View Full Version : what stress means to me

06-08-2011, 10:12 PM
I have been talking to a few people, privately, about stress and the effects on my life.
I realised it could be good to share with everyone.

Stress is a major concern for us lupies. It can have very undesirable effects on us and our general wellbeing.

Some of the dictionary definitions of stress are:
1. Pressure or tension exerted on a material object.
2. Constraining force or influence.
3. Stress is the body's reaction to a change that requires a physical, mental or emotional adjustment or response
4. People experience stress when they perceive that there is an imbalance between the demands made of them and the resources they have.

Some of the more stressful jobs that I used to do include:-
1. Having 30 staff work under me.
2. Running a nightclub that made $1000.00 an hour profit. (When drinks were only $1.60 a beer, and $2.20 a spirit.
3. Managing a retail shop that had a minimum budget of $1,000,000.00 per month.

Since I have learnt to understand my body, and what is good or bad for it, I have started to understand the good and bad effects of stress.

Stress effects everyone slightly differently, what one person calls normal, another might find unbearable, and yet a third would find insignificant.

To me, stress means, being unable to function properly. My mind does not reason normally. I have constant headaches. I am unable to listen to normal conversations, without my mind wandering off. Sometimes my mind would find the pressure unbearable and it would literally pause.

By reducing my level of stress, I am now able to function as a “normal” person. I can hold a normal conversation. I can reason out most problems. I still become overwhelmed by excess stress.

To better understand what makes this reduced stress life style, I will explain what changes I had to make.
1. Due to stress, I was unable to drive properly. The worst episode, was whilst driving, my mind had a pause. When my mind un-paused, I was further down the road. Unable to reason how I got there, Unable to remember what had happened. Unfortunately I was not where I was supposed to be.
So I gave up my job as a truck driver. Due to other health effects, I gave up all work, and applied for the disability pension.
2. Due to stress, about money (rent), my wife and I looked for cheaper rental accommodation. We found a farm house, that was run down. We negotiated a rental price we can afford. We negotiated conditions to keep the rent at this lower price.
3. Due to stress, I am unable to make the strong decisions required to run a family. I fall apart when left to make hard decisions, under stress.
So I have passed this responsibility to my wife.
4. Due to stress, I become a grumpy unreasonable person.
So when I have a bad day, my family keeps a safe distance.
5. I now take regular breaks. We have a beautiful view from our veranda. This view has hills, and valleys. Open fields and natural bush.
I stop with a drink and enjoy this view. Quite often there is horses, or cows in our view. In the later afternoon, there are usually some kangaroos in our view. There are also quite a few wild birds passing our property all the time, so I enjoy them as well. I sit near a rose bush, so the view also has a nice smell with it.

It was hard to admit I was not capable of supporting my household. It felt I had failed in my role as a husband and father. I am not quite 50, and I have had to admit I am beyond my working life.

Luckily I have a supporting wife. She has her own medical problems, but still is conscience of mine. We are a good team. Together we are happy, very happy.

Stress can also be helpful. We need to find a balance. Stress is what makes us function quickly. Stress keeps our mind active. We need some stress to function at our full potential. Without stress, our mind becomes dull.
We need to find our balance. The level that keeps us thinking, but not enough stress to make us overburdened. This level,(like our lupus), is different for everyone.

06-08-2011, 10:14 PM
right at the moment, i am in stress free heaven.

i am baby sitting one of my grandaughters.

she has just fallen asleep in my arms...............

the joy...

06-08-2011, 10:26 PM
I totally understand this.
I had a stressful job, too. I was a high school teacher in a very large school (3000 students). I loved my job, and loved my students. but the stress was getting to me.
The administration was expecting us to do more and more paperwork and to deal with more and more problems.
When my hubby got the chance to go to California to get a PHD, I helped the school to find a new Latin teacher and we left for the coast.
Like you, I'm enjoying the beautiful view from my window. I can now sleep late if I've had a bad night. I can set my own schedule. I can't stand to do nothing, so I can pick and choose which activities that I want to do. I'm feeling much calmer now that I'm away from the stress.

06-08-2011, 11:14 PM

Wonderful topic! You are 100% correct. Stress is the absolute worst thing for us. I am glad that you have found around most of yours. I have been of work since April 2010 and what I lost in stress from work I gained in stress from money (or lack thereof). Like you, however, I began to look around and see all the things that I believed were the "necessities of life" and figured out that I didn't need them at all. The only thing much of these "things" did was give me stress because I couldn't pay or them! After looking into everything that I had I figured out that I didn't need that $50 Cable bill (and found out that the antenna actually gives me over 30!). I decided I didn't need the huge home phone bill so I went out and purchased a Magic Jack which gave me a home phone, with voicemail and no long distance fees or $29.99 and no monthly charge. Several other things were changed and reduced the amount of financial stress off of me.

