I’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!
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.