Managing My Health Depends on Keeping Stress and Anxiety in Check

Michelle Gonzaba avatar

by Michelle Gonzaba |

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Before I ever knew what myasthenia gravis (MG) is, I had a normal amount of stress in my life. I was used to dealing with different types of anxiety each day, from “What am I going to do with my life?” to “What if my favorite TV show gets canceled?”

We all deal with stress in our own way. My old strategy was to pretend everything was OK while I went about my business. But in my new life with MG, I can’t afford to ignore my stresses and anxieties anymore. Unlike the old days, stress can now trigger much more than a headache.

At the end of each appointment, my neurologist would tell me to watch my stress levels. I always thought this was something every doctor said, because stress is bad for everyone. I took it as a general warning, and I never really paid much attention to it. But what I learned later was that as someone with MG, I need to pay much closer attention to my anxiety levels than other people do.

During my second year of teaching high school English, I was having a great time! Just kidding — I was actually stressed beyond belief. Nothing terrible happened, it was just one of those years that seemed determined to be rough.

As a teacher, I was used to being stressed out all of the time, so I wasn’t really worried about the effect it might have on my health. But one day, while eating my 2,000-calorie daily dinner, I noticed that my left eye felt heavy. The old, pre-diagnosis me would have ignored this sign like I did when I first showed symptoms of MG. The new me? Instant freakout. 

Inexplicably, I called my neurologist’s office at 8 p.m. to make an appointment. Like most offices, they were closed. I grew more panicked by the second. I knew how bad my symptoms could become, and I didn’t want to go down that road again.

Luckily, I was able to see my doctor before any other parts of my body became weak. After she cleared me of any unrelated illnesses like the flu, she questioned me about my stress levels. I explained how difficult the year was and how I couldn’t sleep because of an inability to turn off my brain.

She said stress was the culprit. “I told you to watch out for that, didn’t I?” she said.

After that experience, I learned the importance of managing stress and anxiety

It’s normal to feel anxious and scared, but you can’t let it harm you physically or mentally. We have such a limited amount of time — don’t waste it on something that gives you nothing but angst in return. 


Myasthenia Gravis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


Anil Jain avatar

Anil Jain

I had mg last 2.5 years I take immunesuppretion medicine now dr reduse my medicine by half and I'm feeling great no side effects no problem in my body

Michelle Gonzaba avatar

Michelle Gonzaba

That's amazing Anil! I'm so happy you are doing better while reducing your meds. Best wishes to you and thanks for reading!

Delora Crossley avatar

Delora Crossley

I was diagnosed with Myasthenia gravis about 15 years ago and I’m still trying to figure out how to just get up day after day. I was always go, go, go and go some more. Now nothing. I contracted Covid-19 in April 2020. Not long after I was hospitalized placed into a medically induced coma for a month, I actually died twice before I was placed into a coma. I have lost so much memory and I have trouble doing day to day life. My husband god bless him, he retired early to take care of me and I don’t know what I’d do without him. I’m also type-2 diabetic. I’ve had so many thoughts about just giving up because this isn’t living. How do I keep going? How do I make myself feel like I’m worth keeping around? A week from today my husband and I will be celebrating our 37th wedding anniversary and I no longer feel like a wife. I’m lost

Delora Crossley avatar

Delora Crossley

I didn’t know that it would go away. I was diagnosed many years ago and I’m just getting worse.
I will keep you in my prayers and hopefully you will be pain free soon.
Delora Crossley
[email protected]

Ken collier avatar

Ken collier

Stress is just stress, and as far as the body is concerned it doesn't matter whether the stress is "good" -- eg travel to visit a new born grandchild --or "bad" -- e.g. a death in the family. The body reacts the same way to both, and so the impact on our MG is the same. Or so I have experienced.

Sheila Nelson avatar

Sheila Nelson

I was diagnosed in 2009 with MG. I can honestly say that I am in remission and doing ok.
I have been in the hospital several times since Covid, but with the help of my doctors I didn’t have a relapse of MG.
I tend to push myself to get things done, I don’t move around as quickly as I used too. I do take breaks throughout the day and it may take me longer to finish the job, but I don’t give up. I take one day at a time.
Right now I thank God I can still be active with MG


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