Stress does make us more ill. We must do all that we can to reduce the stress on ourselves. Nothing will make us more ill than anything else. It is also true that stress is the hardest thing to get rid of

06-09-2011, 02:00 AM
Steve good topic.

What does'nt help me in a large amount is i'm a very serious person and always have been and things which would mostly fly over people's head worry me stiff plus i have temper if that's risen i'm either stressed out for hours with that or into the next day and i have really noticed it adds my pain to my system.

It's nice to hear yours as eased and your coping with your grandaughter.

Linda From Australia
06-09-2011, 03:32 AM
I have been relatively stress free for many months now, and take things very easy, have adjusted to walking very slowly and allowing myself to 'smell the roses' as I walk by. One of the teachers was talking about how someone they know who is being treated for breast cancer said if they had their time again, they wouldn't go back to pre-diagnosis, meaning, they have changed for the better since having cancer, and they don't want to be the person they were before. I told them that I feel the same. Even though Lupus has made me so sick, I have had a HUGE transformation to the better, I am happier, more content, appreciate things more, love more, patient etc... And they said they have noticed the changes, and also how I have been getting sicker. They even appreciated the fact that they can laugh about me, and make fun of me. We have fun making fun of me, but also, they are very supportive of me. (I hope you understand what I mean)

Anyway, this all came crashing down this afternoon. I realised that I wasn't really handling things very well, it just appeared that I was. The catalyst was, and you may not be surprised, my new STUPID - IDIOTIC - PATHETIC - HORRIBLE - SWEAR WORD - ANOTHER SWEAR WORD - AND SOME MORE SWEAR WORDS I DON'T EVEN KNOW - ...... Apple laptop.

It won't open my memory stick, it won't let me mark the students attendance roll, it won't let me print anything, it won't let me open the students reports properly. The kids had test all afternoon so I planned on doing a lot of computer work. I was so close to tears, a couple of people tried to work out the problems, my principal sat with me for about an hour trying to sort it out, and the conclusion is that perhaps there is something wrong with my new stupid bad apple lap top.

Well, apart from me hating APPLE - what I am actually saying is, I thought I was coping well, being super positive, enjoying my life, and then I got so upset about my computer. I held it together, I didn't want to cry in front of the kids, or the other staff, or anyone else. It is really not a big deal, I could get the work done on another computer, or there are other alternatives. But the problems I am having with my computer just showed me when I thought I was coping with this disease, made me realise that I am not really coping at all, I am just pretending to cope, pretending to be happy, pretending to be content. I really didn't know how badly I was dealing with stress.

To top everything off, last night when I went to the physio, he told me not to do any more exercises to stop me from loosing my muscles , the focus now is to keep my joints from ceasing up, and keep them moving. He told me I am in between a rock and a hard place, if I rest up to stop my joints from hurting, then my joints cease up and I am in more pain. If I exercise to keep my joints moving, my joints hurt from moving them.

My conclusion is, stress is a good thing, but be sure you know how much stress you can handle before you realise you cannot handle the stress. I wanted to hand in my resignation this afternoon, curl up on the couch with my dog and take a bunch of sleeping pills and sleep for a few days. Then I got to talk to my buddies on WHL, and I just want to curl up on the couch now and cuddle my dog. Thanks for holding my hand guys, you are the best !!!!!

Steve I asked you on another thread if I can live with you in heaven????? But I also want my hubby with me, and my kids as well, and my dog, and the cats, and the fish and can I please take my 31 grade 6 kids because they would love to spend time on the farm, and can I please bring my daughter and her husband because they are so much fun, and can I take my teacher friends from school because they make me laugh when they make fun of me, and can I bring my principal because he stands at the end of the play ground and says to me, "come on Linda, you can make it" and pats his legs like you do when you are trying to get your dog to run to you. Can I please please run away and live on your farm?????? I suppose not then, it will be too stressful for you I suppose.......

I am going to see my autistic daughter's psychologist on Monday, all on my own, without her. And this time, I am going to tell him everything about how life really is, and this time, I am not going to be brave and tell him all the good things I am doing to fight this disease,

06-09-2011, 04:23 AM
The idea of stress... by itself... is not a bad thing. Stress can be interesting... stress by itself is not a negative concept, but because in this period of human existence we push ourselves WAY too hard, stress induced conditions are becoming more frequent... so we associate stress with bad outcomes.

For example, skydiving is putting a lot of stress on both your body and mind. Yet in general it is considered a pleasurable event.. like many other pleasurable actions that also involve stress : ) lol

It becomes a bad thing, when your body... or mind... looses the ability to cope with it.
A stress is the same thing for everyone (technically speaking), but different people have different levels of coping. Some people can not cope mentally with stress... and others can not cope physically. And everyones reaction to not being able to cope, is also different.

