In a diagnosis of mixed connective tissue disease, is it the anas alone that makes one feel crummy during flares if the other labs are normal?

Not likely so.. Antinuclear antibodies (ANA) is helpful in the innitial work-up and diagnosis of a rheamatologic disease, but ANA does not indicate the level of disease actitivies. Once positive for ana, this will always be so. The esr, crp, rf (in rhematoid arthritis) levels do correlate with disease activities and likely how you feel. U should check for thyroid, lyme, mono, depression, insomnia etc..Good luck.