Life isn’t always a leisurely Sunday afternoon walk in the park unless of course you live on a planet other than earth. We all have our ups and downs; we all have our own set of problems and reasons to be stressed out. What some of you may not know is that being stressed out for a short or long period of time can really make a person sick.
My answer to the question “Is STRESS making you sick?” is YES. What confuses me most is the fact that the heaviest of all my stress I went through was last year and this year I don’t feel as stressed out. What I’m realizing today is that you don’t have to have that “stressed out feeling” to still be under the effects of stress. I’ve been trying not to worry about things but sometimes your mind makes that decision for you. My stress began in 2009 when I learned the divorce would be happening, and that stress is still with me today. Then only months after the divorce was final I was in the hospital getting a hysterectomy with rectocele repair. This was major surgery which put me down for about 6 weeks which in turn gave me plenty of time to dwell on what I had just gone through with my marriage. While all this was going on I had started a new job after being a stay at home mom for 12 years.
Today as I sit on my couch with a 100.1 fever I am now ready to say that stress has defeated my body. I don’t want to seem like a whiner but I think it is important to let you see what stress can do when you’re not paying attention. It all started in June when I came down with shingles. It was a mild case but it put me in bed for a week! In September I went on the vacation of a lifetime with my best friend. I was sick as soon as we landed, this was supposed to be my chance to relax! I ended up in the ER with bronchitis, and double ear infections. My vacation turned out to be not very relaxing but I was still away from any problems in my life. Once I returned home I could not kick the bronchitis I had it for two months. I finally got over that and I went ice skating one night and sprained my finger, just a sprain no big deal. WRONG! I now have cysts in that joint because my body did not know how to handle that trauma. You would think at this point I would begin to realize that I need to slow down and decrease stress in my life. But I wasn’t paying attention. During the visit with my physician for the finger injury he found high blood pressure. I figured I was just nervous no big deal. WRONG! After checking it for three months it was skyrocketing. I am now on medication to keep it down. Yet another sign for me.
As I look back on all that, I can see that I was under a tremendous amount of stress! So why am I constantly getting sick now? Even though I feel like I’ve begun to put that behind me my body is telling me otherwise. Just before the holidays another stressor was added with a pending refinance that was left over from the divorce. It didn’t go as we had planned and put me right back into feeling stressed out. Shortly after the holidays I added another new job and I lost my grandmother, now we are piling grief upon the stress and throwing in fatigue just for giggles.
That brings us to today, I woke up this morning and my throat was almost closed shut! It was so swollen I could hardly swallow and breathing was difficult. I ran to the doctor’s office and was told I have a virus and bronchitis again! While looking over my file that was getting very thick the physician asked “what do you do for a living”? I wanted to pick something really stressful and important because I knew where this was heading. When I answered his question he looked so confused and said “you must just be having a bad time lately, you should go home and rest”. His polite way of saying slow the heck down!
I’ve done a little research on what happens to your body during stress. It releases a large amount of cortisol hormone which suppresses the immune system. Obviously my immune system is not working properly. So what do I do? According to the research I’ve done today I need to remove as much stress as possible and look for ways to properly deal with it when it is present in my life. I found a lot of helpful of websites that have a list of ways to reduce stress and boost your immune system. I can’t list them all so the top recommended ways are: Good nutrition, exercise, sleep, mediation, and vitamins. Sounds easy enough right? Well the key will be to try to remain calm and stress free while I”m rebuilding the immune system back up.
I will say that this blog has helped me tremendously with a creative way to deal with my stress and that has taken a lot off the body! So your probably wondering why is she telling us all this?? Well I wanted to kind of put out a warning that you many not know what stress is actually doing to your body. Take a quick body scan and if you are under stress and have recurring health problems it could be that your immune system is not functioning properly and it will be very important to find ways to build it back up in order for you to remain healthy.