Does Stress Make Us Sick?

This topic came up on one of the Facebook groups I participate in.  This particular group is formed of persons ( and family ) of people who have CVID (Common Variable Immuno Disorder).

From what we are learning,  CVID probably has some genetic links. However, we were discussing what ‘triggered’ the problem to become so severe that we sought out a treatment such as IGG replacement and were elated to have found it.

We also know that CVID opens the floodgates for Autoimmune diseases.  In fact, it really isn’t well understood how failure to produce one or more immunoglobulins causes so many problems: but, it does.

We all agreed that the link to stress was there and continues to be there, especially when your body is not behaving, but that it is not a simple 1:1 equation.

I wish some doctors knew or acknowledged that.

I have found over the years that there is a wall in dealing with doctors who cannot diagnose a patient and cannot completely dismiss them: for whatever reason.  Many times, these are the doctors who I believe have a hard time admitting something is just out of their league.  Invariably, these are the clinicians that blame almost all of my problems on “stress” or being too “high strung.”  (And yes, those words have come out of the mouth of physicians in my presence…. I am just “too high strung.”)

That is a sexist, stupid cop out.

I seriously doubt many men are told they are high strung.’

Yes, stress causes illness in our bodies but we are only beginning to understand how in a physiological way.  The marriage of our minds, spirits and bodies is a pretty big mystery.  A good doctor,  in my opinion, should acknowledge all of that but not abandon a patient there. They should strive to see the individual as a whole, with parts.

Idealistic talk for difficult times.  Doctors are stressed themselves and often over worked, over booked and drowning in the logistics of their own fight to maintain a small business or deal with the bureaucratic tide of paper work and journals and what not.

So, I don’t have a solution.

I think maybe having practices where mental health is integrated into physical health would be a good start: i.e. have a psychotherapist that works with your immunologist or oncologist or whatever.

Instead, we have a very patch work system of availability to mental health care.  Also, it is still stigmatized.

Where did I get off on this whole subject?  I don’t know!  But, I know that I don’t “get sick on the weekends”  (read previous blog) just because I can. It is a series of unfortunate events that are beyond my control yet may look blindingly obvious to anyone on the outside looking in.

I guess that is it.

I am tired, so very tired, of feeling guilty for being sick.  I try and try to lay that guilt down but it follows me like a ball and chain.

Moms in the prime of life don’t get sick a lot.  Certainly, they don’t have chronic, unrelenting issues.

But yes, and I do.

So I manage my stress the best I know how.  I go to the shrink lady for medications for my head and I see the therapist from time to time.  I try to take care of myself in a loving way.

That is all I can do.

That is all any one us can do.

I am sure that stress can make us sick.  But, I don’t think stressing out about stress making us sick is much help at all.

Don’t sweat the small stuff: It is all small stuff!


One Reply to “Does Stress Make Us Sick?”

  1. Very well written. I think the future of medicine will be a more holistic, body centered, world. We may just not be around long enough to enjoy the more enlightened approach. Keep thinking and writing like this, and you may just cure yourself…

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