DANGERS OF STRESS

I recently received a note from a reader that is dealing with stress and as I was reading her note I had a flood of thoughts come rushing to me which I needed to process and give great thought to. Stress is dangerous to everyone in general, and as we deal with life in general, work situations, home situations and other things our stress levels rise. I hear so often that we need to manage our stress better, and that is so much easier said than done. I was thinking back to this last year in my life and can see how things quickly unraveled for me personally.
This time last year almost to the day I talked to my husband about taking a more demanding position at my job and agonized over what this decision meant for me, and for us as a couple. His first response was, what would it do to my health and how would I deal with the added stress. At the time I was making this decision I was feeling very strong mentally and physically. I had been doing cross fit for at least 3 months and doing things my body could never do before. I was going long periods of time without flares. I was in the Bikram studio regularly 5 days a week and more when I could. I was sleeping 8-9 solid hours every night and eating a Paleo diet so I honestly thought I had this wrapped and if ever was a time to do make this move it was at that very moment. Never in my life did I feel more capable of making a change and here was my opportunity. I took the job knowing full well that I was going to work really hard for a short amount of time and then when my time was done I would pursue a gentler life and teach yoga or do something that really drove me to get up every morning. I look back at that now and wonder exactly what have I done. I used to spring out of bed with a huge smile, ready to rock my day and nothing stood in my way of achieving my goals whether they were personal, fitness, health, career or life goals.
Fast forward 2 months to Nov and I’m sitting in my doctor’s office with a blood pressure reading that is off the charts. He looks at me and instantly says what has changed. I have a new job, it is more demanding. I’m losing sleep over all I have to accomplish and trying to find 26 hours in a 24 hour day. He asked if I was still exercising and I told him yes but that I didn’t feel as good doing it. My fatigue was so much higher but I still pushed and pushed. The holidays come and go and for the first time in over 10 years I had put on “holiday weight” really how did that happen and what do I need to do to get it off? These seem like questions people have all the time but I didn’t have these questions before. I knew where my fatigue came from and even in my highest levels of fatigue I still had motivation to work out maybe even more motivation because I knew how good I would feel when I was done.
I start to realize something is very wrong but getting my point out there was harder than I first thought. I started to believe this was all hormonal and wanted my levels tested immediately. Fast forward again to nearly a year from the day that I started this job and I am truly a 40 year old woman in full menopause. I don’t sleep but 3-4 hours at any given time. I’m so tired but wired most of the time and feel adrenaline rushes periodically throughout the day which means my body is just pumping the cortisol. I’m
20 pounds over my normal weight with no motivation to exercise to decrease this added weight. I want to eat clean but my brain takes over with these stupid weird cravings and as much as I want to fight them I give in from time to time. So, did I cause this premature menopause by stressing my body to the very max? I honestly will never know and although my doctor and I can speculate all we want the truth is I could have kept my life the way it was and still went through menopause early. However, I feel very strongly that I have created this mess for myself.
I thought like most people I could manage the extra stress. I was certain I was strong enough to continue to live my healthy lifestyle. I was naive enough to believe I had this under control and I was blind enough to not realize until I receive a note from another that this was all menopause related and not stress related. With that said, thank you Jessica for opening my eyes to what I’m really doing here. At least now I can make no changes but not hide from what I’m doing or make changes in the hope of changing the outcome I have created for myself.
I’m in the process of really processing everything that is happening to me and seeing what I can change, what I’m willing to change, what I’m committed to in the short term that won’t allow any change and where can I tweak to at least feel better if change is not an option. I’m sure I’m not the only one going through this but it sure feels good to just get it out and process through it.

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