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 www.donutsamdpiedotness.com).
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.
STRESS IS A FUNNY THING.
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!!!
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.