Many of us hold stress in different places, but the truth is - our bodies always let us know. Perhaps you get a headache when you don't get enough sleep. Others get neck tension or their hair starts thinning. For me - my stomach is where I hold my stress.
As a child, the night before a big event would be fraught with severe stomach pain and nausea. In the last 4 years this greatly improved, although with IBS it will never truly go away. I was moving a mile a minute. Juggling my MBA, work, my blog/ instagram, and "thriving."
Dress: Lani the Label, Size XS
But one day 3 months ago, I added something small to my plate. And all of a sudden I was severely sick to my stomach. Conversations that once interested me about vaccines, world news etc suddenly stressed me out. I laid in bed with my heart racing. Leaving the house did not seem feasible. After many doctor's visits, I had to face my reality:
This was anxiety. And by the way, that doesn't mean it's any less of a real problem.
Am I "back" to my normal self? No not yet.
Why am I sharing? Because there is something so beautiful in sharing the in-between moments. The struggles and the small accomplishments - the zig zag journey is what life is about.
What I've learned in the last few months:
You deserve answers - talk to doctors and eliminate other diagnoses, it's not a waste of time. It's for your own peace of mind and you are your best advocate!
Emotions aren't bad, including grief. It is natural as long as it isn't consuming you all day every day
You have to care for your mind to care for your body and vice versa
If you can - remove stresses and make your life simpler. It's ok if travels get pushed out. Your friends will understand if plans get cancelled.
Try everything! I eliminated caffeine, added meditation at night, and have been following a low FODMAP diet for my gut. Trying to solve the problem without medicine was important for me, but for you - it might be the right solution. There is no right answer, but try different things!
It's a marathon - not a sprint! Give yourself a generous timeline.
Celebrate your little accomplishments: I am starting to get excited about travel and photography is bringing me joy again!
In the moments you feel good - do something kind for your partner/ friends/ family that are helping you through this and share your progress with them!
Take these slower moments as a blessing. It has made me realize how important it is for me that I create a life about giving back and that is not being fulfilled right now
Considering we are a year into a global pandemic, it would not surprise me if we've all had some mental health struggles. Have you been listening to your body? What is it telling you?