Stress is a funny little thing that we all have blinders on about. We don’t even realize all the little ways that we get stressed out everyday. Someone cuts you off in traffic, you stub your toe, you daughter throws a fit, your girlfriend breaks up with you, your tire blows out on the freeway, you’re late for work, you spill coffee on your white blouse, sitting in rush hour traffic, a client lets out their frustration on you, a kid calls you a name in school, you get humiliated in front of a group of people, your bank account is lower than you’d like, you’re late paying your taxes, your credit card is maxed out, the divorce is final, the guy you like isn’t calling you back… and those are only 16 of a billion ways you could feel a rise in your stress levels.
Ok, you say, maybe I get stressed out sometimes…so?
I’ve been there.
Most of us fix things only when they are broken. Hopefully you take care of your car – many do not. Hopefully you take care of your home – many do not. What’s worse, is most do not take care of their bodies. Oh yes, I’m a fan of shows like The Biggest Loser. I am fascinated how someone chooses to not take an ounce of control and get to a point where they risk death rather than take control. How?!?!?!
Well, I’ll tell you how. I’ve almost been there.
When I was in high school I had an enormous amount of stress on my little shoulders. I had almost no friends, I loathed lunchtime, I dreaded every day going to school, I was the epitome of stress. Guess what happened? Within 2-3 years once I turned 17, that stress caught up to me and I was in and out of the hospital getting tests done and being prescribed medication for intense stomach aches. The doctor’s never gave me an official verdict – the closest we got was like a terrible acid reflux case. Once I graduated high school, within a month or two, ALL symptoms magically disappeared!
When I was 21 I, again, had an enormous amount of stress. Funny how we can’t just learn the lesson the first time, eh? I was working 100+ hour weeks since it was the busy season at the company I worked for. Guess what happened? I was exhausted all the time and felt like every ounce of life was being sucked out of me. I had nothing left to give. I was diagnosed with Epstein Barr, or better known as Chronic Fatigue. This time I managed to completely drain out my adrenal glands and my body had no adrenaline left to get me through the day. Once I left that position and stopped working those hours, the symptoms disappeared.
When I was 26 I, once again, had an enormous amount of stress. Although, this time was the real ringer. You should know that while this sounds pretty ridiculous (why didn’t I learn??)… I was learning and I did make changes. Those changes just weren’t as radical as they needed to be, and sometimes “Life happens” and things are our of our control. On this occasion, I was placed into one of those impossible situations that was lose-lose. The details are not to be shared and they don’t really matter in terms of the point of this story. But I can say that I endured more stress than I think any human should.
Guess what happened 2 weeks after all of that stress ended? I was sitting at my desk one day and broke out in hives. I was in the ER two days in a row trying to control the outbreak. The next month was spent on lots of different kinds of medications, doing every test you can imagine, seeing new doctors every week – all trying to figure out a) what happened, b) the severity, and c) what could control everything that was happening. I didn’t get that severity of outbreak again, but if I missed even one day of medication, I would be right back where I started. At one point I was being tested for cancer. At 26. They had to test 3 times, each time was a wait anywhere from 2 weeks to 16 weeks. I did not have cancer, phew. The story goes on to the doctors not knowing the cause (they never say it’s stress of course – I have my own theories about this), me doing every DIY experiment I could think of, yada yada, tapering off most of the medication. I am still on one form of medication and still in the process of my next latest experiment.
I personally believe, it was stress. Sure, maybe something else added to that which caused the reaction in all 3 instances. No one will ever know for sure. But I started to see a pattern. I would endure a ton of stress, then something major would change in my body causing a lot of pain and a lot of damage to my autoimmune system (which is the most precious, sensitive, backup system your body has – if you damage this, you’re in serious trouble).
These are all things I have never shared with the public, and probably never will again. So why am I now? Because there are TOO MANY OF YOU out there following in this same pattern and you don’t realize what could happen.
My hope is that by sharing this, you can identify the things in your life that are causing stress. You do NOT have to live in a way that causes stress – telling yourself it’s ok because you need this job to get income, or you need this relationship because you hate being alone. The excuses give you one result… read above for the results I had. And I am soooo not alone. There’s a reason 175,000,000 web pages come up in Google when you search for “stress”.
Today was all about identifying what is causing us stress. Stay tuned because in my next post scheduled for Thursday, I will give you solutions including healthy outlets for stress. Stay with me and let’s learn this lesson for good together…