www.Hypersmash.com Stress........

vrijdag 8 maart 2013


Stress - what is it, how did I minimize it, how did that help my recovery....

The three things that had the biggest positive impact on my recovery from late stage lyme disease were:
- the antibiotic treatment
- minimizing stress
- time

In this post I want to talk about minimizing stress.

A couple of years ago when I thought of stress I had in my mind a picture like that above. I saw stress as an unpleasant feeling that could be brought on by too much work pressure, money worries, relationship problems, etc. To be honest I never really gave stress that much thought and never thought I suffered from it.

My view now on what constitutes stress is completely different. Looking back, stress was a major inhibitor for my recovery from Lyme disease. And it was also something that held me back in the decades prior to getting sick with Lyme.

I see the following points as the main forms of stress I needed to overcome to recover from Lyme disease:

- Physical stress
I see this as the stress my body was under in response to the Lyme bacteria and to the antibiotics I was being treated with.

- Nutritional stress
When I first got sick I wasn't paying much attention to my diet. I was eating a fair bit of processed food, sugary food and drink, alcohol and cafine. Dealing with this and trying to extract nutrients from this food was putting my body under stress.

- Sleep stress
My worst Lyme disease problem was insomnia. For two years it felt like I had lost the ability to sleep. Often insomnia is caused by stress but for many people with lyme disease it's the other way around.

- Work stress
Now we're getting into the types of problems people typically associate with stress.

- Life stress!
Most days, due to lack of sleep and pain, just getting through the day was a struggle.

What I now realise is that these stress types were reinforcing each other. I wasn't sleeping so I was taking extra caffeine and sugar to get by at work. This led to more sleep stress. Because I wasn't sleeping I was getting stressed out by trivial problems at work. This work stress was adding to my sleeping problems. And so on, and so on, and so on..... I found it a vicious cycle that was extremely hard to break. And my recovery from Lyme disease didn't really kick into top gear until I was able to break it.

What worked for me was to focus on what I could do to minimise each of the stress types I was experiencing.

For physical stress I found acupuncture helped a lot. I drank lots of water. I took probiotics and natural remedies such as cats claw to help improve my immune system. I made a real effort to consistently exercise. Initially just getting out of the house and walking around the block was a real effort but over time it got easier.

For - Nutritional stress I completely overhauled my diet. You can read more about the details in some of my other posts. I cut out processed food and other high glycemic index foods such as white bread, white rice and pasta. I introduced more vegetables and legumes into my diet.

- Sleep stress I found natural sleep aids Melatonin and Valerian helped a lot. I did a mindfulness course and learned about and used meditation, yoga and other techniques such as body scanning. I also found exercise (especially weight training) helped a lot in terms of improving sleep quality so I put a real priority on exercising.

- Work stress and life stress I found that as the other stresses in my decreased then my work stress and general life stress also decreased. Things that seemed like unsolvable issues when I was getting by on 2 hours sleep a night could be easily resolved with the presence of mind and energy I had when I was sleeping 5 or 6 hours a night.

It didn't happen overnight but over a period of months the vicious stress cycle slowed down and then reversed turning into a positive reinforcing cycle. As I ate better I experienced less nutritional stress therefore I slept better and could function better at work thus having less work related stress. I didn't need junk food and caffeine to get through the day and, as I could see the benefits, it was a no-brainer to stick with my dietary regimen.

The breakthrough for me was in August 2012, exactly 2 years after I was diagnosed with late stage lyme disease. After that I began to sleep consistently well and the rate of my recovery skyrocketed. It's now 7 months later and things are still going great. I actually feel much less stressed and much more productive and confident than what I did prior to getting sick.

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