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What To Do When Life Won't Stop With The Stress?


cordila
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I'm hoping someone here can help me with some tricks to help me manage when life just goes bat s**t crazy on you!

This last year has been one of my most difficult - and that's saying a lot considering the last 5 years have been pretty pathetic. But in 2009 I dealt with some of the top stressors in life and without going into the tragic details they've basically hit me on all fronts: financial, relational, health (mine and my mom's), familial, work - pretty much any and all stress fronts - WHAM!

I'm trying to do all I can to help myself recover but honestly, with these constant blows I'm just trying to minimize the damage. Unfortunately, my stress reserves are so low that any little activity puts me down flat. Today I had a client meeting and ended up in the bathroom on the floor. I just don't have anything left to give.

The worst part is I don't see any light at the end of the immediate tunnel - at least not until the end of the year. My boyfriend and I are moving in 2 weeks - and that's not terribly relaxing...

What makes me the most sad is I am having a hard time just even being around my boyfriend. He is so wonderful to me and supports me fully but right now I am so tired that even talking or just BEING around someone is exhausting. I wish everyone would just go away and allow me to lay in bed for a solid week or two. I honestly feel like that's the only thing that might help at the moment.

Does anyone have any tricks for dealing with mayhem? I just need life to relax and cut me a little slack - but - I guess that's what we all need, right?

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I try to hide the fact that I'm sick. I sign up for things I know I should be able to handle ... if I were healthy. For me I've become more selfish. I've hired some one to come help clean the house and I've gotten over the guilt. If I were healthy I could do it but I'm not. If I need a nap in the afternoon I take one. The cleaning and chores can wait. They'll be there when I wake up. Holidays really take their toll on me. I barely can keep up with life in general and then the holidays come and theres more work. I want to make them special for my kids but a lot of times I barely have the energy. I guess I've just learned to quit beating myself up over what I can't get done. I look healthy to everyone but I know how much I can really take. I've learned when I need to put life on hold and take a break for myself and my health. I can't imagine having to move!! Good luck with that and hope you get some good advice. I'll be checking on these responses for sure for some good tips!!

Brye

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Iam in a similar situation at the moment, (many stressors and bad health), what helps me is trying not to see the stressors and upcoming appointments and tragedies all together as one big montain in front of me. Instead i concentrate to live in the now, i take one hour at a time trying to do the things that are in front of me in this moment without thinking and panicking about how i will handle all the stressfull upcoming events i have in front of me in the next few weeks. What also helps me is "the work" of Byron Katie. Have you heard of it? There are already many of her videos on youtube. Maybe you want to have a look or read one of her books. Another thing that helps me is that i trust in god and life and know that there is a blessing in every situation. These hard situations in life are also a challenge were we can learn something out of. Thats what i think. All the best, carinara

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Waterbaby -

It's so hard to deal with extraordinary life stress on top of coping with being sick. POTS is plenty in itself, right? I have been struggling with extraordinary life stress in more than one area, and it just feels like I'm being slammed by a hurricane. The way I cope is multi-layered.

First and foremost, I pray - sometimes out loud, sometimes quietly, and sometimes in writing. I ask God for help. I study the Bible, especially the Psalms, because they echo so many of the feelings that I have.

Secondly, I do what carinara said, which is to live in the present moment and focus only on one thing at a time. I can get immobilized by sheer panic if I look at all problems, expectations, needs, deadlines, and pressures as one massive issue. Maybe I can't respond to all emails, but I can respond to one. Maybe I can't do anything at the moment, but I can rest my body for tomorrow.

Third, when I have energy, I try to make a tiny bit of progress in an important area of my life (for example, sorting mail). I haven't solved anything major, but it's a relief to just get something important done. Prioritizing helps. Saying "no" to unessential requests helps. Making lists helps (especially when I have brain fog and lose track of what needs to get done). Pushing myself too far will only backfire. I try to stick with making a snail's progress regularly rather than trying to sprint to the finish, using up all my reserves at once.

Lastly, when something is out of my control, I have to leave it and try to put it out of my mind. It's like the serenity prayer: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference." Sometimes I can't do something alone - I just have to ask for help.

There is also no guilt for "mental breaks" like getting lost in a mindless TV show or just lying down in the dark for a while to let things calm down in your mind and settle your system. Mental diversion can be quite healthy and helpful in moderation. :) Especially laughing at a comedy, "retail therapy," playing a game, solving a puzzle, or wasting some time - whatever temporarily relieves the mental pressure for you can be a huge relief and can recharge you to face life again.

Hope it helps to know you're not alone. Be kind to yourself! You are doing the best you can!

Kristen

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I'm hoping someone here can help me with some tricks to help me manage when life just goes bat s**t crazy on you!

