Workplace Stress – Case Study

subtitle: A probiotic that is giving me a nice herx

One aspect of chronic fatigue syndrome is having stress intolerance [US Gov Job Accommodation Site], this is also an aspect of autism spectrum [US Gov Job Accomodation site]. I have both. I was very fortunate back in high school being part of a very gifted child program which included research psychologists evaluation of the selected students (only 0.3% of the students were selected. Mensa is 2%). These psychologists noticed and remarked to me, something that was very unusual for this population — I was stress-dysfunctional. Autism Spectrum was largely unknown in those days. This simple observation altered my behavior for school and subsequently for work.

The unfortunate aspect is when you provide literature to your supervisors (for example the above two links) — some do not get stress intolerance — especially in IT with individuals that function best with stress. They expect everyone to be like themselves.

I have been trying to exit such a situation for a month — especially when a neurological symptom appeared, which disappeared once I got a few days away from work. This symptom was a new one for me, but a sweet one for early warning. The symptom is nicely described as “Some patients will experience paralysis of the lower half of the face leading to drooling, change in speech quality, sagging of the corner of the mouth.” [Src]. With my model it means that metabolites being produced from the stress are impacting my neurological system.

Last Friday, the supervisor went into panic mode and hit me with too much stress (and unrelated to my actual code/work). At 10AM, I could feel a state change in the body and booked off sick for the rest of the day (and still off sick). The usual roller coaster of symptoms seen when leaving remission: difficulty understanding, quick mental fatigue, circulation issues, over a dozen bowel movements a day, tachycardia, dysregulation of blood pressure (POTS etc), atypical spells of depression, problems with sentence construction, etc.

A question arises on interventions — especially given a recent study in Cell finding that intervention after antibiotics is counter productive — how much do you attempt to fix things? I did my usual stress herb — Ashwagandha which appears to impact stress related bacteria (see this list of what it impacts). I happen to recall a recent post on human sourced probiotic mixtures — one of which contained Lactobacillus Fermentum (Post#1 and Post#2 on it) – which happens to be available at my local co-op.

I am trying to keep to few interventions – so not looking for the usual high dosages of antibiotics that I have needed in the past.

I am on day 2, I must say that I am impressed because I am experiencing the classic herx pattern for a few hours after taking it. That’s it — just sharing an observation. Every strain is human sourced, so there is some chance of some taking up residency – but regardless, it seems to be effecting change.

For a man, the above is not expected — but I wanted to have the lactobacillus fermentum.

As for myself, I have lots of sick time and unused vacation, emailed some key people on the issue, so I expect things to be healthy resolved. If not, then time to move on (putting up with stress is not a viable option).

Bottom Line

Enduring stress is not a viable option with stress intolerant conditions.