Stress aaaand…release

With a title like that, I’m sure you’ve all guessed that I’ve been under some pressure lately. Oddly enough, the one person who didn’t know was me. I thought I was having a heart attack or something. Duh. The doctor said most emphatically that there was NOTHING wrong with my heart!

There, that was the good news and the bad news in two short sentences. The lived reality was a little more drawn out though, and probably began on Christmas Eve, 2018, when I started to get muscle spasms in my back. The reason? Trying to mow about an acre of steep land with a battery driven lawnmower and whippersnipper [edge cutter for non-Australians].

I’d been mowing little bits for weeks, so my back was used to the backwards and forwards motion of the lawn mower; it was the side-to-side motion of the whippersnipper that actually did me in. Continuing to do normal ‘stuff’ for a few more days compounded the problem and led to about four weeks of misery. As the muscle is in my middle back, twisting hurt, getting into bed hurt, rolling over in bed hurt, pushing up from bed to go to the loo was agony. All because those damn muscles are used by our arms for just about everything.

Adding to this physical misery was the weather. Fire season has been awful this year, and despite the rain during the last couple of days, I’m still not sure it’s over because the ground is bone dry. With so little moisture in the ground, any day with wind becomes a potential bushfire day. Warrandyte has had many small fires, but nothing major, unlike the rest of the state, thank god. So add an almost constant, low grade fear to the backache.

Part of the reason for that fear was that I was due to start my paid job in April. Who would turn on the pumps and protect everything if I was out working?

As things turned out, the start date was delayed until the 3rd of May, which was just as well because April ended up being an awful month. Beloved little friend Buffa died, the offspring had medical issues, lots of driving backwards and forwards, very little sleep, constant anger thanks to the political situation both here and overseas and bang, I had what felt like heart palpitations…for hours.

As I said at the beginning of this post, the doctor said it wasn’t my heart. All the tests proved that it wasn’t my heart, but I wasn’t ready to accept that it was ‘just’ stress and anxiety until yesterday. You see yesterday was the day I taught my first class at the retirement village, and it was wonderful. So wonderful, in fact, that I could literally feel the weight of all this combined fear and anxiety falling off my shoulders.

Last night I slept for seven hours straight. Today I feel ready to take on the world again. More importantly, I feel like me again, positive, optimistic, Pollyanna-esque me. πŸ™‚

I don’t like talking about negative things much, especially when they relate to me, but this episode really shocked me as I’d always thought of myself as quite laid back, competent, easy going…

I was wrong, and I suspect I’m not alone, so if your life feels as if everything is becoming too much, please don’t soldier on. Stress creeps up on all of us, no matter how strong we think we are, and stress can cause actual, physical symptoms. Chronic stress can also depress the immune system which can then lead to even more problems.

Please, don’t dismiss the negative things in your life as ‘just’ stress. There’s no such thing. Stress can cause real damage, so be kind to yourself and put some balance back in your life. If you are doing too much, take a good long look at your day, and ask yourself whether all of those tasks are really important, or whether they’re just part of you, wanting to live up to your superwoman image?

The crunch for me came when I realised that I was physically incapable of driving all the way across town and back on just a couple of hours sleep. But I did need to be at that appointment so I threw my very tight budget out the window and took a taxi there and back. Those two trips cost me almost $200, but I ended up napping in the back seat of the taxi instead of at the wheel of my car.

I’d like to be superwoman, but at 66 I’m starting to learn my limits. And I’m so much happier for it.

-big hugs-

Meeks

 

About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

63 responses to “Stress aaaand…release

  • kevin cooper

    It’s never easy to talk about health issues and I don’t know what state I would be in if I lost one of my dear cats. I had a similar ‘heart problem’ experience and it’s terrifying. Thanks for sharing, Meeks.

    Like

  • Robert Matthew Goldstein

    Wow. I’m sorry you went through so much pain. You’re so right, it’s important to give ourselves a break.

