Why We Need To Stop Thinking We Can Do It All

 

There is a lot of debate as to whether stress is good or bad for you, with some people arguing that stress makes me you more productive. Which I don’t dispute.

However, I maintain that too much stress (be it good or bad) still negatively impacts on the body… otherwise we’d be able to handle it and we wouldn’t become physically or mentally ill from it.

I have learnt a valuable lesson this week… that ‘good stress’ is just as bad as ‘bad stress’ – a predicament I’ve never experienced before.

As you may know, I started my new job about 5 months ago now (time flies when you’re having fun!) and I reckon I enjoy it as much as anyone can enjoy a job. It’s the right level of challenging yet rewarding.

Because I’ve been caught up in all the fun, I didn’t realise that the stress of the challenge has continued to impact on my body and as I’ve ended up taking on the role of 3 people’s job this past week, I’ve found myself once again being on the brink of being burnt out.

My memory is shot. I’m in bed by 8.30pm most nights. My epilepsy paranoia is out of of this world. I’ve had migraines. Last week, I had a couple of nights of being inconsolable for no valid reason. I’ve not even attempted to lose weight for the past 3 weeks. My stress management strategies are long forgotten and I’ve had random aches and pains. I accidentally ate yeast because I forgot to check the ingredients before I tucked in. But the most dangerous thing of all… I didn’t realise any of this had happened because I felt happy.

I assumed because I was mostly enjoying the challenge, it wasn’t stressing me out. However, once again I’m left wondering whether long term, working as a therapist is the right job for me.

For now, I’m off to chill out and try and regain control over my life. Starting off with car insurance. Because the joys of adulthood never stop.

GPs Are Now Prescribing ‘Nature’ As Treatment

GPs in the Shetland Islands are now ‘prescribing’ nature (e.g. walks and bird watching) as a treatment for mental health, diabetes, heart disease, stress and other conditions.

Now before my time in the health care system I would have said ‘well what’s that going to achieve? – what a load of twaddle’ – but now, I can’t really deny that they make a good point.

Medication is all very well and good and is certainly needed to keep me afloat, but with the findings that walking can help Type 2 diabetes and that people who don’t exercise are more unhealthy than those on dialysis and people who smoke – I think it’s definitely worth a try.

Whilst I wasn’t working between May and October, we went for a lot of walks and obviously we had our little trip to the Highlands. I actually remember saying to Tim ‘it’s hard to remember why I’m so anxious and stressed when I’m faced with these views’- I felt like a bit of a loser for saying it, but it was totally true.

Aside from the benefits of walking itself, I think getting back to basics with nature helps us put our problems into perspective. We have created this world that quite frankly at the moment, is a bit of a s*** show! The more time I spend on social media the more I wonder what an epic mistake the invention of social media was; there are so many mixed messages on EVERYTHING that it’s easy to lose sight on how to even live. It was even brought to my attention that I breathe wrong whilst I was training as a therapist. True story. And people wonder why sometimes my confidence is low!

In reality, we are no different from the other animals gracing this planet. You don’t see a sheep getting out its iPhone and Snapchatting sheep in another part of the country. They spend their days munching on grass, having the odd run in with each other and just doing their thang.

I’m also a HUGE believer in early intervention and prevention. Our bodies aren’t designed to put up with the huge amounts of crap we consume – be it processed food, smoking, alcohol, drugs, excessive exercise – and whatever else goes on in the world that I don’t know about. Yes these things are fashionable, tasty or addictive, but our bodies are not designed to effectively digest them without causing implications. Why not make the changes before we find ourselves knocking on the GPs door begging for help.

So that’s why I’m quite happy about Doctors prescribing nature. It’s sad that it’s come to that and not recognised as a starting place before the trip to the local surgery – but I think taking it back to basics is exactly what the Doctor ordered!

 

Living Life with Epilepsy

I have been inspired by Hannah Witton to write this post as she continues to blog about her chronic illness.

I will confess that I am lucky. Which is an unusual comment to make when discussing a diagnosis of epilepsy.

I am lucky because I have been able to continue my life. It hasn’t come easy (but who’s life is easy) and I’ve had to work hard. But I sit here typing with 2 Master’s degrees,  a permanent job, albeit one that I am possibly over (find out more here), and I got married last September. Not doing too shabby if I do say so myself.

But as I said, it hasn’t all been fun and games. I was diagnosed at 19 (rather unexpectedly) and to say I was a bit down about it was an understatement. I remember crying A LOT. But giving up was never an option.

Of course you have to get used to the idea that you could have a seizure at any point. I try not to think about it because I would just be a HUGE ball of anxiety (even 11 years later). However, I’ve found two things to help with this… The Medic Alert bracelet, which means you could have an incident anywhere and they will be able to contact your Next of Kin and have access to what medication you’re on. People often confuse mine for a Tiffany’s bracelet which is never a bad thing.

Tim can also track my whereabouts on Google Maps (which isn’t as creepy as it sounds) but he is able to identify exactly where I am so if I text help or don’t answer my phone, he would be able to find me.

When I was diagnosed with epilepsy, the only thing I could find on the internet were forums with (no offence), horror stories. I ended up staying away from internet – it was better not to know. I have decided ignorance is definitely bliss.

It took me about 4 years to get my seizures under control, and every day I continue to implement strategies relating to stress management, fatigue management and the like. I don’t always get it right which can often lead to small bouts of anxiety (or a seizure), but I will do my very best to not let it defeat me.