Thursday, September 16, 2010

let's talk about stress, baby.

When I went through (or go through) the whole shortness of breath WTF Where Is All The Oxygen? it's been stress. Not "just" stress. STRESS. Stress affects every cell that makes you.

Every. Single. Cell.


My stress led to panic attacks. I couldn't breathe, my heart was constantly racing, and I had constant, crippling anxiety for two entire years. Every moment during that period, I thought I was going to die.

I was lucky: my retarded doctor put me on an antidepressant and, because I was SO stressed, put me on a therapeutic dose from day one. It took three days for my brain to explode and I ended up in hospital with seratonin sydrome.

Luckily, that led to a massive medication phobia, so there was NO way I was going to medicate my life back.

I had to turn inward to gain relief from the hell my life had become.

Understanding the physical process behind my "stress expression" helped me listen to what I could do to change my response.

Shortness of breath could be explained (in extremely simple terms and in one of many many avenues of shortness of breathednessishness) by: muscle tone increases when we're stressed. The muscles that are meant to move fluidly contract, so they can't do their job effectively and efficiently. In regards to breathing, what this means is diaphragm, the muscle, not the birth control, becomes shorter and tighter and is less able to draw air into our lungs. The muscles between our ribs, the intercostals, become tighter so are unable to allow the ribs to expand to allow air into our lungs, and our accessory muscles, the ones around our upper chest, neck and shoulders, the ones that should be reserved for times of physical exertion so we can draw more air in to our lungs when we've just, say, run down the street for the bus, or climbed a flight of stairs, or whatever activity it was that required more oxygen in our bodies to perform, are on ALL the time because we can't. get. air. in, so our breathing pattern is affected- and what do we do when we DO need more oxygen? We've got no standby muscles left to help us draw that air in, so simple tasks like making the bed, or stacking the dishwasher, etc, tasks we never dreamed actually required more resources to perform, make us breathelesss and tired and we wonder if we're going to die.

Panic attacks: explained. YOU'RE WELCOME.

Make sure there's no underlying physical explanation for your stress response: Your palpitations, your breathlessness, your heartburm, aches and pains, sleeplessness, etc etc ETC, but also don't discredit how much stress can make us feel like we're going to die. Or if not die then at least be uncomfortable, where "uncomfortable" can be anything from from "Mildy Yucky" to "I can;t live with this".

People die from stress and people kill themselves because of it.

It's not "just" stress.

And it's accumulative. It's not like, "oh, it was a bad day now I can't breath", it's more like every single frustration or fear that has been bunched down over the course of your lifetime adds up, then one day, when you're kicking back and enjoying your kids and your life and your family, you wonder why on earth you have palpitations, or heartburn, or breathlesness, or an unending tiredness that won;t be slept away.

These feelings, though, the ones we can still do something about aren't a bad thing. They're a message, and give us insight into how our lifestyle is affecting US. Our whole selves, not just our mind or our bodies. We ARE a whole.

Understanding the mechanism of why we feel the way we do, and considering the idea that stress doesn't happen TO us, it's a cascade effect we create with our thoughts, means we can own it, and when we own it, we can do something about it.

We can create peace in our lives via the same way we create stress. Both are a result of, among other things, neuropeptide activity, or chemical messages in our brain. And you know what creates that activity? Our thoughts. ,

Our thoughts determine how we feel,.

We learn to think the way we do, so we learn to feel the way we do, and we can learn to NOT think the way we do, so we can leart to feel differently tomorrow about the things we feel stressed about today. Okay, maybe not in twenty four hours but we CAN make the choice today to learn to, not manage our stress, but to transcend it.


Something to think about: If stress WERE a result of outside influences, Buddhist monks would be yelling at asshole drivers just like I do.


I read this last night and have been thinking about it ever since.

Not sure what else to say. Thank you for posting it. I think I need to dig deep.

By Blogger Cagey (Kelli Oliver George), at 6:21 AM  

Dig only as deep as you need to today, darlin'.



By Blogger aibee, at 9:11 PM  

Dear lord.. did I ever need to read that today... thanks for posting, Aibs.

By Blogger Angie, at 5:35 AM  

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