I’ve decided to start a series of posts where I write about my thoughts and opinions. I’m calling it ‘Musings.’ This is the going to be the first post in the series. Also, this idea actually came to me after I started writing this post, not that it’s really that relevant but I still felt the need to mention it.
Today I made an urgent appointment to see the doctor and, as I was walking home, I was thinking about the appointment and felt inspired to write this post.
I’d been experiencing pretty bad chest pains over the past few weeks. These chest pains have been coming and going for over a year, but they had been particularly bad recently. I decided enough was enough and that I really needed to get it looked at, just to be sure (and also so that my range of movement could be improved, something as simple as reaching over to grab something could trigger the pain).
I was looked over pretty thoroughly- I had my heart and lungs listened to, my heart rate and blood pressure taken and my breathing (or is it lung capacity? I’m not sure, i don’t think I’d ever had that test before, it’s a tube that you blow into, if anyone has any idea I’d like to know, I’m curious!) and was given an idea of what was causing the pain.
It’s pretty obvious, so no prizes for guessing. Stress. Duh.
I should have known really. There were a bunch of other symptoms (palpitations, feeling weak and shakey, fatigue, headaches) that are common symptoms of anxiety, so I don’t know how I didn’t put two and two together. I suppose it was a combination of the fact that I do take anxiety medication and also that I was doing things to relax so I thought my stress levels wouldn’t be high enough to elicit such reactions. I guess I was wrong. Anyway, that’s not what this post is about.
It’s the fact that stress and anxiety (tbh, this probably applies to a bunch of other mental illness, but I don’t have the experience to talk about them) can be so potent that it will cause the muscles in your chest to cramp up painfully. Or that makes your heart pound like you’ve run a marathon. Or that you can suddenly feel so weak and dizzy that you genuinely think you may lose consciousness. I think people often underestimate exactly how much damage stress can do to an individual. Reflecting upon my visit, and considering my symptoms, this all really hit home. I’d read about the physical impact of stress and anxiety and, while I understood it as much as I could, I gained a whole new level of understanding having experienced it myself. Guys, it’s really bloody scary.
So I really wanted to say, please, please, don’t underestimate the effects of stress, not only on yourself but also on others.
If someone says they’re stressed, please don’t dismiss it, thinking they’re making a fuss and that it’s really not as bad as they’re making it out to be.
And if you’re the one experiencing heightened stress levels, take it seriously. You are not weak, but you could do with a little help and there is no shame in reaching out for it. There’s a whole range of options out there, make sure you explore as many as you can and find what works for you (I know I will, and I’ll hopefully be blogging about it too!). And visit your doctor, too- they’ll be able to advise you correctly and point you in the right direction, and, at the very least, they can offer a sympathetic ear.
Oh, and make sure you take plenty of time to relax and enjoy life- you will do so much better and achieve so much more if you’re mentally healthy and happy!
Take care 💜