Stress is a Bitch

A few weeks ago, I was so stressed out about so many things, and I was having a meltdown about something insignificant because whatever it was, was the last straw. I told Andy I needed a change of scenery, needed to take my mind off all the things pulling at it.

We took a day trip to the not-so-exciting border town of Frankfurt (Oder) (not to be confused with the big Frankfurt) and walked across the bridge to Slubice, Poland where Andy got some tasty beer and I got a couple of ciders. I spent the next two days reading and playing a board game with Andy while drinking our Polish souvenirs and lounging around and not doing anything productive at all.

Frankfurt (Oder) as seen from Poland

Stress, for the most part, is not a good thing. Some people are better at handling stress than others, and I envy those people. I wish I could just let go of things and fully accept that almost nothing is worth worrying over.

Things like, how can I make more money? (I’m talking about wanting to earn what I did at my first job out of college, not how to be a millionaire or anything.) Are we going to be able to go away for a few weeks this winter? How do I make new friends in Berlin? How are we going to find curtains to fit the non-standard-sized guest bedroom window?

I’ve been in a nonstop intense stress cycle for quite some time now. I don’t even know what started it or how far back it goes. Months? Years? My whole life and it’s just been building and building? Yeah, maybe it’s that. But now I’m stressing about the stress.

You see, stress is my biggest trigger for my colitis issues. I used to not worry about my colitis; I took my medicine and everything was fine. But that hasn’t been the case over the past few years, and now I feel like my mind is spiraling.

I can only blame food poisoning for part of what landed me in the hospital this summer since my problems really started some time before that due to stress. My body was vulnerable, I could tell, and all it took was a bad batch of chicken to push me over the edge.

I had an appointment with a new doctor a few weeks after I got released from the hospital, and it was not good. After just a few minutes, he started talking about switching my medication to much stronger drugs that I’m not willing to take yet. He reminded me of my increased chance of colon cancer about a dozen unnecessary times, as if to scare me into taking these drugs. Despite my reasonable explanation for my high iron numbers, he started freaking out that I might have a genetic disorder. I also felt like he didn’t want to listen to me and like he was trying to rush me out of his office.

Needless to say, I immediately started looking for a new doctor.

I want to tackle my stress issues in order to improve my health and try to prevent major issues like what happened this summer. I don’t want to just throw a bunch of scary new (to me) pills at the disease and ignore the triggers.

But like I said, now I’m stressing out about stressing out. I’m worried that I’ll get sick again before I can get a better handle on my stress. I feel like I’m racing against my own body. Too much stress can make me sick, and being sick stresses me out, and trying not to stress out stresses me out…it all just spins around and around, chicken or the egg.

Physically I’m doing much better than even a few weeks ago. After two and a half months of taking prescription steroids, I’ve been done with them for a few weeks. I’m eating healthy, still mostly Paleo but not being insane about it. My strength, at least the little bits I had before getting sick, is finally back.

hanging out with my friend Gigi and her adorable dog Luna in Amsterdam last week helped too

It’s been a rough three months, but I’m finally starting to feel like myself again.

Now I’m focusing on the stress issues. It’s not easy, and there’s no quick fix. Therapy, acupuncture, meditation, forcing myself away from the computer more often and doing things like reading and exploring…hopefully these things will all start working and I’ll be able to calm myself down more, whether the stress is creeping up on me quietly or hitting me over the head with a mallet.

Because really, isn’t having less stress and improving how I deal with stress way better than taking stronger drugs and STILL being stressed out?