A week or two ago, I wrote a blog post (which you can read here, if you're super bored) about trying to think of things that have helped me, and my quality of life, improve with Dysautonomia. I came up with 5 Things I Can Control That Help Me Feel Not-Sucky (or TICCTHMFNS), all of which I realized would need their own separate blog entries for me to fully babble about them.
SO, first up *cue game show entrance music*...
STRESS AND THOUGHT MANAGEMENT (Part 1)!
Now, I chose to address this one first for a number of reasons. Well, ok, I take that back. I put this first for one reason -- because it is freakishly important. Yes, it might even be more important than my going gluten free, more important than keeping to a good eating/sleeping schedule, even more important than exercising! Here is why:
I have a theory. My own personal theory that has come around from talking to hundreds, even thousands, of people who have POTS. I touched on this briefly in my other post but, I think, people with POTS/Dysautonomia have similar personality traits, specifically: hard-working, perfectionist, fixer, sensitive type personalities. Now, I'm not saying there is anything wrong with this -- I have these personality traits for sure. But, I think if one isn't careful with these traits, they -- in and of themselves -- can drain the body of a natural energy. Now, add all these traits into one person (like me) and I think it can be very difficult for the body to "rest". I spent a lot of my life worrying and focusing on things I couldn’t control, internalizing other peoples’ anger and frustration, thinking about different situations and scenarios and things that may or may not happen... there was always something. Always. A lot of that hard-working, perfectionist, fixer, sensitive type things.
Sidenote: In case many of you don't know, I suffered from anorexia in the past (I blog about this as well in case any of you might've dealt with an eating disorder, too. That is another thing I've found people with Dysautonomia may have in common). Thankfully, after a lot of therapy and work, I was able to recover.
Now, I imagine the physical toll my eating disorder took certainly might have contributed to my Dysautonomia, but I’m fairly positive my pattern of thoughts/how I deal with stress/ perfectionism/etc. affected it/me as well.
Earlier, I briefly mentioned that I think the body has some sort of natural energy. With all of our cells and muscles and synapses buzzing and buzzing all the time, it would have to, wouldn’t it? I mean, how many times have people said “I’m so drained of energy” or “I have so much energy”? If you really think about it, I imagine everyone would agree that there is some sort of innate “fuel” that the body has, right? (If not, then this post won’t make a single ounce of sense at all so… uhm… work with me please? :P)
I think about it kind of like a well. Maybe when we’re born, we have this big well of energy that hasn’t been messed with by any stress or sickness or worry, so we can totally kick butt at pooping and eating and sleeping for the first bit of life. But as we get older, things kick in. Science has proven that stress has a physical affect on the body. So, if I’m always stressed, how is my body ever going to really relax? If I’m always worrying about things I can’t control (which is practically EVERYTHING), and my mind is alwaysgoinggoingoging, how am I ever really going to be able to settle in and recuperate? If I am always internalizing other peoples negative emotions and my body has to deal with them as if they were my own, how can I ever fully recover?
If I sit back and think about it, even when I think I’m at rest, I’m really not. Add all that up and multiply it by 23 years, and no wonder my poor body just went…
So, even if I am doing numbers 2 (Gluten-Free), 3 (Chiro Care), 4 (Eating/Sleeping Schedules), and 5 (Exercise Part 1 and Part 2) on my list, how much are they really truly going to help me if I'm not making it so my body can stop, relax, and refuel? Something my body needs to do on a very basic level of survival?
Does that make sense? I hope so. If it DOES then yaaaaaaay! That might mean I have successfully explained why all this stress/what you think/blah blah blah is important if you have a chronic illness. If it DOESN'T make sense, well... crap... that means my next entry for this series (HOW I've worked on my stress and thought management, TICCTHMFNS Vol 1.2) will probably seem silly.
I hope it is the former for ya'll. Buuuuut, I will try not to worry about it, because worrying won't help me and my body. :)