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Stress is Making me Sick

I know what you are thinking….please don’t let this be a post similar to the oneย Aunt Mabel makes at every family get together – the laundry list of ailments!

Well, it’s not and it kinda is, but mostly it’s about getting older.


A few weeks ago I turned 39. Yeah, I’m holding on to the thirties with a death grip.

But it happened and now I’m facing 40 which might not be too bad, right?. Maybe. But in the last few weeks I’ve discovered the freaky thing about getting older – you can’t control your body. And I’m not talking about flatulance. And do I have a story about an old woman at the polling booth with a bad case of the walking farts. Yikes. But more in the realm of stress making me sick.

Everyone has stress, so I understand that my frantic pace is mimicked by many women my age with children, careers, and other annoying things like bills, laundry and calling the repairman, but a few weeks back when the kids started school, I zipped foward like a piece of iron moving toward a giant magnet. My feet slipped, I tried to pull back and turn away, but it was no use. Among the cries of where are my cleats and can you come to the school because they stuffed the fundraising packets incorrectly, I got sick. Well, it started with indigestion. Then it moved to acid reflux, severe abdominal pain and odd little heat flashes. My hair started falling out in the shower and I couldn’t eat because the heartburn/indigestion thing was too bad. The more my kids had drama over their damn football pants not fitting right or me forgetting to sign their conduct sheet, the more it hurt. The more I felt like I was drowning. It was scary.

I sat down in front of my computer to write and all I could do was stare at the screen. I didn’t want to visit blogs, twitter or even FB. I shoved away and melted into the recliner.

I didn’t know what to do because this had NEVER happened to me before.

Not handle stress? Hah. I laughed in the face of anxiety, multi-taking like a mother…and I won’t end it like I want to because I’m the confirmation teacher for our church. I’m also the fundraising chair. And the president of my writing chapter. And…..okay, you get the picture.

So here I was unable to control my body. No amount of good thoughts worked. I took a bath, breathed deeply, lit candles. Nope. The pain was still there, the anxiety had me nearly hyperventilating. I didn’t know whether to vomit or sink beneath the water and pretend the world away. Don’t worry. I wasn’t suicidal, but I was going nuts wondering what was happening to strong, can-do Amy (Liz wasn’t invited to this hoorah because she would’t write – this was strictly an Amy Talley thing). I hated feeling that way. Weak and defeated by my own damn body. But I’m no dummy. I made an appointment with my general practioner and we did a little check up and made sure it wasn’t my blood pressure or my gall bladder. He put me on expensive acid reflux medicine (How much do you think Nexium goes for on the street because it was off the charts at my pharmacy?) and talked to me about finding someone to help me. Like a life coach. Oh, my crap. A life coach? But the more I thought about it, the more I knew that I didn’t have time for a life coach or counselor or whatever they’re called. I had stuff to do, man. A deadline. An AFS. A stupid fundraiser to run.

We settled on Wellbutrin.

I’m not sure I need a mood elevator. I’m still wary of it, but the side effects listed weight losss. A happier, calmer, thinner Amy? Um, maybe I do need a mood elevator. LOL. Okay, jury is still out, but the Nexium seems to being doing the job for the most part. And I have vowed to try my best to not get stressed. For example, upon realizing I hadn’t written this blog, I didn’t sweat it. I just used you folks as my therapist. Ah, I’m so much better now. Maybe Liz will come out and play with me tomorrow. She better. She has a deadline.

So what about you? Ever experience enough stress to make you sick? And how do you deal with stress? Any advice?


20 Responses

  1. So sorry you’re having to deal with this stuff. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Getting older stinks. LOL But as one who has crossed over the 40 line a few years ago, I’ll tell ya it’s not too bad. I’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff. This is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I “LOVE” control way too much. LOL Learn that simple two letter word “NO” and use it often. It’s okay. Really it is. Even when it’s a family member asking you to do something. When I feel that pressure slipping in and my chest aching, I say sorry, I’d love to, but I just can’t. Then I go have some me time to decompress. If the mommy isn’t healthy, the entire family suffers. It’s a work in progress for me, but it’s getting easier and I feel so much better! Big Hugs, girl and hope things smooth out for you real soon!!

