|Posted on February 24, 2018 at 4:10 PM|
Stress is a chemical and physical process that happens inside our brains and bodies.
Stress just happens - you don't actually feel the hormones in the body changing due to events throughout your day. What you do feel is the cumulative effect of the changes inside your brain and body. Stress is actually necessary to perform at work with deadlines, to run from a tiger or escape a scary situation. But stress on top of stress, left to run its course inside your body becomes a problem.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Indeed, stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior. Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can give you a jump on managing them. Stress that's left unchecked can contribute to health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Apr 28, 2016. For further information on how stress affects your body here is a Mayo Clinic article.
There are eight types of stress and only one is good stress, but no matter the source of the stress your body will react the same way with the stress response. Living in the stress response causes your bodies hormones to be out of balance and starts to create subtle changes, like changes in sleep patterns, eating patterns, mental fog, poor energy, food cravings, weight gain and so forth. If the stress continues, these subtle changes can turn into much larger problems and possibly diseases.
My Personal Account of Stress
For me, my stress came from a poor work environment and being bullied at work. I loved my career and helping patients in their health journeys. For years my health was up and down with injuries at work, colds, the flu, etc. but I just figured I was burning the candle at both ends. I was a function stress-aholic.
Have you ever felt this way? That life was just busy, with work, social, activities, family and being injured or getting sick was just normal. I felt this way and was not aware that stress was destroying my health.
I would get up, go to work and be exposed to bullying. Day in, day out for years I was in chronic stress response; experiencing occupational asthma (losing my voice and having wet breathing by mid-day), kidney stones, chronic fatigue, shingles, pneumonia, chronic pain, bowel issues (presumed to be gallbladder related, but really was IBS), dizziness, nausea, migraines, etc. By the time I got home, some of these issues resolved. But as time went on I was not sleeping - most nights I got 1-2 hours of sleep. I would sleep through my alarms, get out of bed and stagger across the room due to dizziness and likely lack of sleep. I was exhausted both physically and mentally and yet still tried to continue to work, as this was my career and I was passionate about helping my patients along their journeys.
Through all of my struggles I thought that I could do better, be better, if only I could get a break! I took a temporary part time position to try to cope with my health issues. During this time I had gallbladder surgery, could now sleep at night and felt that now I would be back to normal health, whatever that was. However, after returning to work my health continued to get worse to the point that I was sleeping 23 hours per day.
I couldn't get out of bed most days and if I did, it was to move to the living room sofa to nap all day. I had to set alarms to make it anywhere - even for afternoon doctor appointments. With my gallbladder pain resolved, this is when my family doctor started looking for other reasons for my chronic pain and fatigue. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, which started me on a journey of learning. Along the path I ended up seeing a Rheumatologist who confirmed the Fibromyalgia (FM) and also diagnosed me with Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA). I previously had the diagnoses of Asthma, Osteoarthritis, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and later it was determined I had Carpel Tunnel Syndrome (in both hands) and an Adjustment Disorder, on top of the FM and PsA. I then had 2 car accidents which had caused much pain and discomfort in my low back, hip and neck.
It has been a full time job discovering tools to manage stress and health. Attending appointments, doing the requested stretching, exercises and self-management is never ending and quite frankly a full-time job.
Every day is a new day. Not many people in my life understand my exhaustion or pain level.
On the outside I may look young (43) and healthy but if you look closely you can see that I limp, the deep breathing, sighs, pain in my eyes, my gaze to the ground to re-center and me touching or rubbing areas of my body to try to seek any relief.
Doing activities does not mean there is no pain or fatigue. The outer appearance of a person is not the best sign of health issues, especially chronic pain and fatigue. There are the things that people cannot see that impact a person on a mental and physical level and leave a person frustrated and exhausted. These other factors that are subtle or unknown unless a person shares what they are going through, may include, but are not limited to IBS, headaches, mental fog, difficulty formulating and spelling word, difficulties coping with change, mood swings, anxiety, feeling stuck, sad, and just plain fatigued.
Stress is normal and can actually motivate and drive you to do better and achieve more, but when you are over-stressed that is when your body starts sending messages of distress. If you are looking to seek a Life-Stress Balance there are ways to start your journey of identifying, managing and where possible, eliminating stress from your life.
If you would like to find out which supplements I have personally tested out to get me off the majority of my medications, feel free to email me at email@example.com
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Can you relate to being over-stressed? Having health issues that have affected your work, life, relationships? Feel free to leave a comment to share your story or reach out by email. I personally reply to all comments and emails.