Thursday, 3 December 2015

Stress Test

Today, at my second counselling session, I was given a stress test.  Fair to say I scored highly on the physical and emotional symptoms, slightly lower for the behavioural ones.   Apparently, anyone with a score over six in any of the three areas is suffering from stress.  10, 12, 6.  Hummm...

My counsellor has been on various courses, but she reported that one government funded course she went on suggested the best treatment for stress was to remove the cause of the stress.  Right! Why didn't I think of that! So every stressed mother looking after a disabled child, or every daughter caring for her elderly father, or every husband looking after his sick wife...they should just get rid of the cause of their stress!

Idiots!

I did discover some things about my symptoms that I hadn't really thought of before. This is good, because having an awareness of these things will allow me to manage them better.  When I can't think of the word for something, or I can't find my notebook even though I just had it in my hand, I haven't got early onset dementia. I'm stressed.  When I become anxious and start getting palpitations over something that is seemingly straight forward, and for the most part, already planned out. I'm stressed.  When I reach for the chocolate, again, even when I shouldn't. I'm stressed.

The physiological response to the impending doom of infertility, this crisis point that has been shown to parallel the levels of anxiety and depression of those going through cancer treatment; this thing that 1 in 6 couples go through, it causes our fight or flight response.  And this just keeps going, because the only way to truly resolve it is to get pregnant.  Those going through infertility are grieving for something they have never had.  I know, it seems odd, doesn't it?

This is the truth of the matter though. Those going through infertility, are in constant fight or flight mode, and this takes up a lot of energy.  If you are going through this yourself (or you know someone going through this) remember:

Don't beat yourself up about it.  

You need a bit of extra rest, you need the extra calories, and you need a bit more time for the other things.  Like, certainly in my case, speech!

I already have some good coping strategies in place, but I often feel guilty or ashamed of how I feel or how I'm reacting.

I have been given permission (by my counsellor) to 'do' one or more of the big five, for ten minutes a day:

  1. Happiness
  2. Sadness
  3. Guilt
  4. Anger
  5. Shame
Ten minutes to reflect and rant on the good, the bad and the ugly.  

She has also instructed me to do ten minute of cadio exercise three times a week. Her suggestion is dancing around the kitchen with the music blasting.  I think I can stretch to the odd run or bike ride. 

Yay for endorphins!