National Stress Awareness Day: BEDN #6

So, today it’s National Stress Awareness Day, apparently. I had no idea.

However, stress is something I have a very good knowledge of. This year has probably been one of the most stressful I’ve ever had and I’m actually quite proud of how I’ve coped through it. I’ve even recently written a post about managing stress, which you can find here

But overwhelmingly, the reason I’ve coped better with my stress this time is that I’ve been here before. Nearly eight years ago (which is a bit of a shock, as it means I’m not the teenager my brain often tries to convince me of) I had a bit of a meltdown. I’d just moved house, and I was planning my wedding, and then I got a promotion at work. The combination of living through what are commonly held to be amongst the most stressful things you can go through, all at once, conspired to send me spiralling out of control, like Alice falling down the rabbit hole.

The worst bit was at work. I’d got to a point where I felt like I should know the things that I didn’t know. And so I was too embarrassed to ask the questions that I really needed to ask. I struggled, and bluffed, and panicked and just about held it together for a while and then, everything collapsed and I ended up being signed off sick and prescribed medication; Prozac.It was a really horrible time. I felt as though I’d let so many people down, family, friends, colleagues, and I thought I’d made a fool of myself too. After several months away from work, and some counselling, I made a phased return to work. Then I found out I was pregnant.  Still on Prozac, I was told that I had to come off it straight away, rather than the recommended gradual reduction. So, then I struggled with dizziness, nausea, and general freaking-out, as my body came off the drugs overnight, and emotionally I was riddled with fear that I’d somehow damaged the new baby growing inside me. All good fun…

Anyway. I survived. The baby survived. Thrived, in fact, despite an early arrival.  She’s seven on Sunday. And I’m still living a life that’s a bit like Alice In Wonderland, though these days the character I identify with is the White Rabbit, as I’m always late…

I’ve mentioned above about my post that identifies lots of tips about stress management and if you’re struggling yourself, then I think it would be a good read for you. But more than anything, my number one piece of advice for anyone struggling with stress is this:Ask for help.We’re always expecting so much of ourselves, and quite often asking for help feels like an admission that we’ve somehow failed at life. These days, if I can feel myself getting really strung out, or notice my tell-tale signs (crying all the time, waking in the night and not being able to get back to sleep, lethargy, lacking interest in exercise, over-eating and drinking) then I ask for help. And I’m at the front of the queue when it comes to asking the ‘stupid’ questions, those ones that you think you should already have the answers to. I’d rather do that than face the alternatives. And chances are, someone else is relieved that you asked the question that they wanted to ask too!

So, do, ask for help, from family, friends, colleagues or your doctor. The one thing you really mustn’t do is try to struggle on alone. You’ll find that so many other people will empathise with you and so many people have been in a similar position. I wish you lots of luck and peace.

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9 Comments to “National Stress Awareness Day: BEDN #6”

  1. I identify so much with what you’ve written; the pressure not to let people down is so strong, isn’t it? Glad you’re feeling better now.

  2. Reblogged this on southleedscommunityradio.

  3. I’m glad you’re feeling better and managed to get the help you needed. It must be lovely to look at your little girl and know that something positive came out of a horrible time. 🙂

    Janey x

  4. I agree, asking for help though its hard to do is really important, glad you’re feeling better now x

  5. Very good advice, I don’t know why so many of us find it hard to ask for help – but we do. Letting people know what you’re going through takes so much of the pressure off.

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