Stress is widely known to cause the chronically ill to get sicker, to have flares, to generally feel worse… Stress is an ugly word that I hate to hear my doctors say. “This is being made worse because of stress.”, “You need to get your stress under control.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this.
The amount of stress I’ve been under the last few months would make the healthiest person feel bad, for someone who is chronically ill, with both physical and mental illnesses this has been a very trying time. I’m sure you are wondering, “What has been going on in Wendy’s life?” Well let me tell ya!
This may not be in order, I’m just going to get it all out. We moved, we had a friend move in with us, I was having vertigo a lot for a while, I’m constantly afraid I will have a vertigo attack, I’ve been having migraines daily for months, my father passed away, I went through all the stress building up to my father’s death, the stress of the funeral….I feel like it has been non-stop.
I’m wondering if my migraines are worse because of the stress? My chronic daily headache now has a base line of a 4-5 where it used to be 2-3, on a 0 – 10 scale. The pain in my neck and upper back due to degenerative discs has greatly increased, I’m in physical therapy for that now. (going to PT is another stress, as Stuart has to take time away from work to take me to my appointments, this time has to be made up, that’s hard on both of us; and some PT sessions seem to make things worse, that’s a stressor too.) I can’t take pain relievers which causes a certain amount of stress too because I never have any relief. My tinnitus has been very loud. Some days my balance is worse than usual. My emotional state is not well. I’ve been depressed. (yes I know I have reasons to be sad, but this is more than that). My anxiety is very high. I am extremely irritable (I’m shocked at how much Stuart and I have been arguing, and bickering, normally we rarely argue) I’m restless, yet tired, excessively worried, feeling like I’m trembling inside, very sad, my appetite is out of control, I am extremely self-conscious, I have very little self-esteem and I keep beating myself up for things I have no control over. I can’t relax; I can’t give myself a break; I’m not being kind to myself. I’m just a mess.
I’ve been having a very rough time. This is upsetting because I’m at the best place I’ve been with my vertigo than I’ve been in a couple of years. I haven’t had a bad attack in almost 2 months. This is surprising because it normally gets worse when I’m under a lot of stress. However, It is often much better during the summer. I know I would be feeling even worse if I was having vertigo as often as I normally do. But I can’t stop having profound fear that it will get worse any moment. I’m having a hard time enjoying this break because I’m so terrified I’ll have an attack at any moment.
I was trying to take better care of myself, but I have to admit in the last few weeks most of that has gone out of the window.
When we are under stress it is imperative that we practice self-care.
Things I plan to do to increase my self-care:
- Be sure to see my therapist and be open and honest during appointments.
- Give myself a break. This is more easily said than done, but I need to really make a conscious effort to do so. When I have negative thoughts or feelings I want to start being more gentle with myself.
- Meditate more.
- Take more baths.
- Watch funnier TV shows and/or movies.
- Read funny or inspirational books.
- Cuddle with my hubby.
- Cuddle with Max (the cat) and Kiki (the little dog).
- Eat healthier.
- Do as much as my health will allow that makes me happy.
- Be creative.
- Stay in touch with those who love and nurture me.
- Try to get outside more.
- Keep up a gratitude list every day.
- Sing Silly Songs
- Give my body 10 minutes of mindful attention.
- Take a nap.
- Take Deep Breaths
- Get Positive Feedback (ask 3 friends what they love about me)
- Write out my thoughts (for 15 minutes free write what ever I’m feeling, I can tear it up after, just get it out.)
- Drink water (I’ve been drinking soda recently, something I haven’t done in years)
How do you take care of yourself? Any self-care suggestions? I’d love to hear them!
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