Tell it Thursday- “Stress is a Funny Thing” by Annie Gibbons

Stress is a funny thing. It just kind of creeps up on you! 

I am a very healthy person. A personal trainer, I do yoga, run, eat well, learned to meditate and I have generally, my entire life, been aware of the need to take care of myself.

Life will always bring us challenges, some more then others, but I’ve always believed it’s what you do with those challenges and how you handle it…but sometimes it’s just too much and you don’t even know it. You’re just trying to survive.

Now…2020…the year of COVID. Everyone is trying to navigate a life that is a bit scarier, isolating, and uncertain. Stress seems to be magnified so diligence in managing it is all that more important. I want to share with you how stress recently blindsided me.

My granddaughter has many health challenges from an extremely rare, random mutated gene called Sturge Weber Syndrome. It causes 30-50 daily seizures and required her to undergo a 10-hour brain surgery. (see silver linings at

For my daughter, the trauma of this, along with the isolation of the COVID pandemic,  was overwhelming, which contributed to her relapsing in her fight with addiction. She asked for help right away and once again, thankfully, is in recovery and living in a sober house. Consequently, my husband and I are now raising our two-year-old granddaughter, Adalynn, for the next year. She is one of the greatest gifts of our life.

My doctor suggested I have an endoscopy to follow up on a 2016 diagnosis of Barrett’s esophagus. It was just a routine procedure to be diligent.


So, in the procedure room, just as I was about to be sedated, the doctor asked me if I had anxiety, and why was I there.   

I gave him a quick recap, and that we were now raising our granddaughter, after which he said, “well that’s a lot”. And the anesthesiologist said, “let’s start that relaxation med right away”. It was kind of funny and very much appreciated.

In the recovery room, the anesthesiologist checked in on me. He asked if I remembered waking up or what I had said. I kind of had a sinking feeling, “oh no, I don’t remember any of it…what did I do?”

“You had to be restrained”.


He told me that when I woke up, I was in a total panic, arms flailing, yelling and frantically trying to find the baby.

They gently held onto me until I was oriented to where I was. He was really glad I had given him a little background as to what was going on in my life. Can you imagine if they didn’t know why I was frantically trying to find a baby? Yikes!!!

The takeaway…

My brain and body knew how stressed I was. Every cell in my body knew how much trauma and stress I was experiencing. There was no escaping it.

I am so grateful to have had this experience to ground me and bring me back to the importance of doing something every single day to manage the stress. It was the wake-up call I did not know I needed.

I need to schedule that Zoom yoga or barre class. Plan to get up early enough to run before Adalynn needs me.

I make sure I cut some of my flowers and take them when I run errands to randomly give them to people. Gratitude helps me to manage stress.

I breathe a little deeper, and, like my parents taught me, try to find humor all around me.

Life brings us an amazing range of things. They are all gifts. Some are hard, sad, gut-wrenching, unimaginable. Then there is the beauty, calm, miracles, and accomplishments.

It’s always what we do with all of it. Gratitude feels good right now.




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  1. Peter on October 9, 2020 at 12:43 pm

    Wow Annie. Thank you for sharing. We are all feeling it from different angles and different reasons. I love how you reminded me that every cell in your body remembers. Time to breathe. Hugs.

  2. Vickie Dempsey on October 9, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing.
    We are all carrying a load. That no one knows about. No words to express how much I appreciate your openness. It’s hard to do !!!!
    Feel my love. My hugs. My prayers.

  3. Chris Lavenets on October 9, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    Annie, some days I feel this is all so unreal and is this the new normal? Then I read your story and realize I’m doing pretty well for almost 70. I will be praying for you all and sending love. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  4. Sally Lynch on October 10, 2020 at 2:58 am

    Thanks Annie. That was really well written with a message that we can all relate to in our own individual ways. We all certainly need to be kind to ourselves and kind to each other. Hope you’re feeling good… you certainly deserve to🙏❤️

  5. Kevin Mahoney on October 10, 2020 at 3:49 am

    Annie you are the strongest of all of us Mahoneys besides are Mother. You are a true inspiration and have a heart of solid love. Your personality is infectious and kindess is overwhelming. I dont know how all of us Mahoney’s would have done without a sister like you. I love you with all my heart. Kevin

  6. Lucy Shepard on October 14, 2020 at 8:24 pm

    Thank you, Annie, for sharing. there is always more to the story than we know.
    You have a gift to be with your granddaughter, but at our age it isn’t easy.
    One day at a time. You are an inspiration and stronger than you know.

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