Sunday, June 9, 2013

Stress Effects

This last week has been very stressful work wise, 5 days felt like 2 weeks! And I could tell it was starting to wear on me physically. There's always those telltale signs warning you of impending danger if immediate action isn't taken. And I was starting become leery of those alarms.

The first couple nights of the week I was so exhausted that I slept through the whole night. This may be the norm for some, but it isn't for me. I'm usually up 2-3 times a night to use the restroom so if I'm sleeping through those bodily alarms, I know I'm needing the sleep. Well the last couple nights of the week I changed the routine and started having stress dreams, so I wasn't getting much sleep at all. When I wasn't in a deep sleep, I was dozing with stress dreams. This is also a dangerous pattern as there isn't any rest or recuperation obtainable in such a state.

My lip became tender and I just knew my body was about to explode with it's own rebellion against stress in the form of fever blisters. Throughout childhood and until the end of the collegiate career, I was a fever blister queen. Anytime my immune system became threatened, I had at least one giant, painful, eye sore of a fever blister. And most of the time I had 2-3 of them, even to the point that for a period I even developed impetigo - blisters on the skin that break open and become crusty. I've had fever blisters and impetigo so severe that the skin around my bottom lip is scarred. My GI doctor said that I'd likely outgrow these fever blisters and she was right, I have a fever blister maybe one or two times a year now. But even so, I remain leery of this ticking time bomb.

Because of the stress, I started to notice some depressive symptoms as well. I started to become withdrawn and saddened. I started to have meltdowns at work and home, moments where I couldn't hold back the tears. All I wanted to do was stay in bed and cry but I knew that I needed to force myself to talk to others or I'd easily get sucked into the deep spiral of depression. The emotional and physical sides of health are linked, they affect one another. So anytime one is in danger, so is the other. It's important to balance both for one's own well-being.

I also tend to stress eat, I want to eat anything or everything and this leads to overeating which upsets my digestive system. I felt miserable - bloating and SBS are not wonderful symptoms nor are they when combined.

These were the loudest alarms and I knew if I didn't get a handle on this stress, my body was going to rebel further. In the past, under extreme stress my intestine rebelled by constant SBS flare ups to the point that functioning was nearly impossible. I'm terrified of this happening again as I wouldn't be able to maintain employment in such a state.
I started to let others in, sometimes it's hard to accept help from others. I'm an independent worker and I usually figure there isn't much someone else can help me with - that it's not going to save time or effort. I leaned on friends and made a bit of time for a mental break - such as tagging along on a lunch run just for the change of scenery for 10 minutes. I used some free drink coupons and got a special treat to help me through the day. One evening I vegged out and just watched television with my husband and cooked a healthy meal. I quit beating myself up over things out of my control and started giving myself pep talks. So today, I feel better. I feel ready to be let back into the ring for another fight tomorrow. Here's to hoping this week is better too!

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