So while, say, a crying baby will stress everyone... to what degree and in what manner depends on the person. It depends on their health, their state of mind and their previous experience.
Nurses in a premmie ward would have less symptoms associated with the stress of a crying baby than say an adolescent male would (who would likely be clawing at his ears).

I have always had more physical reactions to stress, my mother has more mental reactions... she has always called me her rock. So while I would get physically sick when pushing myself too hard, my mother would become a basket case and cry herself to sleep in the same circumstance.

My stoicism however, only carried me to this point. Ignoring my symptoms of inability to cope with stress has landed me here, at the point where even the smallest thing sets off a physical reaction. I almost pass out. I probably wont admit defeat though... and end up killing myself through stubbornness. : /

06-09-2011, 06:45 AM
this is where the name "mental dysfunction" comes in.

you cannot function as you would normally.

it may not be your not coping with stress.....................
it may be the dysfuntion altering your ability.

yes - you are lupie.... no - your not loopy.

Linda From Australia
06-09-2011, 06:48 AM
OK, I think I understand, so now I need to know what I can do about it!

06-09-2011, 07:03 AM
take everything one item at a time.

your mind will have trouble multi tasking.
(something a grade 6 teacher usually does all the time)

give your mind time out......
not because it was naughty.... but because it needs a rest between tasks.

break all tasks down to the basic simple steps........
you usually can acomplish basic simple.. (not always, but usually)

find fullfilment in each step you have accomplished.
do not look at the end goal..... only the next step.

remember you can and will succeed.


06-09-2011, 07:10 AM
For the first time in my life I am making a conscious effort to combat stress. My childhood was one of survival mode. My dad was very abusive towards my mother and a raging drunk. I lived walking on thin ice daily. I moved out and married a man who, although is the love of my life, children living what they learn, he has a lot of the same personality traits as my father had. We mutually agreed I'd be a "stay at home mom". That brought much joy, but much stress as well. I was the one who dealt with EVERYTHING as hubby believed his only job was to bring in a paycheck. I coped with it all with no partner to share the burden with but a partner to add to the load. Kids grew up. In 2006 I was offered an administrative job with the organization I had been a volunteer with. Great money! I loved the actual job but the people I worked with were extremely difficult. Although it was part time pay, it was full time stressed. I lost myself in that job and lived it 24/7. I missed a lot of my youngest' teen years. I was always stressed out and never able to relax. I did the job, came home and took care of the house and a husband who refused to help out or be supportive emotionally. My health got worse. I developed high blood pressure on top of the lupus (which then was believed to be RA). Friends implored me to look for another job but with the economy, it wasn't an option. My marriage was lousy, my health was lousy, my emotional state was a disaster, but work wise I was amazing. The job took all of me and left nothing for anyone or anything else including myself.
Out of the blue, on a holiday weekend last July, I got fired via email. The reasons given were a lie which I proved, the truth being something I care not to go into but rest assured, it will catch up with them. I was devastated. That job had become my identity and face it the money was awesome. On top of that, my hubby became a "kick em while they're down" and he became even more verbally abusive that he had been all the years before. My daughter got involved with a guy who at the time I couldn't put my finger on it but I knew there was something "not right" about him. Her personality changed dramatically. To put it bluntly, she became a mouthy (w)itch. She moved in with him but when I did see her, it rarely went well. Emotionally, I was in pieces. Physically, my RA was getting worse and I couldn't handle it anymore. The new year arrived and one day I woke up and was DONE. I snapped. I realized if I didn't take control of my life now, I never would. I made an appt with my Dr. She sent me to an rheumy. Goodbye RA, hello Lupus. Well that explained a lot! I was taking baby steps, but they were baby steps forward nonetheless and I am standing up for myself. Something I could do with everyone else but my husband. He doesn't know what hit him. He verbally abuses me and, depending on the moment, either "hit" him right back or I psychology him. Either way, I'm claiming my right to be treated properly and not backing down.
I miss that paycheck. Unemployment has helped but that runs out this month. Fortunately I job got a temporary job for 2 months starting July 6. After that we'll see what door opens.
I've learned to "Let go, let God". I'm learning to take care of myself. I know the effects of stress and am done with being stressed out all the time. I'm learning that it is ok to put myself first now and again. To take care of myself. If I don't no one else will. I'm learning to live in peace. My mantra has become "I will not die as I have lived".

06-09-2011, 07:22 AM
thank you for sharing this part of you.
it is not easy openning up like this.
but hopefuly it will help us to understand...........
understand you..................
understand us.....................
understand lupus...........

thank you