Stress is a killer, and messes with your body in a lot of different ways. I handle stress pretty well, right up until I don't. Then all bets are off.
The last year has been one giant humdinger of a mess. My mom broke her knee and stayed with us for 8 weeks. My husband and I flung ourselves upon the rocks. My gall bladder had to come out. I got broken by the divorce. My cat got diagnosed with cancer. My job is insane and requires that I get up in the middle of the night. I only sleep in 1-3 hour increments, and spend a lot of time searching for my next infusion of caffeine.
It was a little overwhelming, and all my chickens came home to roost at once. Heck, I'm still spitting out feathers, and we signed the divorce papers in January.
When I found that lump in my left breast, I panicked, and by that I mean, I completely freaked out. It was Full-tilt boogie in meltdown city. It was the straw that nearly broke my back.
Last week I finally got the mammogram and sonogram done. This is a good two weeks from when I found the lump, and my doctor found a few more. That was fun. She wasn't terribly worried, though. The lumps weren't adhering to the skin. They weren't as loosey goosey as she would have liked, but they didn't feel ominous.
So I got all my tests and they are benign. No cancer, thank God.
But I have had more than one stern talking-to on the subject of stress. And a finger-wagging.
Those hormones go raging through your body and cause all kinds of problems. It's a rave in your bloodstream, and your body is the bouncer. Heartburn. Aches. Pains. An immune system that eventually goes on strike.
I even picked up a flu bug last week, probably from the doctor's office, that had me begging my friends to bring me medicine. Mary took a chance and handed me some Alka Seltzer cold and flu, and magic pho through the gate. You should have seen her run back to her car to get away from me. I would have laughed, but that would have required actual air in my lungs.
So you learn a lot of lessons through hard times, and one is this: don't internalize it. You've gotta burn those hormones out of your system somehow, or they will eat you alive.
I am masterful at turning anger and hurt inward. I've got it down to an art form. And that's not good. I blamed myself for absolutely everything. And I ate my pain. Don't do that. I'm learning not to.
I need some hobbies to wind down. When I was younger, I used to build rockets and fly them, but I'm sure that's illegal here. So I need something else. Pottery maybe...or, that Japanese thing where you put shattered China back together with gold or silver. Something to quiet the mind and allow for peaceful contemplation.
I'll never be a Zen master, but surely I can come up with something.
How do you do it?
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