving theory on the MS personality. You job sounds exhausting but immensely worthwhile.
Sorry the horse riding is on hold until Spring; it must get very cold where you live. As you say 'me' time is important for us all; something that takes you away mentally or/and physically from it all is vital. So, will you read more? What is it you like to read? I am saving for a studio in my garden so I can work on big projects and be away from the rest of the house.
Stress is a major trigger because it generally builds like a house of cards. When it collapses, and it always does, you can be left in misery. My neuro (waaaay back in '82) told me that stress was what would send me away. I have made it a point to avoid stress as much as possible.
Temperature fluctuations are also triggers for me. Actually, in the purest sense, temperature fluctuations are stressful too because they cause stress on the body. Even in the coldest part of winter, I keep the house cool and wear layers. I add and subtract layers as needed. The past three winters I have taken to wearing a sock cap from some time in December until March because my head continually feels too cold.
Family activities can be emotional triggers which will vary according to your emotional threshold. Periods of grief can be especially taxing.
On family outings I try to store up a reserve of energy. I will start resting up before an outside activity and afterward I might take one to two days to recover. This allows you to maintain family activities and allows you to participate and not alienate.
If you keep a record or journal of your symptoms, you might be able to better clarify your major triggers; thereby, allowing you to take control of your life. My MS, I like to see it as being stored away in a locked closet. Sure there are days when it gets out, but I like to think it spends most of its time stored away!
MS diagnosed since October 3, 1982
MS onset circa 1977
Proud to be MED FREE!
Eternally blessed and eternally optimistic!<><
Yes, keeping a journal is helpful to identifying triggers. It does seem a temperature fluctuation response is a commonality between people with MS. I do like the idea of putting MS is a cupboard and locking it away; handy visual.
I think stress is likely to be a trigger; it's just I find it harder to fathom since we all have a response to stress and some stress is good. But yes I could possibly think in part this relapse I am experiencing is as a result of some alarming and sad news I had in the summer.
I certainly find preparing for events with family etc., useful too. Just get frustrated about there not being enough energy to do more!
Thanks for your contribution. I'm going to lock the MS in the cupboard and then sit on the sofa after a reasonable day.