One funny thing that’s been happening to me since I was diagnosed with MS is that I’ve been growing more and more intolerant to suffering. Not just me: I’ve noticed friends of mine who either also deal with chronic illness or who have been face to face with life threatening situations also tend to turn their backs more often at what’s making life a little unbearable, a little suffocating, a little boring, a little waste of time. Continue reading
There must be something wrong with me
‘Cause I kind of like the bruises
I gave it all and I could have given so much more
Tricking time, tricking memories, tricking stupors…
And I pretend you’re writing your name
Over aching limbs and long distances
Flooding me with the spaces between
Trials and errors, trials and errors…
And I pretend I can defeat
Long hours, needles and pills
And I just fall behind, no need to keep up
And I pretend I can breathe
There must be something wrong with me
I can’t trick I can’t defeat
I can’t connect I can’t breathe
I can’t pretend I can trust
I just remember you asked me to
The question I’ve been asked more frequently in recent weeks is whether I’ve heard from the hospital. This, while showing concern and interest, is beginning to feel like a burden for me. Continue reading
We all have experienced, at least once in our lives, that moment when we wished we could go back. But we know we can’t – it’s impossible – so we grow out of that feeling, reason we weren’t as wise back then, search for the details that tell us things weren’t even that good, all in order to quiet that longing. We say, “My life is actually better now, you know, despite.” But with chronic illness? I’m not sure the process goes like this. Continue reading
At the drugstore the other day. An old man was complaining about how he felt so tired and sometimes his legs didn’t obey him. And then came the annoying words from the lady at the counter. “But you look well!” To which he replied, “I know, it’s not my looks I’m complaining about.”
I mentally high-fived him and took note of his words. ‘Cause, yeah, we’re all pretty good-looking, no one needs to remind us that. 😉
I had to sleep 11 hours today out of exhaustion, and I know most people wouldn’t understand. Even if I told them I work full time and I’m currently going through changes at work, that I have classes at night and spend most of my weekends researching and writing my final paper for college, that I have to manage my apartment building affairs to which I was appointed this year, that I struggle with two chronic illnesses plus some mental issues, while trying to keep exercise and social life at an acceptable minimum, they would still go, “Oh, yes, my life is pretty rough too but I get by with seven hours of sleep.”
So this is a TEDx Talk I found that sums up in 15 minutes some of the things we chronic illness sufferers feel and go through. It’s about Lyme disease, but it could be about multiple sclerosis, endometriosis, mental illness and many other conditions. It’s worth taking a look.
It’s true, zebras don’t get ulcers. For one thing, they don’t worry about things that are probably not even going to happen. Ever. Humans are the only ones who have that ability, and very often when we worry our body turns on a stress response, flooding it with a number of stress hormones that will promote a series of changes in our organs and our natural balance – heart rate goes up, immune system is suppressed, blood is diverted to muscles or wherever is most needed… Basically we have evolved to turn on a fight-or-flight response like zebras and other animals, however, unlike zebras and other animals, we don’t turn it off as easily – and that’s because most of the time we don’t react to threats, but to perceived threats.
This is one of the basis to chronic stress. And we know that chronic stress can damage our body in many ways. It doesn’t necessarily means chronic stress is the cause to several diseases. It means that chronic stress, by permanently altering the body’s homeostasis, creates an environment in which it becomes impossible for the body to fight other factors, such as genetic predispositions or environmental risks. This is true for autoimmune diseases but also for heart conditions, ulcers, depression and many more.
Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers is the bible of stress. It’s not a book about a specific disease, it it rather a book about how stress can pave the way to many diseases. Each chapter focuses on a different system: cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine, digestive, immune, reproductive… It also includes chapters on sleep, pain, memory, depression and anxiety, and addictions. And it doesn’t leave you with that. It includes insights on stress management, coping styles and how personality and temperament come into play.
The book is rather long and at certain points can become a little technical, but it is also filled with humor, relevant research and even the author’s personal experiences. If you needed further proof that you need to work on all that stress that invades your life uninvited, then this is the book to turn to.
Visit the Amazon link for more info:
copyright (c) Stasia Burrington