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  • Stress and eyes...

    Hi everyone. I have not posted for a while because I have been doing well, that is until about three weeks ago, when my eyes started acting up again. Every time I have a flareup, I feel like it hits me harder. Every time, I am afraid that if is the beginning of something even worse. I have also noticed that my flareups are worse if I am stressed, which I am. I am dealing with issues regarding my elderly parents, along with some other emotionally -charged things, and I am once again feeling like I am at my limit. Once again, suicidal thoughts are creeping in, and that troubles me deeply.

    I am wondering if any of you have noticed a connection between stress and symptoms? Do your symptoms seem worse, or harder to bear, in times of stress? How do you cope?

    Thank you for helping...

  • #2
    Trying2StayHopeful I'm strongly in the camp that stress affects all facets of your health. If I can make a simple recommendation, I've had great success with using apps designed to release stress through breathing techniques. There's a free version of an app called Headspace. It requires very little effort and time, can be done on your schedule and only requires a chair, a quiet space and some ear buds. It's designed to regulate breathing which, according to my therapist, more and more studies on stress and anxiety ultimately revert back to how we breathe. It regulates the chemicals in our brains that keep us balanced. It's not a cure all but definitely worth a shot.

    All the best,

    CJ

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    • #3
      Thank you, CJ L. I will try that. I truly hate feeling like this. By nature, I am an anxious person, though I manage it well and usually seem pretty cheerful. Feeling suicidal is not at all my norm, so I have to get out of this swamp I am in.

      Comment


      • #4
        I hate the way I feel and I hate myself.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Trying2StayHopeful View Post
          I am wondering if any of you have noticed a connection between stress and symptoms? Do your symptoms seem worse, or harder to bear, in times of stress?
          I don't sleep well when I'm stressed, and the lack of sleep definitely makes my eyes worse. There are other plausible reasons (see below) why stress can worsen symptoms, too.

          Originally posted by Trying2StayHopeful View Post
          How do you cope?
          Here are some of the ways...

          1.
          Originally posted by CJ L. View Post
          Trying2StayHopeful I'm strongly in the camp that stress affects all facets of your health. If I can make a simple recommendation, I've had great success with using apps designed to release stress through breathing techniques. There's a free version of an app called Headspace. It requires very little effort and time, can be done on your schedule and only requires a chair, a quiet space and some ear buds.
          Trying2StayHopeful I second this. This app is incredible, and well worth your time (even if you start out like I did, completely skeptical). There is a growing body of research showing the benefits of meditation for the reduction of pain, stress, depression, and so on... so it's definitely worth adding to your list of things to try. I aim for 10 minutes twice a day (once during the day, and once at bedtime)... if my mind is really wound up, I'll increase my meditation time to 20 minutes at bedtime (and also during the day if I have time).

          Also, stress can make any pain associated with your dry eye worse.

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28225710

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4795524/

          Finally, there are plausible theories of how stress can increase inflammation in the body - and since inflammation worsens dry eye, it makes sense to think that reducing stress might help reduce symptoms of dry eye. I'm definitely NOT suggesting stress reduction is all that's needed (we all know that's not true for most of us)... but it can be one of many strategies that we can use to contribute to improvement of our dry eye (and every little bit counts!)

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5476783/

          https://chopra.com/articles/chronic-stress-and-inflammation-the-hidden-culprits-behind-disease-and-how-to-eliminate
          <- not a study, but an interesting article on the topic of stress and inflammation

          2. Another way I cope with the mental side of this is trying to set aside some time each day to spend outdoors in nature. As little as 10 minutes with the sun on my face makes a difference to my mood. Sometimes I'll take a long walk (to a park, green space, or the beach... depends on what the options are in my area)... other times, I'll just go up to the roof of our apartment building and lie in the sun for a bit (I bring a padded mat to lie down on), listen to the birds, watch the clouds, and maybe meditate as well. It's a simple thing, but it helps calm my mind when I'm really struggling with my eyes.

          3. Exercise

          4. Watch or listen to something funny every day (ex. comedy specials on Netflix, or silly videos that pop up in my Facebook feed).

          5. Avoid negative people. Avoid people who second guess everything you say about your eyes. Avoid people who are not 100% supportive. I know we can't avoid such people all the time, but I try to keep exposure to a minimum.
          Last edited by SAAG; 12-Mar-2019, 04:35.
          Yet another post-Lasik (2005)...
          Anyone have a time machine so I can go back and undo this mess?

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          • #6
            Thank you, SAAG. I started meditation last night. I think I really have a problem with my anxiety, and I am sure it is not helping my eyes. Also, in reflecting upon why my eyes are flaring up, it occurred to me that while I was on my good streak, I stopped compresses and lid cleaning, other than a cursory rinse in the morning. I also stopped sleeping with my sleep mask. Recently, it has gotten very dry here...I wonder if that dry air, combined with my discontinuation of my lid maintenance, has led to my flareup? To clarify, my issue is lid-related. My eyeballs aren't causing me discomfort, but my eyelids feel uncomfortable and possibly inflamed. I used compresses again yesterday, and while my eyes still feel yucky, they are a little better today.

            The meditation did feel good last night. My eyes actually felt calmer after doing it. I will try to stick with this.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Trying2StayHopeful View Post
              Also, in reflecting upon why my eyes are flaring up, it occurred to me that while I was on my good streak, I stopped compresses and lid cleaning, other than a cursory rinse in the morning. I also stopped sleeping with my sleep mask. Recently, it has gotten very dry here...I wonder if that dry air, combined with my discontinuation of my lid maintenance, has led to my flareup?
              All of that absolutely could be a contributor. Add them all back to your routine... and the next time you decide to stop any of it, stop 1 thing at a time and assess what happens to your eyes over the month that follows... if they get worse, add that thing back... if they stay the same, then maybe you can quit that thing... repeat one at a time for all things you're thinking of removing from your routine. You may also find that you have to use more treatments to remain functional and comfortable during dry times of the year, but can slack off a bit during more humid times of the year... it takes some experimenting to figure this stuff out.


              Originally posted by Trying2StayHopeful View Post
              The meditation did feel good last night. My eyes actually felt calmer after doing it. I will try to stick with this.
              Awesome - I'm so glad to hear it!

              I'm a complete convert to meditation now... I spent my entire life thinking only "spiritual" or "religious" or "people who are into woo woo stuff" will get anything out of it.

              I am now convinced I was totally wrong about it and that ANYONE - no matter what belief system they have - can benefit, and the science backs this up. :-)

              My eyes are really screwed up thanks to LASIK surgery... and while I don't think I'll ever be normal in terms of my eyes, maybe I can be just as happy as normal people despite my eye problems, if I work on my mind. And one thing for sure - when my mind is calmed by meditation, I sleep better - and improved sleep has ALWAYS made my eyes feel better than they do when I'm awake half the night stressing out.

              Next on the agenda: learning Jedi mind tricks (just kidding!) ;-)
              Yet another post-Lasik (2005)...
              Anyone have a time machine so I can go back and undo this mess?

              Comment

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