Sunday, February 26, 2012

Stress = Illness

  Have you ever imagined what it would be like to go through life and have at least ONE stress-free day?  Are you consumed with meeting your family's needs?  Are you overwhelmed?  Do you wish you could just lay in bed a little bit longer on the weekends?  Here is my advice to you : DO IT!!!!  Take care of yourself and your body. If you don't do it, no one will do it for you and there could come a time when you wished you would have.

  Like it or not, It's a proven fact that having a step-family dynamic is more stressful than having a "normal" Leave it to Beaver family.  There are so many different reasons as to why, but just to name an obvious few;

1). Scheduling. Making sure everyone is on the same schedule for visitation, extra curricular activities, etc.

2). Finances. As a friend of mine has said to me before.  "It's pretty much a written rule that if you are going to have a step-family that you must be poor."  I know in some cases finances aren't that difficult but in the majority of blended families, they are.  You have outgoing child support, alimony, and medical costs which go to support the children at their "full time" home.  If you are a custodial step parent, often times you may not be receiving child support or the other parent may not be doing their "fair share."  Then there are court costs if you are locked into a head to head battle with a parent who will not compromise or co-parent for the best of the children.

3). Parental Alienation.  It's ugly, it's sad, it's depressing.  When one parent chooses to speak ill of the other in the presence of the children, that is parental alienation.  When one parent tries to convince the kids that the other parent doesn't love them as they do, or provide for them as they do, or just lies about the other...THAT'S parental alienation.  That is also a form of child abuse.  It's easy to spot but hard to prove in court because our law makers have yet to be fully educated on the matter or if they have, they just don't care because without us divorcee's and step families their wealth wouldn't be what it is.

With just those few things listed, on top of what a normal family goes through, it's enough to send you into what I call Stress Overload.  Stress is linked to the amount of cortisol your body produces.  If you are under a great deal of stress your cortisol levels sky rocket, potentially causing a multitude of health problems.

 You may be wondering why I am posting a blog about something that so many people already know about, but the truth is too many people believe it won't happen to them.  I was one of those people.  I kept it bottled up inside so not to over stress those around me.  I was and am a typical mom/step-mom.  Not only does my normal family dynamic depend upon me but so does my blended family dynamic.  It may sound conceited but it's the truth and is the truth for 95% of blended families.  The weight of the families' burdens are placed directly on our shoulders---the woman.
  A year ago I was diagnosed with a disease called Reynauds. It's a phenomenon that is caused by 2 things.  A). Cold weather.  B) Stress.  Once you get it, it won't go away.  Reynauds causes the vessels in your hands, feet and other extremities to constrict.  It limits the blood flow to those extremities and causes pain and discoloration (blue or white).  Mine was undoubtedly caused by stress since I had never had an issue with cold weather before.  Now that I have it, not only will my fingers, toes, nose, ears etc. turn blue/white and lose blood flow due to stress but weather now affects me as well.  There is no going back once you have this disease.  No amount of stress decrease...NOTHING.  It's yours and you better embrace it, learn how to control it, and live your life around it especially during the winter months.  Going to the freezer to grab some ice for that sweet tea on a hot summer day?  You better wear gloves or you will be in some serious pain.

 Last month I made a trip to the emergency room due to pain in my back and in my side. It was assumed that I had kidney stones but after a CT scan it was discovered that I have cysts on my liver, kidneys, and adrenal gland (it's the gland that sits on top of your kidneys).  After some research and doctors visits I found out that your adrenal gland is responsible for the bodies "flight or fight" responses.  AKA: Cortisol.  Your bodies natural defense against stress.  Your adrenal gland also plays an important role in many of your vital organs.  It is responsible for maintaining your bodies blood sugar, blood pressure, adrenaline, estrogen/testosterone levels. Trying to get pregnant? If your adrenal gland is over active and producing more cortisol than needed due to stress there's a strong chance that you won't conceive and if you do there's an even bigger chance that your pregnancy will not make it past the first trimester.  The adrenal gland not only produces the cortisol your body needs but also the hormone DHEA that helps your immune system fight off diseases.  Your adrenal gland will only produce one of those hormones at a time and if you are under a constant state of stress it will not produce the needed DHEA for your immune system to fight off sickness.  If you have adrenal gland issues you will more than likely have low liver function as well.  Weight issues? Not only is your thyroid a hidden factor but so is your adrenal gland.
  The cause of my cysts....Stress Overload.  My adrenal gland has been producing too much cortisol resulting in adrenal fatigue which resulted in my cysts.  I will more than likely have to undergo surgery to remove the cyst but if I don't get stress under control the surgery will be pointless because it will come back.
  My advice, take care of yourself.  No one will do it for you.  Find something you enjoy and do it often. Step away from situations you have no control over.  Confide in your spouse and make him/her aware of stress issues and stress related health complications.  Ask yourself this "In a month from now will this matter? In a year from now will this matter?   Don't just shoulder the burden, share it!

1 comment:

  1. Terrific advice, April. You might also like to let your readers know about my book, THE SECRETS TO STEPFAMILY SUCCESS by Gloria Lintermans,

    This is what a reader had to say: "Thank you Gloria! And thank you for your permission to use some quotes from your article for my article. I am seeing if it'll get published soon. I'll let you know when it does. Also, I won on Buckeye BonusMom your book and I absolutely love it! Thank you for all of your amazing and wonderful insights!"