First and foremost – I am not a Doctor of any kind. This is just from some of my own research and talking with my Doctors. This is my experience – not medical advice.
Stress – tension, anxious, worry, overtaxed, pressure.
I wish I had a dollar for every time a Doctor has told me to reduce my stress level. I am stressed a lot here lately; I’m more stressed than I’ve ever been in my life. It took me a while to recognize just how bad it has gotten. One of the symptoms of stress is depression but in turn depression can cause stress. Hand in hand, but different too.
Emotionally stress makes me agitated, moody and frustrated easily. Makes it hard to quiet my mind and makes it hard to relax. The racing thoughts are horrible and I absolutely despise the forgetfulness because I can not concentrate. The lack of concentration makes it hard to carry on conversations. So, in turn, I avoid people at times. Feelings of being completely overwhelmed and frustrated are common to me.
Physically, I have low energy, headaches, rapid heartbeat and my blood pressure is high. I’ve never had high blood pressure until Amanda died. I previously dealt with IBS which had disappeared after I had surgery for Colon Cancer 10 years ago. Now, it’s back. At times I shake – on the outside and the inside. I have lost weight. I grind my teeth. My sleep pattern is all over the place. Just a few of the physical challenges I have gone through.
Depression actually includes most of, if not all of the above symptoms. But it includes a few other things too. A lack of interest in life – especially things that gave you pleasure, like a hobby. It will also cause a feeling of persistent sadness, feeling of hopelessness, and/or a feeling of emptiness.
I think we are warned and people watch for the depression after the death of a child. But, I believe the stress of learning to live without our loved one is overlooked. Stress can be caused by so many things. Health, finances, work, dead-lines, marital problems and too many irons in the fire are just a few. But, stress from the death of a child hit me out of the blue. I didn’t expect life to be so very stressful. I didn’t expect to feel the stress of trying to get along with everyone. I didn’t expect the stress of what to say or what to do. I didn’t expect the stress of feeling like the world is on my shoulders. I didn’t expect the stress others would interject. I feel like I didn’t have a warning.
I knew to watch out for depression. It’s why I have said over and over to get out of bed and get dressed. Do something, whether it’s going to work or cleaning a counter. Don’t give up and don’t give in. Realizing the stressfulness has hit me out of the blue. I knew I was going through a hard time; I just didn’t have a name for it. Then I realized last night. I am overly stressed.
I have become angry at a lot of things and people. It makes me want to run or retreat into my own little world. I have also become cold towards others. All of which is sin. The way I react to the stress is totally up to me. The world will offer many things to reduce stress – some are “good” and some are “bad” – meditation, yoga, exercise, playing calm music, positive thoughts, guided imagery, alcohol, drugs and food. I have a choice. I can be hateful and angry. I can be withdrawn. I can be cold. I can handle it the world’s way or I can handle it God’s way. It’s my decision, no one else’s.
Scripture has a lot to say about stress/anxiety. Proverbs 12:25 “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.” (NKJV) Philippians 4:6&7 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (ESV) Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved.” 1Peter 5:6-9a “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith” (NASB) Matthew 11: 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
I have some casting to do. I have some praying to do. I have some thanking to do. I have some learning to do. I have to be alert and realize the devil is a destroyer; he loves chaos, division and darkness. I have to humble myself. The stress is from me trying to fix things that are out of my control. I have to turn back to my faith. With God all things are possible! I can’t give up – I have to hang onto hope. With me on my own nothing is possible. I can not fix life and end up with a positive outcome. God cares for me.
Doctors are used by God. I know it without a doubt. He has used mine. Never hesitate to go to a Physician, Counselor, Therapist, Psychologist, Psychiatrist or a Grief Support Group. Prescription drugs (prescribed by a Doctor, not off the street) can help. Therapy can help. We should use all the resources God has given us.
People can make a difference. I am thankful for the friends who have given me a good word. I am thankful for the friends who give me hugs. I am thankful for the notes and messages from y’all (mostly complete strangers!) who have given me encouragement. I am thankful for the friends who have given me an ear. I am thankful for those praying for my family. You have all made a difference in my life.
Love, prayer and hugs to all of you. Remember – God cares.
Manda’s Mom #APG