Stress and Toxic Emotions Impact My Sarcoidosis

Athena Merritt avatar

by Athena Merritt |

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It’s easy to feel grateful when everything is going your way, but when you hit a rough patch, it helps to count your blessings.

Stress has a clear impact on health and was the last thing I needed, but life’s problems arrive unexpectedly. Over the past two weeks, I received a harsh reminder that how I weather life’s problems takes a toll not only on my health but also on my emotional well-being. 

An emotional meltdown

Patience isn’t one of my strengths, but in trying to resolve a recent problem, I exercised that muscle. When the issue started affecting my health, however, my emotions went into overdrive, triggering my fight-or-flight response.

The joys of socializing and living in the moment fueled by my hiatus from Twitter fell by the wayside, as did my motivation to read and tackle the more challenging aspects of my healthcare.

Toxic emotions — even a brief episode of anger — can take a toll on your health. I was lost in my emotions for weeks, and as a result, I ate less, slept less, enjoyed things less, and experienced an increase in headaches, dizziness, asthma symptoms, and digestive issues.  

Moving on from stress

I would probably still be barreling down the same destructive, emotional path if not for two words offered by my boss: “Just breathe.” In that moment, I realized that as someone who has battled sarcoidosis for nearly two decades, it is a blessing each day that I can breathe. If any person or situation interferes with my health or enjoyment of life, I must move on, whatever the cost. 

Regaining control of my life

My decision to stop fighting a losing battle freed me from the toxic emotions that were taking over my life. Instead of fixating on the cause of my misery, I focused on mapping out a variety of options. I replaced anger with optimism by giving myself actionable steps toward a solution. Even when they didn’t pan out, it felt good to be doing something other than sitting idly by and feeling helpless.

Studies have shown that positivity can go a long way in improving not only your mood but your health as well. When I’m faced with the next hurdle in life, I’ll be more mindful of my emotions.


Note: Sarcoidosis 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. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.


Joyce Marin avatar

Joyce Marin

Thank you for sharing your story & especially highlighting Sarcoidosis in general! I have a rare & chronic form; bone, bone marrow & brain involvement and it's frustrating when it's taken over 15 yrs to finally be getting the medical attention needed & to also taken seriously! Thanks again!
Joyce M

Athena Merritt avatar

Athena Merritt

Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and share your story. It's unfortunate that it took so long for you to be diagnosed. I hope now you will receive the care you need to best manage your sarcoidosis. Wishing you the best. Always remember you are not alone. We are a community fighting alongside you! Athena

Kris avatar


Great advice. I too have noticed that cutting out stress greatly helps my Sarcoidosis. Sometimes that means cutting out people in your life that generate the stress which can include family. In my case my own father refused to believe there was anything wrong with me and basically accused me of faking even though I had numerous doctors reports. That basically ended our relationship and I never saw him again even when he was on his deathbed. I have experienced more compassion from strangers.

I also stay away from divisive conversations like politics. I have to concentrate on my health because no one else will if I don't.

Athena Merritt avatar

Athena Merritt

So true. I've experienced the same. As difficult as it is, especially when it's family members, I too find that cutting them out of my life or limiting contact is the best course of action for my overall health and happiness. Thank you for your insightful comment.


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