Do you have a SICK feeling? Are you TENSE? RESTLESS? EDGY? Far too STRETCHED? STRUGGLING to make it through the day? Okay, I admit I’m attempting to be clever. If you take the first letter of each capitalized word and string them together, they spell STRESS. Everyone experiences stress to varying degrees. It is an inevitable part of our daily lives—and not all stress is necessarily bad.
However, when chronic and/or large doses of stress become unmanageable in your life, you are likely to become sick. In this post, I want to focus on recognizing when stress is making you sick and what you can do about it.
It’s important to know the symptoms of stress. Symptoms of stress are manifested emotionally, physically, cognitively and behaviorally. In short, a person who is getting sick from stress may experience aches and pains, depression, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue and other serious health concerns, including turning to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate.
Let me emphasize serious. Clinical depression is a serious mental illness that can lead to suicidal thoughts—and attempts. Self-medicating often leads to addiction. Constant high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) can cause many critical illnesses such as heart disease, low immune functioning, high cholesterol and blood pressure, to name a few.
I am not a physican, psychologist or therapist, but I am someone who has experienced many of the above-named health concerns resulting from chronic, debilitating stress. I had reached a point when I knew I could not go on living that way. Finally, I had recognized that stress was making me sick—and I got help.
If you are reading this blog and clicking on the links, is it because you suspect that stress is making you or someone you know sick? If so, please continue reading.
If chronic stress is damaging your health, get professional help. No excuses. It’s true, a therapist or doctor cannot eliminate the stress in your life nor solve your problems for you, but a professional will be able to diagnose what is wrong and help you to restore health, hope and stability in your life. Once you gain some relief from your ongoing fight or flight response, you will be able to function better mentally, emotionally and physically. When hope and clarity return, you can work on taking the next steps toward getting yourself out of that terrible job, relationship or other circumstance that is the source of your stress. A trained professional will help you to see your way through.
Is STRESS making you sick? Call Samaritan Counseling Center at 412-741-7430.