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#11332 - 04/27/03 05:31 PM Intense emotions & my immunity system
Enigma Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/07/03
Posts: 17
Loc: California
Hi All.

It's been a few months since I've posted-- I'm a member in a 12 week closed group for male survivors, and it has been very good for me. \:\)

One of the goals I had set out for this group was being able to tap into the well of intense grief and terror/rage I know I have. In the past few weeks I have definitely found this well, esp grief. The actual grief experiences are very real and intense, but also not nearly as scary and overwhelming as I feared. So, this is still good.

Now the bad news: I get very sick after I grieve -- high fever (102+), chills, body aches, major headaches. Think bad flu and falling off a three story building at the same time.

I have found a few references to research articles that indicate some people are "high reactors" to emotional pain, and experience increased stress hormone (cortisol, catecholamine) levels and rapid division of CD8 cells (which suppress CD4 fighter cells).

I exercise regularly and take care of myself, so my immune system is usually ok. I believe that when I experience intense grief, massive amounts of stress hormones are relased, which completely overwhelms and suppresses my immune system, allowing latent or opportunistic viruses to have their way with me.

So, the equation is something like: 15 minutes of intense grief = 3 days incapaciting flu-like symptoms. This is not a good ratio. \:\(

Any thoughts on how to arrest/mitigate this process??

Thanks, SFChris


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#11333 - 04/27/03 05:34 PM Re: Intense emotions & my immunity system
Sick Puppy Offline
Member

Registered: 03/30/03
Posts: 300
Loc: Nowhere Land
Wow, I didn't know there was that sort of connection between emotional stress and physical health.

I suppose that could explain why I get sick so much. :p

I haven't much to offer in the way of suggestions, but there are perhaps some kind of supplements you could take to further strengthen your immune system.

_________________________
And one day we will die
And our ashes will fly
From the aeroplane over the sea
But for now we are young
Let us lay in the sun
And count every beautiful thing we can see


Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

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#11334 - 04/27/03 05:45 PM Re: Intense emotions & my immunity system
Marc Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/25/03
Posts: 256
Loc: Tucson, AZ
Wow!!! Revelation to me! I have been so constantly sick in the past year... low grade fevers, headaches, etc... Thought that I might have HIV even but been tested again and again and negative. I was beginning to think I was a hypochondriac. But since at least September it has been a constant amount of stress to my mind/body.

I'll be asking my T about this. Maybe between the meds, therapy and exercise that I am doing, I'll have a better year. Something to look forward to!


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#11335 - 04/27/03 06:59 PM Re: Intense emotions & my immunity system
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Quote:
Hi All.

It's been a few months since I've posted-- I'm a member in a 12 week closed group for male survivors, and it has been very good for me. \:\)
Chris welcome back been wondering about you. That group sounds really terrific--glad it helped you.

Quote:
One of the goals I had set out for this group was being able to tap into the well of intense grief and terror/rage I know I have. In the past few weeks I have definitely found this well, esp grief. The actual grief experiences are very real and intense, but also not nearly as scary and overwhelming as I feared. So, this is still good.
Interesting--a good male survivor friend & I have
been helping each other thru some intense grief lately. I've still got a lot to do. \:\(

Quote:
Now the bad news: I get very sick after I grieve -- high fever (102+), chills, body aches, major headaches. Think bad flu and falling off a three story building at the same time.
Interesting again--I do too. "Bad flu & falling off a 3 story building at the same time"--that sounds like an FM (fibromyalgia--chronic pain) attack!

Quote:
I exercise regularly and take care of myself, so my immune system is usually ok. I believe that when I experience intense grief, massive amounts of stress hormones are relased, which completely overwhelms and suppresses my immune system, allowing latent or opportunistic viruses to have their way with me.
Well I can't with my FM & Complex PTSD say that about my immune system--it's feeble. But yeah it gets worse when I really grieve--probably why I've been avoiding it--and what you're saying really makes sense.

Quote:
So, the equation is something like: 15 minutes of intense grief = 3 days incapaciting flu-like symptoms. This is not a good ratio. \:\(

Any thoughts on how to arrest/mitigate this process??

Thanks, SFChris
Wow Chris I dunno I been workin' hard at that one!

However for some ideas in some threads just recently started you could check out:

http://www.malesurvivor.org/cgi-local/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=001836

http://www.malesurvivor.org/cgi-local/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=001820

http://www.malesurvivor.org/cgi-local/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=001812

Hope something here helps.

Welcome back Chris!

Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#11336 - 04/27/03 07:13 PM Re: Intense emotions & my immunity system
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
I came across this Professors site earlier on and somewhere there I saw a paper on trauma and phsical ailments.
But I didn't look at it then and the files are huge ( on Adobe Acrobat ) and take forever to download.
But here's his homepage -

http://homepage.psy.utexas.edu/homepage/faculty/pennebaker/Pennebaker.html

Go to 'List of research articles' - and at the top of the page it says something like 'Research articles and book chapters' there's a 'this website' link.

Look down the list and you'll find -

*Petrie, K.P., Booth, R.J., & Pennebaker, J.W. (1998). The immunological effects of thought suppression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 1264-1272. An experiment that demonstrates when people try to suppress their thoughts about traumatic experiences, immune changes result.

*Pennebaker, J.W., Kiecolt-Glaser, J., & Glaser, R. (1988). Disclosure of traumas and immune function: Health implications for psychotherapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 56, 239-245. The first writing study to demonstrate that disclosure of emotional upheavals can influence immune function.

I have no idea what's there, I went into a coma waiting for the download. ;\)

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#11337 - 04/27/03 07:43 PM Re: Intense emotions & my immunity system
Enigma Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/07/03
Posts: 17
Loc: California
Victor, Dave,

Thanks much for the links; they are helpful. I'm okay with feeling awful "in the moment", it's to be expected. I just want to avoid or at least attenuate the aftermath.

Chris


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