Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upsets your balance in some way. When you sense danger – whether it’s real or imagined – the body’s defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction, or the stress response. This is an evolutionary tool that kept our ancestors alive long enough to pass along our genes. Even today it has a place in our lives. In small doses stress can be a good thing. It allows us to perform under pressure or can motivate us to make much-needed changes in our daily lives. But when you’re constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price. This is because the perceived threat causes a physical reaction within the body.
This potentially life saving response has the ironic effect of also being potentially life threatening. When one perceives a threat the nervous system immediately responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones enable the body to respond to danger with emergency actions, such as fight or flight. When working properly, it helps one stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can save your life by giving you extra strength to defend yourself, for example, or spurring you to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident. But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your immune system, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your quality of life.
The body doesn’t distinguish between physical and psychological threats. When you’re stressed over finances, busy schedules, difficult work situations or disagreements your body reacts just as strongly as if you were facing a life-or-death situation. If you have a lot of responsibilities and worries, your emergency stress response may be “on” most of the time. The more your body’s stress system is activated, the easier it is to trip and the harder it is to shut off. Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, contribute to infertility, and speed up the aging process. Long-term stress can even rewire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety and depression.
Morgellons and Stress
These two go hand in hand. Aside from the physical discomfort, lack of sleep, fear of the unknown and every other thing associated with Morgellons, unrelieved stress just makes it worse. At some moments early on I was running on fear and panic. This of course just added unduly to my already heavy load. The disbelief of my family, friends and doctors just increased the negativity of my experience. The horror stories of other sufferers along with microscopic pictures of the Morgellons pathogens and wild conspiracy stories were even more fuel to an already out of control fire. On top of all of these stress factors one must add the highly touted and expensive treatments and sometimes shams and snakeoils that a newbie may unwittingly fall for.
There were many times that I was rendered almost nonfunctional and I was near a hopeless state of mind because I began carrying stress. Stress was not motivating me to make positive changes. I slowly became aware that in the midst of this affliction I had lost a certain joy for life that I had always celebrated. This was the epiphany and impetus that fortunately I was able to work through that began yielding positive results and a hard-won recovery.
Regaining Hope and Joy
I have always enjoyed music and art. I had always found creative ways to express myself up until Morgellons came into my awareness. It was a subtle change at first, then one day I realized that the little things that brought me joy were no longer important to me. I play acoustic guitar. It had always been a way to relax for me. In the beginning of dealing with Morgellons, playing my guitar and music began to slip away. I had to make a conscientious effort to play. Even then, I could not play more than five or ten minutes at a time once I began to rediscover my passions. However, I slowly was able to rediscover music. It is a valued part of my life again and I am more taken with it than ever.
My message on this post is simple. Make time and effort to cultivate the things that bring you joy. Gaining control over Morgellons’ hold on one is a challenge but it is possible. In addition to the treatments and dietary changes discussed here it is so important to retain or regain the little joys that Morgellons seems to steal from us. This is an area that you have total control of because losing hope or joy is more a part of the human factor of dealing with Morgellons. We are so much bigger than these pathogens and our will to not only survive but to prosper and celebrate life is likewise bigger. Losing these beautiful qualities of life is really relinquishing, it is not a given except when giving in.
Some Stress Relievers
Cultivating a physical past-time is an excellent stress reliever. It may get you out of the house. Sweating and building muscle tone will allow you to detox and may allow for better restful sleep. Certain activities allow a safe way to spend time with family or friends or to perhaps meet new people. These activities should be done outdoors if possible. There is a healing aspect of being in the sun and nature. I love losing myself on long walks and not having to be focused on my challenges. That is when I truly find myself without the stress, fear, doubt and other negative factors.
Rediscovering an art or an instrument that you have inadvertently set aside will help you reconnect with joy. It is even possible to express pent-up negative energy into an art form. This will help cleanse your mind and spirit while you cleanse your body.
Sharing with Others
It is so very important to have other people whom you have a bond with in your life. Morgellons, being so horrific and outlandish, can become a barrier in the relationships in one’s life. Try to remember a pre-Morgellons existence. Now try to imagine the difficulty that someone with no knowledge or experience of Morgellons would have upon learning about it. Stress from fear and panic do not help. Trying to make someone understand this nightmare may not achieve the compassion you are looking for. Each of us has our own perception of reality and some are more open to expanding it. It may be advantageous to find support on some of the more complicated issues with complete strangers that suffer from Morgellons also than with family and friends.
These connections with fellow Morgies will allow an exchange of understanding and support that will benefit everyone. These brave and kind souls can be found on some of the Morgellons message boards from the internet. Remember to be positive and supportive as we all need this.
Community service is an excellent past-time. You may need to re-examine how it is you can reach out to others in a safe and supportive way. Cultivating compassion will heal others while at the same time healing yourself. There are many ways to do this and many opportunities to perform selfless deeds. Many of us have ailing family and friends that would welcome kind gestures and actions like telephone conversations, letters or emails or volunteering for yard work and gardening. Remember in these gestures to be safe and to not overtax or burden other people with the insanity of Morgellons. Respect boundaries, both physical and mental. In reaching out to others we may find peace and friendship, two much-needed aspects of positive living. It is so important to find opportunities to embrace healing and we all have many unique qualities we can share or contribute to others.
Some Activities I Enjoy
- Photography A personal favorite past-time of mine.
- Painting Find a positive outlet for the stress you carry.
- Reading/Writing Reading is a fantastic stress reliever.
- Helping Others Start in your own circle and move outward.
- Music Playing or Listening, either will promote relaxation.
- Yard Work Great way to exercise, get some sun and help out others.
- Gardening Don’t use bone meal, compost or composted manure.
- Walks in Nature This is spectacular.
- Talking with Friends Old or new, fantastic.
- Star Gazing Awe inspiring and beautiful.
- Raw Food Preparation Newly found joy that is delicious.
- Preparing Herbal Remedies Essential oils and herbs are fascinating.
- Biking An excellent form of activity.
- Collecting Rocks or stamps, books, art, pottery etc.
This list could stretch on and on. These are only a few activities that I have reclaimed. There are a seemingly endless list of new activities that I would love to try. Remember to be safe and to listen to your body if trying something strenuous. There is something quite satisfying about the whole process of losing one’s self in something and then finding one’s self again. We all have ample opportunities to cultivate and nurture the good in others and ourselves.
Remember to be gentle with yourself and with others. Remember to celebrate the small steps and victories that others have as well as your own.
Focus on what yields results then work at it and let the fear, doubt and other negative aspects of Morgellons fall to the wayside. There is hope and joy for all of us.
Here are some photographs I’ve taken on some of my walks…
I sincerely hope you enjoy them.
Nebula (photo of a stream)
Island in the Stream...