  2. Oh, Amy, I DO understand and yes, I’ve made myself sick with stress. (See my private email for more on that. A few ideas to reduce stress:
    1) Give up LSU football…too stressful.
    2) Sell the kids to the gypsies. Added benefit…extra money for shopping!
    3) Learn the word ‘No.’ There are other moms and dads at the school/ church/ writers organization/ baseball or football team that can help out.
    4) Take a deep breath and realize that 40 is not such a bad thing. 40 was one of my best years, actually. The alternative? Now that is not so fun…
    Okay, I’m kidding about most of those but…laughter is the very best stress reliever. Rent your favorite funny movie or spend some time with someone who makes you laugh.
    And consider yourself hugged!
    Take care, Beth Cornelison

    • LOL. Yes, laughter. It’s healing isn’t it? Thanks, Beth, for that reminder. I think we could all use a bit more laughter in our lives. And I forget that there are many more parents that say no all the time. I should so be one of them. Next year I’m not being a room mother, a chairperson, or a person in charge. I need some rest so my writing doesnt’ suffer.

      And nice try on getting me to give up football. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Liz-
        No, no, no! I didn’t say give up *football*. That’d be cruel. Football is too much fun. Just give up LSU football. ๐Ÿ™‚ My husband, the Alabama fan, is still pouting/steaming mad over the way they lost to Auburn last year. He swore then that after 30+ years of pulling for the Tide, he was through with Alabama. Finito. Done. Tired of the stress. This year, he claims, he’s watching only as a neutral observer. He doesn’t care. He’s not a fan. (Yeah, right.)
        So pick a nice low ranking team with pretty uniforms to be your new team. A team not expected to win. No stress there. Say…ULM. THey have nice Maroon uniforms. Oooo, aahhh. Pretty. No close games, no stress.
        No? Really? Must have your Tigers, huh? Well, I tried.

  3. I think that’s what’s been hardest for me. As a parent, you deal in all this guilt. All the other mothers are present at every event, and I feel like if I’m not there then I’m not being a good mother….which is so far from the truth. I am a good mother. I’m just not supermom. I have to accept that.

    Yeah, and that NO thing? I have a problem with that too. Got to work on that.

  4. Oh, Amy, I have definitely made myself sick from stress before. I usually come down with a cold or the flu.

    I’ve tried to dial back the stressful moments by cutting back on non-necessary activities. I only do periodic volunteering at my kids’ schools (no long-term commitments for me!), and I’m cutting back on my RWA involvement this coming year.

    My two best stress relievers are running and sleep. Running gets rid of the knot in my chest, and sleep refreshes my brain so I can get to work.

    Oh yeah, and hugs work really well too. I can always count on my boys if I need a good, long one. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Good luck getting through this. I’m staring down 39 this year too, so I know what you mean about getting older. I keep wondering why my body doesn’t react the way it did when I was 22!

  5. I think we have all been there, Liz/Amy. I passed 40 some time back and you know what? My 40 decade was GREAT! Yes, my eyes started to go to h*ll but that’s normal. (for people who don’t wear glasses, physically your eyes WILL change beginning about 40).

    Gas? Oh holy h*ll. You don’t want to know. But there is a reason for that too. Not uncommon for your digestive track to slow down as you get older so more time for gas to develop.

    You can’t be all things to all people. You have to give up something. I know I gave up local chapter officer (of course I had to when I was elected to the National board, but I’m not going back to being a local officer.) I don’t think members realize how much work being a chapter president can be. Lots of hours there.

    Wellbutrin. Hated it. I had been on a serotonin uptake inhibitor. Wellbutrin is not a SUI. I crashed BIG TIME. Tears. Could get nothing done, etc. Once I got back on SUI, I did much better. HOWEVER, those meds can inhibit your imagination (we won’t discuss orgasms here since this is a family blog! and geeze…) I know that my fantasy life was much more vivid (and sexy) before the doctor got my depression under control. But I had to look at it like…great fantasies but don’t care and impossible to live with versus relatively sane. I chose relatively sane.

    Practice this…”No. I’m sorry but no.”

    Hugs. Wish we could see you guys for the LSU-AR game but after watching LSU last weekend, maybe I don’t want to be there for the game this year! LOL

    • In regards to age, you wear it well ๐Ÿ™‚

      My eyes are good thanks to lasik so I’ll pray they hold out a bit longer. As for the Wellbutrin, I’m not sure if it’s an answer. I honestly think that if I can control my world a little better, I want need anything to keep me from going postal all the time. I think the key is reprioritizing my life better and doing just as you suggested. Saying NO.

      In regards to the hogs, well, they often bite lots of people in the butt. They’ve always been a tough team for the Tigers. We’ll see how they do once we get into the meat of the SEC. It’s brutal and if a team can survive, they’ve got a good shot at New Orleans this year. I think it’s certainly up for grabs.

