Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Stress Monster Bit Me

I use to get so angry when my doctors would tell me that my symptoms were due to stress.  They'd say that it's normal to be a stressed out Mom, being single with triplets.  Back then, I actually felt as though my triplets were my saving grace.  There were times they would stress me out, but they weren't the cause of the enormous pressure I was under.  It was the internal pressure I'd put on myself for what, I thought, needed to get done.

Maybe with maturity and years of illness, doctors and experience, I've started to realize how much I take on without truly knowing that it's too much.  Maybe, when my kids were little, there was no choice but to do everything no matter how tired I was.  There were diapers, feedings, laundry, baths, carrying, nurturing, playing, nap time, crying (and I'd join in at times), cleaning, tuning into individual personalities, staying two steps ahead, potty training, work, bills, car maintenance, building a business that would support me and my three, bedtime and probably more.  I was happy to do it for the precious children who chose me to be their Mom. Although, doing it all, could have started an ingrained pattern of behavior for me.

Hearing the feedback from my new doctor, makes me think about those days.  My doctor told me that my adrenal gland is exhausted and my energy levels are at zero.  He also said, which rang very true for me, that with my fiery personality, I would always find a way to push through.  The way I did it was to run on adrenalin until my body just couldn't run anymore.  I would usually hit a wall.  I'd call it crashing, burnt or really really done.  It usually showed up with tears flowing from the disappointment of getting to that point.  I wondered why I couldn't do more.  It made me feel lazy when I'd have to lay in bed or sit more often then the people around me.  I had no way of rejuvenating my energy stores.  The little sleep I got, and the exercise I pushed myself to do would create some momentum to carry me for a short time.  This way of living was and is not sustainable.

I'm beginning to understand that stress is not an excuse or a cop-out.  It's a real and dangerous thing that needs to be managed.  Although I have many good tools to manage my stress; meditation, exercise, therapy, sleep aids, a great sister and mom...I have let one key piece slip between my fingers.  When I was in college, I began to take trips by myself.  This gave me time to myself to decompress and shake off the junk of the world.  I found that being with me and traveling to an unfamiliar place would open me up and recharge my batteries.  As I got older, the trips to Florida decreased and once I had children, the trips out of state dwindled to almost zilch.  The kids were about 2 or 3 years old when I began to create a get-away that was feasible.  I would go away from Friday to Sunday to a hotel in the next town over from where we lived.  It took me the full Saturday to decompress then Sunday I could breath and enjoy the weightlessness.  It seems as though time to myself is what recharges me and I can return with energy to spare.

This terrible bite really throws a monkey wrench into the expectations I have for myself, my road to health and the energy I need to heal and care for my family.  I'm working on domesticating this stress monster, but she's a feisty one.  It feels a bit like breaking a wild horse.  There's kicking and thrashing and I've been thrown a couple of time, not to mention, now I have a nasty set of teeth prints in my skin.

It's time!  Time to find a way to take a trip...out of myself.  These batteries need recharging and this stress monster needs some love and compassion... and maybe a nice bed to sleep on.

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