What is stress and what do you do about it?

Earlier this month I wrote about an anxiety flare up and what I’m doing to try and manage that and get by as best I can. As it is Mental Health Awareness Month and stress is a big factor in physical and mental health conditions I thought I would share my experience with you as well as asking you the question above because at this point I really don’t have an answer for you.

First off, let me start by saying, I don’t feel stressed. Sure, in the run up to my holiday, work had been pretty intense and I’d had a few stressful days but I have relaxation and self care down. Or so I thought.

In recent months I’ve developed a plethora of ailments that don’t seem to have any discernible pattern. There’s heartburn, an irregular heart rhythm, eczema flare up, and most recently my periods are M.I.A. The only thing that those combined symptoms correlate to is stress/anxiety. The heart issue is being investigated and I’m awaiting a referral for cardiology but for the rest of the symptoms my doctor has suggested that the most reasonable explanation is “stress” but more I read abut stress the less I’m convinced that it fits what’s going on with me.

Nevertheless I did what any sensible person does when stressed, I took a holiday, and it didn’t help a bit. If anything the eczema is worse than it was before the holiday, I’ve had more issues with my heart while I’ve been off and I don’t feel any better for it.

I’m left to wonder whether in this case when the Dr spoke about stress this is really just an extension of my existing diagnosis of GAD and if that’s the case, are these “new and exciting” symptoms as I’ve been calling them, my new normal. I’m really hoping that is not the case but at a loss to figure out what I can do to stop/improve them.

The self care advice for both stress and anxiety I’m already ticking off. Eat a varied diet, engage in exercise you enjoy, taking time out to just breathe and relax, getting outside, utilise distraction techniques when you feel panicky or overwhelmed, don’t overdo it on caffeine or alcohol. In the main I’m so compliant it’s ridiculous but still the symptoms increase and if I’m being honest so do the panic attacks. You don’t have to look far back through my social media feeds to find evidence of late night panic attacks. I’m averaging a few a week at the moment, again with no clear cause. Sometimes I think it’s on days I’ve overdone the caffeine but I’m less and less sure of that as time goes on.

So, what do I do now? The only advice that people have been able to give me so far is maybe the time has come to try medication. My anxiety has affected me since very early childhood, I have a family history of anxiety and in my case it probably is chemical but I’ve always said no to medication no matter how bad things got. This isn’t because I don’t believe in medication or think there’s anything wrong with taking it. It’s simply because one of the most common settling and withdrawal side effects is nausea and in some cases vomiting. There is no way or knowing if that will be a side effect you experience until it’s too late so I don’t want to take the risk. The other option, and the one I’m siding with at the moment, is to give it more time to sort itself out on its own.

Sorry for the rambling. I have the start of a migraine and my eyes are fuzzy and I’ve taken a few breaks in writing. If anyone has any tips please do leave them in the comments below.

V ❤

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7 thoughts on “What is stress and what do you do about it?

  1. Rebecca Claire says:

    I really admire you for both opening up about this issue and for just powering through life no matter what it throws at you! You’re doing really well!
    I am somewhat concerned still that the doctor has given a wrong diagnosis as the irregular heartbeat could be almost anything but you had quite a lot of tests done right?
    Stress attacks us in many ways and perhaps it has just crept up on you and maybe your anxiety is the one to cause the stress… either way, keep going with the self care, healthy eating and exercise, even if it doesn’t cure your ailments, it’ll sure do you good!

    Rebecca, libfemblog.com xo

    Like

    • sirvikalot says:

      Thank you that means a lot. I am being referred to cardiology for the heart thing so it is being investigated.

      I’ll just keep plodding on in the meantime. Doing what I want to and trying not to let it get in the way.

      V ❤
      Ps "varied diet" not healthy haha. I just feel like healthy has certain connotations and it's definitely not accurate for me. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Giana says:

    thank you for sharing! I’ve only recently felt the full effects of stress with all the uni work that’s been piling up to the point where it’s been making me physically sick and made me lose my appetite. Now that my dissertation is handed in it should get better. Hope you’re doing okay! ❤️

    G | http://www.teawithgi.com

    Like

  3. Sarah Athow-Frost says:

    This sounds like a terrible issue, my heart goes out to you. It sounds like you’re doing everything right with the self care but if it’s still not helping, perhaps the right medication would give you the breathing space to heal a bit?

    Like

  4. hannahinternational says:

    There’s no need to apologise! This is your space and you can ramble all you want about anything you want. I find that releasing all my thoughts like you have just done always helps to reduce my stress, especially if I write it down. That way, it’s organised (or sometimes not) on paper and it’s not taking up space in my brain.

    Hope you’re coping ok, and feeling a little better recently!

    Hannah
    http://www.hannahinternational.co.uk

    Like

  5. Hannah says:

    UGH, HEARTBURN – am I right?? I can sympathise with you on so many of these stress enduced ailments and once again have so much respect for your attitude towards anxiety flares.

    For me, I don’t always notice my own stress patterns so I’m in awe of your ability to do so and what seems like a really positive attitude towards plowing through.

    Thanks so much for sharing on this topic. Xx

    Like

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