Calm, Cool, and Almost Collected


calmSince my last post dealt with realizing the amount of physical pain that can come along with stress,  I had better follow-up with talking about the stillness that can come following acceptance.

It was not easy for me to grab onto the diagnosis of stress induced nerve damage, it’s not something that is frequently talked about and I had never really heard of it before.  I figured I had two options, shut up and deal with it or argue.  Since I have been searching for three years for the cause of my symptoms I decided I will just shut up and deal, starting with some positive life changes.

I sat down to make a list of things that I thought would help to alleviate some of the stress, but these had to be things that I could actually control.  Of course I would love to say, erase all debt and make me pain free…There! done! stress gone.   That list is the pretend list cause those things are out of my control.  Yes I can work on my lowering my debt but erasing it all is a complete fantasy.  I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with a long list of things to start with so I wrote just a couple and within a weeks time I have been able to make those changes.  The first was to get extra rest.  I decided to make a cut off time every night where I would sit down, decompress and relax.  I would do this with enough time before I actually went up to bed so that once I was ready to sleep, the thoughts of my day would be done and my mind would be able to rest.  I ended up sleeping 12 hours two nights in a row!  I changed my schedule only slightly, doing some of my weekend morning things in the evening, so that if my body wanted to sleep in I would not be missing anything I needed to do.

The second item was to work on changing my thoughts when they drifted to a place that would cause me anxiety.  This meant any anxious thought that popped into my head at any time.  I knew this would be more difficult than the first item would be and would take more effort on my part.  With comments from my counselor we agreed that when these moments came I needed to first take a deep breath to settle myself, then figure out what caused the thoughts.  What was I doing in that moment that prompted it?  Once I have that information, decide is this something I need to be doing, if not then it would be the last time, but if it is then what do I need to do in order to complete that task without raising my stress level?   So far so good that part is going to take some training but I am confident that I learn to master it.rest

All in all I would say I had a productive week and completed my first step to learning how to alleviate stress that is in my life and/or caused by life.  We will never be totally free of stress and I can attest to the fact that traumatic events will cause stress to linger a lot longer than we ever thought possible.  Learning how to cope so that it does not get to the point of causing us physical harm is vital to our wellbeing.

Do you have any suggestions on being calm, cool and collected when surviving stress?  Please share.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

6/23/14

Related blogs/links

Oceans, Hillsong United

Anxiety, A Life Less Physical

Stress Management (AKA the silent Killer), Real Living

Limits And Stress, QuirkyJuice

The Power of Stress


stressI’m back!!!  It feels like forever since I did my last post.  I’m sorry I was gone for so long but life was weighing me down a bit and I needed to focus, well I tried to focus anyway.

In a couple of past posts I mentioned my health was not that great and I’ve also talked about how stress can make you sick.  Well, I’ve been finding out lately that I totally underestimated the power stress has over the human body.  Unfortunately it looks like it has taken me three years, five neurologists, and roughly $25,ooo.oo to be told that my divorce has possibly made me sick.

This isn’t a topic I’m thrilled about and I’m even embarrassed to speak about it, but I feel it is extremely important that reader’s know how crucial it is to seek help even if you don’t think you are suffering from emotional stress.  Anyone who has been through a trauma, be it physical, emotional, or mental is at some point going to suffer some ill effects.

I don’t want to whine or bore you with the details so I’ll just give you the short version.  The last three years I’ve been dealing with constant pain, and I’ve been tested for everything including MS.  The good news (I like to pick out the positive) that we found some  minor things that I will need to follow with easy remedies like taking a baby aspirin every day.  I’ve sampled a buffet of meds along the way and we finally found one that took the pain level from a 7 down to a 4, which is awesome! but I was still looking for a concrete answer.  My final and next step was to seek out information on a chronic pain treatment program.  I was pretty upset knowing that we would never find the cause of the pain but if we could somehow treat it or eliminate it that would be the answer to my prayers. So off to the consult I went.

After telling my life story AGAIN in an exam room the doc very gently scooted his stool over and said “I’m gonna tell you some things you don’t want to hear”.   First, he said the amount of wine I was relaxing with every night is excessive for women, (why is it different for women than men??) and that it can make the nerve pain worse.  Ok, so step one ditch the red wine.  (Done!) Ok, so then he asked me if I thought he could give me an answer for the pain, I told him all I was after at this point was treatment but if he could shed some light to go right ahead.  That’s when he said that he thinks its stress and anxiety induced nerve pain, or nerve damage caused from STRESS!!

All I heard in my head was that I was causing my own pain…oh I was so mad at myself, but I needed to remain calm so I didn’t cause myself any more pain, that would be counterproductive.  I tried to think back to other times when I had stress in my life, to see if I remembered feeling any physical pain.  I couldn’t come up with an instance but I did remember feeling tired and sick.

