There are lots of blogs, reports, etc. about stress. I learned the hard way before turning 30 that stress can kill and you won’t necessarily see it coming. I didn’t pay attention to the warning signs, because I didn’t understand the consequences. Plus, everyone has stress so who am I to complain. So maybe the following is true because I didn’t react to stress well.
I was under a lot of pressure at work and had a week where I couldn’t eat anything except soft food. Then it just disappeared and since I had lost quite a bit of weight that week, it wasn’t so bad. A few weeks after that, I did go to the ER because I had chest pains. They did a ton of tests on me, but found nothing and they never mentioned stress, so I moved on under the impression that it would go away or I should come back if it got worse. It went away, or so I thought.
One day, while at work, something happened and I was rather worked up about it. We were a small company and did not have HR. I went to my friend/Office Manager to vent and she happened to be in another area with another female co-worker that I felt safe venting in front of. I remember being very upset and animated, but then everything went dark.
When I came to, I saw my husband and paramedics standing over me. I didn’t know what was going on, but thought maybe in our attempts to right the wrong I felt was being done, we may have went too far. I chose for my husband to take me to the hospital instead of the ambulance. So on the ride, I called my friend to find out what we did.
She informed me that I had a seizure and it was bad. I looked it up later to learn that it can kill you. I had also hit my head when I fell on the nearby desk so that didn’t help matters. I also learned that your brain tries to fill in the gaps of the missing time which is why I thought we had planned something to get awareness to the higher ups and taken it too far. I’m an introvert, so I did not want this attention.
At the hospital they informed me that it could be stress related, but I could be epileptic even though I had never had a seizure before. After several months of medication and doctors visits, it was confirmed that it was a stress induced seizure. I lost the ability to drive for 12 months in my state and I chose not to stay on the meds as they made it difficult for me to function – walk, talk, stay awake. I had young children to care for and I needed my paycheck. Luckily, my friend, passed my house from her own each day to work so I had the ride I needed.
So don’t take stress as part of life, the job, or whatever because it can be seriously dangerous to let the effects go on. I still have lots of stress at times and a different job, but I know when I need to let things go and try to focus on the things I can control. The most important difference is relying on my faith to help me through the challenging times. Remember to pay attention to signs and take time for yourself.
Psalm 119:143 (NLT)
143 As pressure and stress bear down on me,
I find joy in your commands.