    Like

  • DawnGillDesigns

    hugs. I don’t have any magic cure for stress – I try and limit my social media interaction to really constructive things (the #CherryUppy was a direct result of my friends and my distress in 2016), I try and find something beautiful each day, be it nature, a blog, a success at something tedious (washing on the line!) and of course, I find the silversmithing process incredibly helpful, as I can get into a meditative state with it. I do have to set myself alarms though, to make sure I’m not in the same position too long. I hope that you are able to reduce the stress, now you have identified it, and enjoy the tutoring. xx

    Like

    • acflory

      I find I have to ration my time on the #auspol tag these days. The political situation here is winding up to the May 18 Federal election, and my anger is reaching new heights as well. On the one hand, I believe that people like me have to speak out. We can’t let the lies go unchallenged. But…being angry all the time is really not good for the health. -sigh-
      In the past, working out in the garden was my zen time but I have to be careful of my back now so I have to find a new, low impact way to stay sane. I’m working on it. πŸ™‚
      Btw, I really enjoy your Cheeryuppy tweets. Balance has never been more important. -hugs-

      Like

  • daleleelife101.blog

    I’m pretty sure we all get stressed from time to time, and more. But like ducks we look serene all the while paddling madly. Doing less or at least pacing myself, triaging my lists and want to accomplishes… is something of an ongoing learning process for me. Pain is a terrible stressor. In our household we keep a supply of Rescue Remedy, a homeopathic treatment for stress & anxiety, conveniently available from Woolworths.

    Like

    • acflory

      Oh! Rescue Remedy works on stress? I didn’t know. I might get some myself. Thanks for the headsup and please look after yourself. -hugs- I think all my online friends are super men and women. Also stoics. πŸ˜‰

      Like

  • D. Wallace Peach

    The most important thing, Andrea, is that you now recognize your vulnerability to stress and lack of sleep, and you are taking steps to reduce the stress. We Must take care of ourselves because health concerns only get more concerning as we age, and the bounceback is slower (I just spent all weekend with my parents.) I’m glad your heart is fine and you’re feeling better. πŸ™‚

    Like

    • acflory

      Thanks, Diana, and yes, you’re right. After this last episode, I’ve finally drummed it into my thick head that I can’t do it all. Of course the problem lies in the definition of ‘all’. I thought I’d learned to pace myself after my bout with cancer [9 years and counting!], but as the budget got tighter I took on more and more things myself…to ‘save’ money. But I’ve ended up paying for that saving in other ways.
      Now that I’ve got a bit of money actually coming /in/, that pressure will ease.
      How are your parents getting on? I know that their health is a big concern to you too.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Elizabeth Drake

    *hugs*. I hope you are doing better.

    I am not super religious, but one thing always stuck with me through the years that my grandmother had posted.

    God grant me the the serenity to accept the thing I cannot change
    The Courage to change the things I can
    And the wisdom to know the difference

    Do what you can with what you have to help those in need, vote, then maybe enjoy some time doing what you love with those you love a little more.

    Like

  • heatherjo86

    Stress can literally kill you that’s why it’s so important to relieve stress whenever you can. Reading the Bible has been very helpful for me. I recently read an article that showed which bible passages could help manage stress. Here’s a link: https://www.jw.org/finder?wtlocale=E&docid=102014163&srcid=share

    Like

  • anne54

    I’m really sorry too, Meeks, but pleased that you have been able to recognise the issues and do something to help destress them. It is great to hear that you are enjoying your classes at the nursing home.
    Stress sneaks up on you. I remember when my Dad was in hospital and I was travelling across town to be with him. I was surprised at how easily I succumbed to road rage, until I realised that my stress levels were the problem and not (just!) the other dickheads on the roads.
    As for ringing the ambulance….I am all in favour erring on the side of safety and ringing them. The ambos can tell me if I am being silly. I rang them when I thought the Fella was having a heart attack. He wasn’t, but they were great. The Fella grumbled, (of course!) but I would certainly do it again if I thought it was the right thing.

