stress and myositis

Stress and Myositis

We know we cannot avoid stress; it is simply a part of everyday life. Whether it is stress over our finances, relationships, work, or our health, or the health of a loved one.  Stress can take a toll on our body, even more so for those of us that have a chronic illness like Myositis or any other autoimmune disease. So what does stress do to our health?

It has been proven many times over that stress may lower our immune system,  cause disease, and increase inflammation.  With this knowledge, how do we decrease or better cope with the amount of stress in our lives?

There are multiple ways of coping with stress, both positive and negative in nature.  Some negative ways are keeping our emotions bottled up, using drugs and alcohol as a stress reliever, and so on.  But we want to focus on the positive ways we can manage and cope with stressors.

Some positive ways to help reduce stress

  • Avoid people who seem to stress you (when you can).
  • Learn to say NO when you are overworked or being taken advantage of.
  • Express your feelings rather than keeping them inside.
  • Compromise when possible and focus on positive thinking.
  • Try to adjust your schedule to better manage your time.
  • Learn to forgive others and to forgive yourself as we may feel guilty for trying to focus on our own needs.
  • Keep a journal to help release your emotions.
  • Try and connect with friends and family to talk through some of the issues that are stressing you.
  • And, of course, try and eat healthy and get a good night sleep.

While the list above is only a start, some of these we tend to forget about as we live busy lives filled with people who want this and that.  We have to try and focus on our health as Myositis can easily become worse, in my experience, when we are overstressed and unfocused.

For me, stress management has been an ongoing process, moving from one issue to the next. In most situations, I try to learn how to adjust.  Some situations are obviously more difficult than others.

So what have been my major stressors lately? The year 2012 was a trying time for me and for my family.  My Father passed away, my grandmother passed away, my step-father had a major heart attack, my Mom was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer with mets to the brain and my partner’s grandmother, who was just like my own, passed away. My cousin who is the same age as me was diagnosed with cancer and two of my uncles also passed away.  It felt as though 2012 truly was the end of my world.  So what did I do?

The stress of losing a loved one is difficult.  The stress of losing so many in one year is downright unbearable.  So what I did was try to remain focused on each situation and make peace with myself and let myself grieve.  I did not turn to negative thinking, as easy as it would have been.  I tried hard to remain positive and to also learn from these situations.

How do you manage stress in your life?

Okay, enough about me.  What I would love to hear is your comments on how you handle stressful situations.  What techniques do you use?  Meditation, massage, journaling? How does stress affect your Myositis?



Jerry Williams, the Founder and President of MSU, was diagnosed with Polymyositis in 2003 at the age of 27. Since his diagnosis, Jerry has made it his mission to help others living with the rare disease, Myositis. To this effort, Jerry is involved in many different aspects such as education, writing, helping support and answer questions from patients and caregivers, social networking and website development, and much more. (NOTE: Some things are posted under Jerry Williams but he is not the true author. This is because he manages the website.)

View more information: Jerry Williams

  1. Jerry Williams 5 years ago

    HI Karen and thank you for joining us! So sorry you have to go through all of this mess.
    I know, once I got down to 20 mg, my doctor started first by decreasing by 5mg’s until I got down to 10 and then did 1mg at a time to prevent any adrenal issues or cushings.

    Be sure to check out our Facebook Support Group: Polymyowhat: Understanding Myositis. It is a great group of over 120 people just like us!

  2. Karen Brown 5 years ago

    Thank you for being out there. I was diagnosed in June, 2013 with Polymyositis. Although I never had the biopsy that the doctor ordered. I did not need to have any other expensive test to give me a diagnosis, I had every symptom. The treatment would be identical whether or not I had the biopsy, so I have not done it. I wanted to treat the disease with diet. The rhuemotlogist told me that would not work. You fill me with hope! I am doing the Paleo diet, and am on 50 mg of Predsisone daily. I plan on tapering off slowly. Do you know of a safe taper schedule below 20 mg?

    Thanks for sharing your story, so others do not feel so alone.

    Karen Brown

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