Anyone who knows me knows I’m a stress-head. I was born a worrier, it is my mother’s fault as she is also a worrier. I can stress about nothing, even on good days.
It surprises me that I stress as much as I do, as the job I use to have was a very stressful one, but as I no longer work there I should be calm and serene. I don’t have to go to bed at a certain time, I don’t have to get up at a certain time, I don’t even have to get dressed or even have a shower and I can eat chocolate all day if I wanted to and no one would know, so I wonder why I stress as much as I do! Normally my stress is connected to my expectations of other people and when I feel they are letting me down, or money, both of which I can do nothing about.
However, stress is real and is now being given as a diagnosis for certain symptoms. Those symptoms are :-
- stomach upsets
- panic attacks
- unrealistic expectations
- the ability to cry without any reason
- increase or decrease in appetite
- addictions; chocolate, coffee or even alcohol or something else
The biggest problem with stress is, if the things that are causing the stress and not acknowledged, stress can cause bodily harm. It is now being linked to such diseases as high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, stomach ulcers, irritable bowel type symptoms, and some cancers.
However, stress responses in the body are normal and are the body’s way of protecting itself from attack. However, when our bodies remain on alert all the time, when we need to cope with something that is truly stressful, such as a serious illness or even death we are unable to do so and we often up with a diagnosis of depression. Depression is an illness that has devastating affects on both the person suffering from the illness and those that love and care for that person, but there is a way back.
Looking back through my life, I now know that I have suffered from depression since my teenage years, but it is only in recent years that I have had a firm diagnosis and been given help to understand why the depression occurred. What we need to realise is that depression is not just sadness and cannot be ‘got over’ and people suffering from depression cannot ‘get on with it’ or ‘cheer up,’ both statements are of little use to the sufferer, if only it was that easy.
Here are a few ideas I have tried and a few I am working on and may help you when you are stressed, to help you cope and hopefully prevent the stress becoming depression –
- first ask yourself if you can walk away from what is making you stressed, if ‘yes’ then do so and if ‘no’ then move onto the next point
- accept that you cannot walk away from the situation
- call in the cavalry – find someone you trust to talk to and explain to them honestly what is happening
- try and decide how others can help you and ask for help
- take time away from the stressful situation, take a walk, have a cup of herbal tea
- take rests, even if you are unable to sleep still lay down in a darkened room as act as if you are asleep
- don’t add to your stress
- if someone asks if they can help, say yes, even if it only to make dinner or post a letter or even wash the dishes
- for me prayer is important, be specific in your prayers, what do you want God to help you with
- get medical help if you think it is necessary
- continue to ask for help for as long as you need it
- learn to sit in silence
I remember when my eldest daughter was 3 years old and needed surgery to help heal an infection in her knee. The surgery went as planned and she was returned to the ward sleeping, as you would expect her to be. I was at the hospital with her on my own stressed with worry, when a couple of friends appeared and whisked me away for lunch, and an hour away from the hospital. My daughter will be 27 soon and I still remember how relieved I was to know I wasn’t alone with the stressful situation.
- How do you deal with stressful situations?