    Like

    • acflory

      Hi Anne, and yes, stress does sneak up on you. I can’t imagine you having road rage so your stress levels must have been through the roof!
      When Dad was alive and living with us, I had to call the ambulance a couple of times when he had falls as I didn’t have the strength to lift him up. But for myself? It’s that old thing about doing things for others but not yourself. Btw I’m glad your fella is okay. They’re even worse stoics than us. πŸ™‚

      Like

  • Widdershins

    And that whole ‘it’s just stress’ thing that people (doctors) say really gets my goat too! Stress is just as big killer as the other nastys out there.

    They’re called ‘weed-wackers’ here in Canada. The first time I used ‘wipper-snipper’ I got the strangest looks. I wonder if they thought I was talking about strange sex acts while stoned, or medieval castration devices perhaps? πŸ˜€

    Glad your back is unkinked. πŸ™‚ … these days if anyone asks me how I am, I tell ’em! Not my problem if they thought they were just being ‘polite’ πŸ˜€

    Like

  • dvberkom

    Hugs, Meeks. Recognizing your limits isn’t so bad. I had a bout with heart palpitations last month–the doc put me on a heart monitor for 24 hours and it came back fine. Stress for the win πŸ˜›

    Like

    • acflory

      OMG…you too?? I’m very glad your heart’s fine and that you had it checked out. Selfishly though, I’m even more glad to know that I’m not alone. -huge hugs- Thanks for telling me. It really makes a difference.

      Like

  • marianallen

    I’m so sorry about Buffa! HUGS! And I’ve had the stress palpitations, too. Went to the ER with them twice before I accepted that they were anxiety attacks. Now I just tough through them. Doesn’t do me any good to lessen stressors, because it’s a brain chemical thing. I take a mood stabilizer, which helps, but, ultimately, I just have to pat myself on the shoulder and go on about my business. Congratulations on your job–it sounds like a blessing!

    Like

    • acflory

      Oh Marian, I had no idea. -huge hugs- And thank you. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d lose Buffa so soon. He was only 11.

      What you said about going to the ER? I almost did. Lay in bed for 2 hours trying to decide if I should take myself in to the local emergency ward at 2am. I know exactly what must have been going through your mind. Thank you more than I can say. Knowing my friends have gone through the same thing takes away that stupid, lingering sense of ‘I should have been stronger’. -hugs-

      Liked by 1 person

  • Candy Korman

    I think that Super Women are the ones who’ve learned to take care of themselves and it sounds like that’s exactly what you’re doing. I, too, am in a super stressed out situation right now. Will reveal more in a few weeks. For now, let’s just say that good things can come wrapped in stressful packages and that getting enough sleep, eating right, exercise and all those boring, good-for-you things are great for anxiety. Take care and be super!

    Like

    • acflory

      Aaaah! I like that version of Super Woman much better. We’ve always eaten well, but I definitely pushed those other ingredients past their limits. Please take your own advice and be super as well. Stress & anxiety really are sneaky bastards, and you’ve been through a lot the last few years.
      Be well. -huge hugs-

      Like

  • Frank Prem

    Take care of you, Andrea.

    Liked by 1 person

  • cagedunn

    I think it’s often the people who won’t let themselves ‘break’ that end up in the worst state.
    Life is short, enjoy the bits that come with some light. Sorry about the loss of Buffa. Cuppa?

    Like

    • acflory

      Very much yes to the cuppa! And yes to the ‘break’ part too. We cling to self-image way past the point where we should accept change instead. I actually decided to talk about this so I wouldn’t forget. -hugs-

      Liked by 1 person

  • technomancerral

    I think this is a lesson for all ages. I need to figure out what my best de-stress method is. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s contributing some health issues in my life.

    Like

  • davidprosser

    So much I didn’t know.I’m sorry. What a poor friend I turned out to be. I’m thrilled you like the new job.
    Hugs Galore.xxx

    Like

    • acflory

      Gah, not your fault. I’m my father’s daughter, and he bottled everything up his whole life. I’m not quite as bad, but I still feel that I ‘should’ be able to do everything without complaining. -hugs-

      Like

  • CarolCooks2

    And breathe…It is lovely when you recognise that you are not superwoman, isn’t it? I certainly have and like you feel a hundred per cent better…I leave digging the big holes to my dog he is better at that than me πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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