September 23, 2009

Physical Manifestations of Emotional Stress

This is my attempt to take what could become a pity-fest and turn it into a productive blog post:)  I'm feeling a lot of stress and anxiety, but I think if I write about it with you (I feel like I write WITH any readers, not TO you), I'll force myself to turn it around a bit.

I guess lets begin with what is stressing me out.  For anyone who missed it, my parents have had some medical emergencies in the past two weeks.  My mom fell and broke her arm, my dad's doctor 'accidentally' saw what seems to be kidney cancer (see previous post for a different take on this), and then my mom was admitted to the hospital with yet another cellulitis infection (she's home now).  While I thought I was handling those things very calmly, it took me a few days to realize that I was actually pretty worked up under the surface.

Having been out of work for a few months (my old parttime job ended in June and I don't start my fulltime "career" job until October), I've had perhaps a little too much down time.  Naturally, Shawn's been at work most days, and my two best friends are living in New York and North Carolina, so I've had a lot of time to myself.  I tried to find projects for myself to occupy my time, but even so I ran out of valuable things to do...and found out that when I have too short a to-do list I don't get anything done at all.  A few weeks - even a month or two - of a break would have been nice, but almost four months is a bit too much.  So by now I've begun to go a little bit insane with cabin fever (without income I don't have the resources to do day trips or anything with all my spare time).  I feel like I have a perpetual state of brain-fog (common among certain chronic illnesses, most notably Fibromyalgia).  I might start off to do something only to forget what it was halfway across the room.  In the end I give up and return to my seat at the computer, adding to a general sense of uselessness and hopelessness.

At the same time, we're now getting close to the start of my new job.  All summer, work seemed so far away.  Suddenly, it's almost here.  I've begun receiving items in the mail from the company pertaining to my first days.  Now all the things I have to do before then are building...I did as much clothes shopping as I could afford so far (I need professional clothing) but I still don't know what I'm going to wear my first day, I didn't lose any weight all summer despite my best intentions, the house is still just as disorganized as it was when I graduated, and above all I need to get myself in the most stable place medically as I can.  What I mean by that is getting my internal clock set to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning, as much energy as I can build, as hydrated as possible, and keep my blood pressure as regular as I can.  If any of those things are off for my first day, I'll be behind the 8-ball from the get-go. 

I know it sounds like I'm being dramatic, but with the excitement of the first few days my adrenaline will be pumping, and that stimulates my dysautonomia.  If that happens, my blood pressure can drop and my heart rate spike, making me woozy at best and pass out at worst, I can quickly become severely dehydrated, get headaches and worse brain fog, and become exhausted.  And that will make me far more susceptible to colds and viruses.  These are very REAL physical ways my body reacts to excitement and stress.  I don't know what to expect in many ways with this job, at least from a logistics and practical perspective, and that increases my anxiety.  I know where I'll be going the first few days but not what to expect, and as fast as I begin to feel comfortable with getting there I'll be sent to a client site in a new location with a new team of coworkers, so everything I'm going through now I'll sort of be going through twice in perhaps a week's time.  I'll have to make decisions about health insurance that I don't feel capable of figuring out, and I already have multiple doctor appointments scheduled for November that I'll have to work out with my coworkers...when I find out who they are and where we'll be working.  I have to travel for a week of training also in November, and while I'm looking forward to that too it poses concerns about maintaining a stable health situation.  Thinking about the post I wrote only earlier this month about being in a stable place that is sought by so many of my chronic illness peers, I can't help but face the uncertainty of my conditions which threatens that very achievement.

Sigh.  I think I'm failing at bringing this to a more positive or at least proactive conclusion.  Maybe I need to dwell on it just a little more, or see if I can resolve some of this brain fog.  Ok please forgive me for this depressing post, and I'll try to come back soon and bring it full circle as I had intended.  If it's really too depressing, read my previous post about God's grace, it's far more upbeat:)  I guess today I really just needed to express my concerns and realize that I can't solve them right away. 

WAIT!  Maybe that's it!  Maybe that's my proactive conclusion.  Sometimes the best we can do is mourn over our problems, accept them for what they are, then try to move past them.  Aha, brain fog - 0, Jen's reasoning ability -1 (but just barely).  Ok guys.  I'm still sorry this isn't as encouraging as I set out to make it, but at least there is a conclusion.  I've enumerated my stressors and realize that I can't fix most of them right now.  That's rather foreign to me, I'm a fixer by nature.  I try to fix everything, solve every problem, all the time.  I can't solve these.  But accepting that helps free me from their clutches.  What will be will be...if I do whatever I reasonably can to reduce risks, the rest is in God's hands and I have to let go.  Wow, I don't think I've ever actually felt so free after saying that before. 

God, here you go - I'll do my best and the rest is up to you.  Thanks in advance.

1 comment:

I'm excited you're here - and can't wait to read your comment!

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