Although it may be written in every piece of literature, on every website and in every medical journal nobody truly understands it and what it means… I hope that this may help.
Most people think stress amounts to running a marathon, working hard at work one month or getting a divorce. For a healthier person this might be one definition but for many who are health compromised it is not the end of the list. Far from it.
Noise. Anger. Lights. Fighting. Shouting. Traffic. All these are stressful events. In short, people can be incredibly stressful.
Stress causes pain, flares, symptoms and complications. Stress causes suffering… Unnecessary suffering.
Most of us who are chronically ill will avoid situations that may have a potential for stress; at all costs!
Because some people can be so unpredictable and may not give any consideration to the suffering or pain of the chronically ill, it is for this reason that I have been very cautious about who I choose to be around.
It is for these reasons that many chronically ill live in exile and as virtual recluses. I know I do!
I avoid people’s fights. I will avoid their demands, their remarks, their judgements and their expectations because ultimately it is me and my husband who have to pay the price, and nurse the pains that follow any stressful or taxing event.
We have been carefully considering moving into the country and becoming even more remote and distanced from the rest of the world… We still are considering the practicalities.
I have since become aware that many people with similar health problems have also made similar changes and I understand completely. In fact many of you may even be nodding your heads now as you read.
It seems ironic that years ago I was drawn to places like New York, London and Los Angeles, yet since becoming ill it has reversed my nature entirely. I crave quiet. I long for peace. And I nurture solitude.
Recently a misunderstanding meant that I became embroiled in a heated exchange between several people. Something which I actively avoid. My system is so weak now that this relatively minor altercation made me tired, drained and my nervous system started making my muscles stiffen and strain. Later that night those muscles were painfully contracted and tremor.
Long after everyone else has moved on their merry way, I am left to pick up the physical pieces. It can take a lot longer.
When someone makes a cruel remark it is me who has to deal with the pain and hurtful fallout. I have been deprived of my former resilience.
Thus I have had to work so hard to rebuild my self esteem over the past decade. This has been an enormous task which continues day to day, I can not risk this work to be attacked and undone by a heartless and unthinking person who has no idea how hard I have worked and what I have been through. Therefore people who do cause stress and unnecessary drama are quickly removed from the pool of people that I interact with. Very quickly indeed.
As I get older and progress with these diseases I have had to make some very necessary and expedient decisions when it comes to the topic of people and stress.
I can not, and will not, allow further pain and difficulties into my daily equation that I dont absolutely have to allow. Something’s I do still have some say and control over and I guard them zealously.
I can’t control some stressful situations like finances, deaths, weather and the like. But. I can have some say on what people are allowed into my inner circle and daily contact.
I don’t people very much anymore but I don’t think these diseases are very people friendly. Especially people who are not self aware or mindful of the affect they may have on others. Hence I don’t cultivate relationships with competitive people, aggressive people, angry people, sarcastic people and people that enjoy causing stress and creating panic and chaos.
I am hoping that moving to the country I will enjoy even less noise and interactions.
I can honestly say that I have never been this removed and isolated before, and I spent years on a cattle farm, but I have never had to share my life with such a difficult, painful and limiting diseases and body. It is because of this that I must consider how my body will react to situations and stressors, and try to prepare to manage and cope.
I wonder how many other brothers and sisters out there may understand and identify?