Think about it, people who are grieving or upset generally end up feeling sick.  Some people have stress induced headaches, others stomach ulcers, some have panic attacks.  When our bodies cannot handle the anxiety it doesn’t know what to do, so it comes out in other ways.  For me it attacked my nerves.  Not feeling well, produced stress; medical bills produced more; no answers and fear of scary disorders produced even more.  I thought I had taken care of myself by seeking counseling after the divorce, and I was getting regular check ups, one of which showed high blood pressure for the first time.  If I look back now that is most likely how my body first started responding to the anxiety and stress of my situation.

Ladies, and gents I ask you to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, don’t ignore signs and symptoms of emotional stress especially if you are feeling physical symptoms.  It can be anything from a headache, stomach ache, feeling anxious, fatigue, etc.  Google emotional stress symptoms and a long list will pop up.

I am hopeful that the chronic pain program will be beneficial to my pain. We are also looking into vitamin levels and I’ve already had to begin supplementing two of them.  Between that and staying away from the red wine I am sure to be on the road to recovery, however long it may be.  I’ve begun to implement ways to decompress and teaching myself how to relax.  Things like yoga videos, and walking the dog on a nice day have been beneficial so far.  Lighting aroma therapy candles, and relaxing with chamomile tea at night have also been helpful.  There are many ideas for relaxation online, next on my list is guided imagery a few nights a week just to learn how to breathe without being stressed! relaxed frog

Ok, now that I got all that off my chest, It feels good to be back at the laptop sharing my words in the hopes to inspire or just let other’s know that you are not alone!  We are all in this together! 🙂

Has stress had a long-term effect on your health?  Please share.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

6/16/14

Related Links/Blogs:

Emotional Stress Causing What Health Problems

The Effects Of Stress Overload

How Stress Effects Your Health

Sick with Worry: How thoughts affect your health

 

Waging War With Emotions


picking-yourself-upWhat happens when you are at war with your feelings, emotions and inner self?  Someone has to win and lately I feel like I am not in the driver’s seat when it comes to my feelings.   As a survivor of a huge loss, I know there will be periods of up and down and even some all around days, but this time I am growing angry because I have found myself in one of those moments.

I know I can’t speed my healing along, however there are times when I really don’t want to be feeling the way I am, this week has been one of those times.  Tomorrow marks an anniversary of a big step that my ex took in his new relationship and it is eating away at me from the inside out.  I have blogged about this topic before in a post I did two years ago on the actual day. ( Sometimes Broken Can Be Beautiful)  I talked about how I had survived a day that I thought was going to be extremely painful but circumstances of MY day led me in a different direction.  So why now?  Why this week a couple of years later am I feeling like it just happened?

I’ve been trying to analyze the circumstance to see why it is so upsetting to me, other than the obvious of course.  I haven’t been much help to myself in thinking about it so I’m trying to rationalize it but I’m not having luck there either.  If I look at the senses that contribute to memory I come up empty.   I do not have a visual memory nor did I actually hear what was going on in the moment; it’s not like I could touch or smell anything from that day either.  I’m still left with the big WHY?

How is this memory, that is not mine in the first place, able to be so haunting?  I have tried and tried to change my focus this week and it all comes back to that impending date.  If it was possible to erase a day from the calendar, out of all the painful days I have had I have to admit I would erase that anniversary.

Here is my logical explanation, however logical it may or may not be.  I spent 20 years married to my childhood sweetheart, my only true love, and on that one day, in possibly a brief hour, my heart was broken.  Yes it was damaged during the divorce and everything that led up to it and even in the days following, but this one event was the icing on the cake so to speak.

So now I am at this point where I can see why I am reacting this way, how do I stop it?  I’m sure someday this month and date will roll in and not be such a big storm for me, but in the meantime how do I embrace it so that it does not tear me up inside?   As I write this tonight,  I am sitting in my lovely pink office, (yes pink with glitter), candles are lit and I’m reminding myself to relax.  I look up and focus on the oil painted butterfly that hangs above my desk and I am reminded of why I love the butterfly.  STRENGTH, COURAGE, TRANSFORMATION and RE-BIRTH.

All of those qualities that I cling to with the butterfly are what I will have to use to get myself through.  I will need the strength to not let myself get so upset; the courage to stand up against my feelings and tell myself that I will be OK; transformation will happen with each year I am faced with this pending date; and re-birth will happen on that day that I no longer remember what it meant.calm

As far as the war goes, I’ve won because I’ve acknowledged that I still need to heal from this.  My inner-self is waving a white flag because it knows that as long as I am honest with myself, and continue the work on my healing, those feelings do not stand a chance.

Have you fought with your inner emotions?  Please comment

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

3/19/14

Free To Be Me, Francesca Battistelli

You Transform You, KFMUELLER

Little One, Where The Clouds Talk and The Trees Whisper

Broken;Welcomed, Just Me, No More Or Less