Saturday, August 2, 2014

Stress Free?

"Saying yes to happiness means learning to say no to things and people that stress you out." 
Thema Davis

In my experience, there are two things that can really set a person off who lives with an invisible illness (ex. functional GI disorders).  One, "but you don't look sick," and two, "you just need to stop stressing out!"
I don't know about you but the latter seems to come up quite frequently in my life.  Especially when I am feeling better and begin to become productive and active again.  There seems to be a cycle of feeling better, doing more, a flare up,  then back to square one.  Square one usually means severe pain, bloating, nausea and/or fatigue.  Then it's time for more rest, frequent acupuncture visits, short walks, broth and gentle foods.

According to Psychology Today:
"Stress is simply a reaction to a stimulus that disturbs our physical or mental equilibrium. In other words, it's an omnipresent part of life. A stressful event can trigger the “fight-or-flight” response, causing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol to surge through the body. A little bit of stress, known as “acute stress,” can be exciting—it keeps us active and alert. But long-term, or “chronic stress,” can have detrimental effects on health. You may not be able to control the stresses in your world, but you can alter your reaction to them."

The reason I'm sharing this today is not because of feeling stressed but more so feeling angry that these bits of "acute stress", that are just a part of everyday life, take my body down faster than a bungee jumper.  Attempting to live a somewhat normal life just doesn't seem to agree with me.  
There was what seemed to be a remission of sorts over the last few months.  Once I learned to let go of fear and focus on the joys in life, something magically shifted.  I began working, volunteering, going out for social events often, and eating foods I never thought would be possible.  We started weening my TPN as weight increased.  Life was good.  Yes, of course there were stresses like anyone else breathing out there has, but these instances felt okay because it felt normal.  For example, thoughts of maybe having a child someday.  Yes, that's a lot to think about but just the thought/feeling from it, though a bit overwhelming, felt like something a young woman would be thinking of.  Or packing for my work trip to San Francisco.  This was beyond exciting for me despite the planning that goes along with it all.  

Maybe I took it too far with food, eating out of the garden daily and expanding portion sizes.  Perhaps it was the glass of wine here and there, which at the time didn't bother me one bit but eventually noticed it slowing down motility. I love my job, I love spending time with loved ones and I love love traveling.  So with all this love where is this stress that I'm supposed to stop?  Is there really such thing as "stress free?"  Unless you are a monk meditating in a cave somewhere, then I don't believe so.  Because stress is actually the reaction we have to events, then learning to manage this is key, right?

Meditation, lots of rest, time outdoors, fresh air, animals, nutrient-dense foods, H2o, bodywork, exercise, hobbies I enjoy, love and gratitude, they are all apart of my daily life.  

Now, where do I go from here?  What is there to eliminate or incorporate more of?  

Moral of the story: Some of us have a GI system that is ultra sensitive.  It not only reacts negatively to many foods and even sips of water at times, but to life in general.  Whether it be a car or plane ride, a hot day, less than 8 hrs of sleep, or a random day with no reasoning. This isn't just your plain old tummy ache, but sometimes days of feeling ill and unable to eat much.  So instead blaming it on stress or the inability to deal with it (which can indeed affect us but not necessarily always the cause), just understand that we are doing the best we can with these finicky bodies and making the most out of each day.  At least that is my truth and betting there are many out there that can relate.  

More to come soon on yoga poses for gas pain and insomnia, jewelry for the GP walk, and Orgain giveaway.

Thanks, as always for reading my ramble and hope it brings you comfort that you are not alone!

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