This last year has been one of my most difficult - and that's saying a lot considering the last 5 years have been pretty pathetic. But in 2009 I dealt with some of the top stressors in life and without going into the tragic details they've basically hit me on all fronts: financial, relational, health (mine and my mom's), familial, work - pretty much any and all stress fronts - WHAM!

I'm trying to do all I can to help myself recover but honestly, with these constant blows I'm just trying to minimize the damage. Unfortunately, my stress reserves are so low that any little activity puts me down flat. Today I had a client meeting and ended up in the bathroom on the floor. I just don't have anything left to give.

The worst part is I don't see any light at the end of the immediate tunnel - at least not until the end of the year. My boyfriend and I are moving in 2 weeks - and that's not terribly relaxing...

What makes me the most sad is I am having a hard time just even being around my boyfriend. He is so wonderful to me and supports me fully but right now I am so tired that even talking or just BEING around someone is exhausting. I wish everyone would just go away and allow me to lay in bed for a solid week or two. I honestly feel like that's the only thing that might help at the moment.

Does anyone have any tricks for dealing with mayhem? I just need life to relax and cut me a little slack - but - I guess that's what we all need, right?

Hi waterbaby,

Sorry to hear that you're having such a tough time right now. When I'm feeling stressed, it helps me to think of the worst that can happen and how I'll deal with it. For some reason, this makes me feel prepared ...

Communicating with loved ones is critical too. If you need a break, tell your boyfriend you love him, yada yada BUT ... you need to rest right now. Moving is stressful but you can move without being organized about it. Just get some big boxes, label which room they came from and throw everything in them. You'll sort through it when you have the time. And maybe the two of you have some friends or family members who would pitch in.

I don't know if this applies, but even though it's hard, try not to take on other people's stressors either. Ultimately, what they do is their decision ...

BTW. Since I started taking various nutritional supplements, especially melatonin, theanine and 5HTP for sleep, I'm feeling much better and sleeping great. I'm still on the Paleo / low carb / low oxalate diet but have found that if I eat 3 over easy egg yolks over a homemade flax cracker + any natural meat (I'm eating scallops nowadays) in the morning, I have a ton of energy. AKA .. energizing foods with no food intolerances ... I fizzle out due to OI (orthostatic intolerance) every few hours and have to rest but then I feel great again ... I only really get tired late in the day, like a normal person would ... KOW ...

I may have found a way to treat / fix my OI too. :) I started taking Solgar essential aminos and eating New Tree chocolate bars with guarana and feeling totally healthy but a little too jazzed up. I'm going to look at guarana closer today to see what ingredients it has other than caffeine that may have been helping. I realized recently that I'm having trouble with processing aminos and need to supplement ... l just hope this works ...

If you or anyone else in interested, I wrote a recap of what I've done over the last 4 years at www.glutenfreeandbeyond.org in the journey section under GFCanary. The other journeys may give you hope too though ... It's a great board for learning about other nutritional info too ...

TC .. Marcia

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Breathing exercises might help you. I invested in a Resperate machine, which costs a bit, but has lasted me 4 years (and is still running). I try to do 15 minutes of slow breathing each morning, which calms my system down to start off the day. Dr. Andrew Weil's breathing CD is also fabulous. Breathing exercises work in the moment, but they also have a great long term effect if you do them regularly.

I have also gotten into yoga and meditation in the last couple of years. If you can find a restorative yoga class near you, it is something I think almost anyone with POTS can do. There are no downward dogs, just lying around on pillows with lots of soft music, candles, etc. You leave feeling like you went on a week's vacation. If you can't make it to a class, see if you can get a DVD and try it at home.

Regular yoga and meditation are great, but they are a long process. It has taken me 2 years (on and off), but I finally think I "understand" meditation. It seemed impossible at first, but now I can actually sit still and feel what it's like to be totally relaxed. Yoga and meditation are exactly about what carinara said - living in the moment and not thinking about bad things from the past or future worries. Though it is a lot easier to learn these techniques when you are not stressed and then apply them when you are...:)

Feel better!

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I PRETEND It's only a movie and I'm the star! Then I member this, "Let go and Let God."

You can use whomever you believe in, but most of it is all out of my control.

So cuddle up with a loved one (today my dog ) and have a warm beverage, watch a movie, because Life is a simple, the rest is up to us.

Let go! Poof it's all gone!

Now even I feel much better reminding myself to practice what I preach!

Back to my starring role!

Have a much better day now.

Sending LOVE and xxx's

bellamia~

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marcia,

I was told melatonin was ok to take? I was told not to, as it with us they seem think there is an underlining auto immune disease going on. I took it for years and have a very high ANA and never knew it. Wish you lived next door as I have 2 3/4 bottles to give away.

