MS Fatigue and Stress

The past couple of weeks, my MS fatigue has been particularly severe. I simply can’t express my degree of total frustration regarding this completely debilitating symptom.

It’s so inaccurately designated as “fatigue.” It is nothing like what healthy people are referring to when they say that they feel tired. This symptom is all-encompassing: physically, cognitively, and emotionally.

There’s definitely a bi-directional effect between increased stress and heightened MS fatigue. Recently increased psychosocial stressors in my life have triggered a definite worsening of my MS fatigue. In turn, experiencing more severe fatigue enhances my overall stress level.

My increased stress subsequently worsens my fatigue, and so on and so forth. Yet again, this is another classic example of the vicious cycles that are not infrequently experienced by those who have chronic illness, especially autoimmune forms of illness.

Unlike someone who is healthy, my body has innate physiological limitations to responding to increased stress levels. In no way does this mean that I am somehow detective in coping adequately when faced with heightened stress levels.

As I’ve said before, I do definitely enjoy the multiple advantages that are associated with looking relatively healthy. So many times, however, I’ve wished that others could comprehend the gravity of my MS fatigue. It’s exceptionally masked by how I look.

There is absolutely no area of my life that has not been negatively impacted by this pervasive symptom. Even after so many years of living with relapsing-remitting MS, it remains daunting to try to face each new day with enthusiasm and gratitude.

Debilitating exhaustion profoundly permeates our perception of every type of experience. Simple tasks feel overwhelming difficult to try to accomplish; enjoyable experiences are diminished in magnitude when you’re experiencing exhaustion.

I have often thought of all that I have managed to accomplish, despite dealing with ongoing fatigue. There’s an enormous chasm between what I want to do, versus what I am actually capable of doing, each and every day of my life. Please let that stark reality fully sink in.

I’m not experiencing these limitations for a relatively short period of time, such as is the case when you develop the flu. Knowing that my diagnosis is chronic remains daunting to accept. I can’t help but wonder what I might have been able to accomplish without the profound influence of MS fatigue.

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