Emotional toll

Exploring emotional toll of chronic illness.

Chronic illness and stress.

Being diagnosed with a chronic illness produces a myriad of intense and long-lasting feelings causing an emotional toll. Living with chronic pain can be very debilitating physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Whatever your partner experienced stress as an adult before becoming ill, she most certainly experienced some childhood trauma, the emotional toll it takes on your partner affects her ability to cope.

The discomfort of symptoms, isolation, financial pressure, loss of identity and meaning, strained relationships, and uncertainty about the future adds to her pain, fatigue, brain fog, and other symptoms. It also makes her more sensitive to stress than if she wasn’t ill.

It seems as if endometriosis or/and fibromyalgia reset her “stress thermostat” so the effects of any given level of stress are greater than they would be if she was a healthy person.

There’s a number of factors that may cause your partner’s stress:

  • Ongoing discomfort is debilitating and worrisome.
  • Frustration due to smaller energy envelope.
  • Stress from time alone and from feeling different.
  • Financial pressure is one of the biggest stressors.
  • Additional medical problems add to stress.
  • Strained relationships that often end.
  • Small frustrations of life often take an emotional toll.
  • Anything that requires alteration, routine, or planning.
  • Non-routine activities can also trigger flare-ups.
  • Other people’s illnesses, death in family, etc.
  • Unrealistic expectations and feelings of helplessness.
  • Uncertainty about the future.
  • Allergies or sensitivity to foods and chemicals.

Stress leads to bodily changes, they may include the following:

  • Muscle tension (especially in head, neck & shoulders)
  • Feeling anxious or nervous
  • Moodiness
  • Feeling depressed
  • Nervous movement (e.g. tapping fingers or feet)
  • Irritability
  • Sleep problems (trouble falling asleep or staying asleep)
  • Grinding teeth or clenching jaw
  • Increase in ME/CFS or FM symptoms.