      • what did you think about hearing that Texas A&M would be joining the SEC? I think they will be a good addition to our conference

        • I’m good with it. They use to be a huge rival for LSU back in the day…and I know Arkansas tangled with them every year. Why not? Plus, it may open up recruiting even more in Texas. Good talent in Texas ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Notice a common theme here, Amy? LOL

    Medication is great as a temporary aid, but unless you address the cause, it won’t do any good. It’s like you have a cut, and you put a bandage on it, but slice it open again. Cover it, slice it. How many times can you do that without real, permanent damage?

    Anything you’re doing because you love it? Make it fit, ESPECIALLY if it’s pure pleasure. (For me, that’s TV [including football*!]. I may delay it [thank god for DVRs!] but I refuse to give it up. It’s my decompressive therapy.)

    Anything you’re doing because you’re “supposed” to by someone else’s random definition, but it directly benefits your or your family? Keep some, drop others.

    Anything you do solely out of obligation that you also *hate*? Drop it like a hot potato, NOW. Forget next year, because you’ll just be bullied or guilted into continuing. Shamelessly blame your health, maybe run your hand through your hair and show them the clump that comes out. If they jump to conclusions? Oh, well. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    *I’m a New England Patriots fan. They win all the time, so there’s no stress there. LOL

    • Yeah, I know that’s true. When I look back on the year I’ve had – moving, trying to sell the house and writing three books, I can see why I might be burning my candle at both ends. I’ve pretty much had back to back deadline and at the end of next year I will have had eight books pubbed in three years…and all of them had to be written, no under the bed ones for me. I’d like to say I need to slow down, but I do feel the pressure (much of it from myself) to produce.

      I do like the Patriots…we always had some LSU Tigers on Bellichek’s team (sorry if I butchered the spelling). They are definitely a force to be reckoned with. But I’m pretty much a Saints girl. Gotta root for the home team.

      • On the plus side, you (hopefully!) won’t be moving and selling again in the immediate future, so that should help a lot.

        That is an INCREDIBLY intense writing schedule! Positive stress, at least to begin with, but then it makes all the other stressors more intense. All the more reason to cut what ones you can. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Oh, the Saints work! They’re consistent winners, too! ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck!

        • Not moving and selling the house is a huge plus. That was about as stressful as it got. I’m actually doing better. Cooked tonight and watched National Lampoon’s Vacation. The whole family was rolling on the floor at times. I forgot how funny that movie is ๐Ÿ™‚

    • “*Iโ€™m a New England Patriots fan. They win all the time, so thereโ€™s no stress there. LOL”

      HA! me too. so true.

  7. Liz, I’m so with you on moving and selling. We left Virginia in 2009, sold the house at a huge loss because we weren’t sure if we were coming back, rented for 10 months in Alabama, then moved back to Virginia last summer, lived in a (very small) furnished apartment for eight weeks while house hunting, put an offer on a house, went to Europe for 12 days while on contract (maybe not our best idea, but at least the inspections were done), then we got back and I left the apartment for Orlando and came home to the new house.

    *deep breath*

    We had fun, but man was it stressful. The worst part was packing in Alabama for the whole summer to include the Europe trip *and* Nationals. I was so afraid I was going to forget something.

    I honestly love living in new places, but I could do without the unpacking on the other end and the stress of selling/buying, especially when having to think about school districts and such. Plus, we had a lot of damage from the movers this time. In the military we sometimes say, “three moves equals a fire.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • That’s pretty stressful, Gwen. Did your hair start falling out too?

      Here’s the deal for me. The stress in my life is par for the course for most. Sure, I’m a little overcommitted but this time I’m not handling it well. Dont know why. Oh, well. Must have been the shock to my system with the brutal pace we took off at.

      Glad you are settled now ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Fortunately, no hair loss, Liz, other than the normal shedding I always have. I’m like a dog; my hair gets everywhere. Drives my husband crazy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        I think we go through different stages in our lives that, combined with our hormones and whatever else, affect how well we handle changes and stress. You have a lot going on, and even good change is hard sometimes. Hopefully, this will pass quickly for you, and you’ll stop dropping hair! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Going through it right now doll! I’ve had congestion and crap going on three weeks now. lower belly pain is now involved. we’ve so far ruled out kidney stones. Not what you’re going through, but the stress is dragging me way down, making it worse.

    They left this kind of crap out of the pamplet when you sign on to be a writer!

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