BellaMia~

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For me, guilt over what I can't do anymore is a top stressor. I've realized that harboring any guilt against myself, especially over what I have absolutely no control, will only make me sicker in the end.

Also, I've had to allow people to help me and to simplify my life. No more elaborate home-cooked meals, housework is minimally done. If you are living your life as simply as possible and still feel completely overwhelmed, it might be time to cut something out that's been viewed as essential even if it means sacrificing something. I'm not saying you need to quit your job or anything, but I know stress makes me so sick and I must allot my body time to recover on more stressful days. This is hard...there is only so much that we have control over, especially when our bodies are out of our control.

Also, I pray because I know that I certainly can't figure things out on my own.

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Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. You gave a lot of great ideas and I am going to get Byron Katie's and Andrew Weil's CD's for a start. I did watch a bit of BK's youtube video and one of the things she said was 'what would your life be like without your story'? In this case, my 'story' is 'my life would be so much better if I wasn't sick.' That's what I tell myself and that's what I generally believe to be true - but if I free myself from that story- what's available to me? For starters, I could be grateful that I have an amazing boyfriend who, just this morning when I was in a heap of tears said 'I got your back. I will not let you fall.' The funny thing is, when I was 'normal' I dated nothing but jerks! And now, 'sick', I have this amazing man in my life. So that's just one (HUGE) area where my story is actually 180 degrees wrong!

JaneEyre9 - I like 'saying no to non-essential tasks'. Sometimes I find it hard to know what's essential. Like going over to a friends house for dinner could be non-essential but getting social stimulation is also essential. Hard to know sometimes... I think for now I just have to get through the move and my last 3 clients of the year and the holidays. Everything else is gravy.

Marcia - your post made me giggle in that we are all SO different! Almost everything you listed (5HTP, chocolate, caffeine) would land me in the 911. How is it that the same malfunction can create such totally different remedies? I am, however, totally going to take on your tip of letting other people's problems be their own problems. That can be a tricky one especially when they are people close to you - but that simple step would probably save me a lot of worry!

Thanks you guys for all your tips and general words of encouragement. I hope 2010 is a year of wellness - for all of us.

-WB

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marcia,

I was told melatonin was ok to take? I was told not to, as it with us they seem think there is an underlining auto immune disease going on. I took it for years and have a very high ANA and never knew it. Wish you lived next door as I have 2 3/4 bottles to give away.

BellaMia~

Thanks BellaMia,

My doctors have told me to take melatonin and I have celiac disease and CFS/FM which are autoimmune diseases so I don't know why you were told not to take it. I don't have a high ANA though ... My DD has had one since she was 10 and went through a ton of tests. So far the high ANA and multiple allergies is all that is coming back positive. KOW ..

I wish you lived next door too .. these supplements can be expensive ... lol ...

TC ... marcia

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For starters, I could be grateful that I have an amazing boyfriend who, just this morning when I was in a heap of tears said 'I got your back. I will not let you fall.' The funny thing is, when I was 'normal' I dated nothing but jerks! And now, 'sick', I have this amazing man in my life. So that's just one (HUGE) area where my story is actually 180 degrees wrong!

Marcia - your post made me giggle in that we are all SO different! Almost everything you listed (5HTP, chocolate, caffeine) would land me in the 911. How is it that the same malfunction can create such totally different remedies? I am, however, totally going to take on your tip of letting other people's problems be their own problems. That can be a tricky one especially when they are people close to you - but that simple step would probably save me a lot of worry!

Thanks you guys for all your tips and general words of encouragement. I hope 2010 is a year of wellness - for all of us.

-WB

Wow .. sounds like you have a great boyfriend ..

I wasn't suggesting chocolate as a treatment but that's not a bad idea ... :(:lol: ... it's the guarana in the New Tree chocolate bar that caught my attention. Ok, you caught me ... these taste great and that's why I was buying them .. :P but I did find out that guarana has a couple of phytochemicals that might be helpful. I had to give it up though because I couldn't stop eating it and it has waaaay too much caffeine for me. I may buy some guarana supplements though and see how those work.

I wonder why you can't handle 5HTP ... I took too much the first time so I lowered the dose to like 25 mg and started it really slowly again. It just has so many good properties that I wanted to take it. My sleep has never been this deep ... Are you sleeping good ?

Yeah, I know how hard it is to keep loved ones problems separate from yours but it sure saved me a lot of unnecessary stress in the last few years. It may take you some time to get used to the idea but it's worth it .. FWIW. It took me awhile to learn how to listen and empathize without internalizing it. And I still have to remind myself sometimes ...

Gotta run ... TC ... Marcia

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