The Physical and Emotional Toll of Steroids

My last neuromyelitis optica (NMO) attack was roughly eight years ago. It was my most terrifying attack yet. At that point my right eye suffered a lot from an ignored NMO flare up. For me it’s pretty useless now. I knew I had to go to hospital, and get the steroids again that brought my vision back every time.

But this time they did not work at all. This lead to a plasma infusion which did help it, but could not heal it fully. Also during this, my doctor had me on steroids for a total of a year.

A year of mental health struggles

Something about mental health and the past came up recently. I was having a conversation with a friend and the topic of anxiety came up. Within this chat it was starting to really become clear on what I think happened to me and why I feel it has changed me into who I am now.

There is no proof, but I was on steroids for a whole year and I believe it had negative effects on me.

It was honestly a year from hell. I was a ticking bomb most days. Others never knew what side of me they would get at any second of the day. My emotions were a true struggle and brought me to some of the darkest days and thoughts I ever had. It was rough for anyone around me. Friends, family, partner, and work all dealt with it.

Steroids side effects

Outside of my broken emotions, my body went through changes once I was on steroids. From weight gain and acne to a surplus of ear wax and lack of sexual interest. Tack on some depression and my body took a brutal beating. I’d gain weight and then starve myself and not lose a pound and would start eating again.

During that year, it felt like I had no control over my actions. I was numb and life just was slowly going by.

Job anxiety

Then came the anxiety when I went back to work. I had no desire to be back, I was back to get a check. I was back to make money to keep on living.

My job worked with me on switching stores so it would be easier for me to get there since driving wasn’t really an option. I did drive for a month which was truly a death wish. I had no right to drive. Even though it was literally up one road, it was not smart. The stress everyday if I’d make it to work or not amused me.

Besides the drive, I had to be in a different mall at the start of the busy holidays. That made me cry. I lost my phone in a packed department store and cried in a changing room. The back room of my store was my only safe zone from the chaos.

That one month felt like an entire year in slow motion. I never had issues being in a crowded room. If anything it gave me life, but suddenly I was deeply afraid.

A work in progress

Through all of this, I became someone new. A homebody who makes choices based on how busy a place may be. Someone who is embarrassed by the changes his body went through with NMO and steroids.

Should I completely blame the steroids? No, that would be unfair. But I often felt like giving up.

Since that year I have slowly gotten some things under control. By no means am I thrilled with my weight but it’s a slow work in progress. My skin has forever been damaged and is only getting worse. But a lot of these issues just became part of my daily life. I've settled in and come to terms in more ways that I thought. I can only do so much to help it and can’t stress like I used to.

This conversation was just so eye opening. I just wish I had the strength then like now to be vocal and share. Some life paths could have changed drastically if I had shared more.

But in a way I’m glad it went the way it did. I probably would not have ended up with my little furry angel and that would have been really sad. Finding just one positive to a huge negative is all you need sometimes.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

Treatment results and side effects can vary from person to person. This treatment information is not meant to replace professional medical advice. Talk to your doctor about what to expect before starting and while taking any treatment.
This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

Have you shared with our community?