Monday, August 25, 2008

Be Still My Beating Heart

I'm a pretty outgoing, tell it like it is kind of person. What you read/hear/see is what you get. Heart on sleeve and sometimes less than diplomatic. I'm not one of these quiet brooding types or someone who suppresses their feelings in order to convince everyone that everything's just fine. I learned a lesson a while ago being married to a very relaxed and easy going man who never appeared to be stressed, even when under intense pressure. He took his own good time, never rushed (in fact we were always late), relaxed on the weekend to the point that a pile of topsoil left over from our turf laying became a grass covered feature because he was too lazy to spread it elsewhere. . . he napped if he was tired, was very cool, very calm, very collected and I only ever saw him angry twice in our 11 year relationship. Underweight, regular exerciser, non smoker and light drinker, fit as a fiddle . . . died at age 35 of a heart attack!

Me on the other hand, I let my feelings show and whilst I'm not much of a crier, I have been known to scream like a banshee, tell people off, slam a few doors, voice too-loud opinions and demand my own space and time. I always thought people like me vented their stress and so wouldn't have weird symptoms . . but no . . .

This weekend, I've been having symptoms of stress. I don't have them often and I only know they're stress symptoms thanks to extensive tests 4 years ago after my father died and they first manifested themselves as Cardiac arrhythmia (fast irregular heartbeat) when I'm emotionally stressed (can't be physical cos I haven't done anything more physical than hang the washing out!). I can hear my heart pumping in my head, my shoulders, every pulse point on my body. Then I get panicky because I think I'm going to die and it gets worse before it gets better and then somehow, I fall asleep and all is well with the world, until I wake up groggy and lacklustre and require a 'sanity day' to recover. It was decided by the cardiologist that that I have sympathetic stimulation due to physical or psychological stress (the so-called "fight or flight" response), but can also be induced by stimulants such as amphetamines (nup havent taken any of those) or caffeine. I did have three cups of coffee with Babysis on Saturday morning? Hmmmm.

My problem this time, is I have NO idea why I'm stressed. I feel calm, I'm pretty healthy apart from creaky knees and some RSI in my 'mouse' arm (yes decades of pushing a mouse around have given me a clicky wrist and 'mouse' elbow!). Sure I have the normal every day job stresses, worry a little about ClareBear, money issues, there's a shit load to do around the house and my motivation levels are below zero but these are hardly reasons to get the ticker out of whack.

So today, I had a day off, watched a few DVD's crashed on the couch and they're still coming and going . . . it's more than irritating . . . and impossible to stop until I work out what's bothering me. In the interim, it's off the caffeine and alcohol and into some meditation. Right, off to dive into my inner cave and practice my deep relaxation techniques. And if Laughing Wolf has anything to say about it, I probably need to get me some! Oh be still my beating heart!

20 comments:

Babysis said...

Mmmn Stress. You know Dr Lou says one needs a certain amount of stress in ones life - otherwise one doesnt know when ones pissed!

Cheer up! I have decaf coffee too!

Thriftcriminal said...

can't beat a good laugh for that sort of thing either. You know, the one that leaves you crying and your stomach sore. Haven't had one for a while myself.

Ces said...

I could have written this, except being widowed by a 35 year old husband, I am sorry, Baino.

Now, did I write this? Did you copy and paste my scheduled post for tomorrow or did you copy a previous post of mine? :) Hot dang! I am reading a description of myself Baino. Very scary this stress and anxiety crap sometimes and quite disruptive. Here in the US if you go to a doctor you can pile up diagnoses and end up with a pharmacy in your bathroom. Seriously though, for a long time I had intermittent chest pain and feelings of anxiety. It's worse if you are a nurse and work with nurses. Some fellow analysts threatened to drive me to the ER (wait a minute, I worked in the ER!). Long story short and after taking my patients' place on the beds and $13000/day visits to the hospital (and without revealing my medical record through the blogs), do get the cardiac and other (acid reflux, gallbladder)physical condtions ruled out. That feeling is very disruptive and most likely has some physical reasons or talk to your OBG. She/he might be able to help. It's tough being a woMAN. The crap woMEN put up with after MENarche and the crap woMEN go through every MENse, pre-MENopause, peri-MENopause and post MENopause. See there it goes it's the MEN's fault. Or you can try a hollistic approach and take a deep breath...deep breath...resist the urge to poke the eye of the person suggesting "deep breath...Ahmnn...ahmnn..." Sometimes you just have to ring your best friend at 2AM and let her guide you to sleep...Please take care of yourself.

English Mum said...

Blimey, how scary. Yep, the meditation sounds good, but what about some good ol' fashioned pampering. Nice relaxing massage? Facial? Hope you feel better soon xx

laughingwolf said...

stressed = desserts

sorry for your loss, baino :(

if you can, try tai chi chuan, combined with qigong... chinese slow-motion exercise and healing

no drugs, just gumption

but get doctors' diagnoses, first

Nick said...

No idea what could be causing the stress, Baino, except maybe putting too much pressure on yourself (there's a shit load to do around the house). But I wouldn't worry about it if I were you, it'll probably pass of its own accord in a few days. Just try to relax and enjoy your favourite things. As Ces says, go to the health pros and you'll just get a pile of tests, a pile of diagnoses and probably end up feeling much the same as before.

Quickroute said...

Sounds like a change of scene and pace are called for - day at the spa perhaps as EM suggested.

Lehners in France said...

Baino that must have been aweful to lose your husband at thirty five. I am so sorry.

As for the dicky ticker, Bob discovered he had a "leaky valve" the symptoms sound similar. Take it seriously and get it checked out properly. Hugs Debs x

Jay said...

So sorry that you were widowed so young, Baino. :(

I'm with Ces - I could have written this too. I've been the whole 'raft of tests including cardio workout' route, twice now, and so far as anyone can tell, nothing's wrong with me apart from fibromyalgia, underactive thyroid, raised blood pressure (being treated) and .. yep, stress. Now, what do I have to be stressed over? I don't know either. But there you go.

I prescribe time spent with good friends and much laughter. And hugs.

Oh, yeah, and plenty of sleep, which is probably my biggest problem, come to think of it. ;)

Baino said...

Babysis, maybe that's half the problem, I'm on the wagon! Perhaps it's withdrawal symptoms!

Thrifty you're very right nothing like a good belly laugh to clear away the cobwebs. I must find myself a comedian.

Ces, cardiac's ruled out. I have the heart of a horse and the lung capacity of a sperm whale if my peak flow is to be believed! OBG -not necessary, I had a hysterectomy last November so appart from a few hot flushes, menopause has been fine. It's definitely a stress response (It happens less than once every year and the deep breathing relaxation seems to have worked, I'm fine today. Men! Ha . .that could also be the problem, perhaps I need one!

Thanks EM .. well that goes without saying . . I don't need palpitations to convince me that a nice aromatherapy session might be called for! heheh.

Actually Wuffa, I've been thinking about a Thai Chi class. Not too strenuous, very relaxing and it looks beautiful too. Nah, I'm drug free and would like to stay that way.

Nick I think having a few problems at work with a new staff member (she's on thin ice and if she doesn't work out, It's me who has to deliver the death knell). Hard to fire someone for being, sweet, well intentioned, hard working but a little clueless.

Quicky, your post didn't help! God, talk about getting the heart racing!

Debs, yep it was but that was a long time ago now. All checked and all clear . . .although I think I really need to do all those things that doctors recommend, lose weight, take more exercise, stop drinking etc. *sigh*

Thanks Dr Jay. I'm a bit of an insomniac I must admit but then I've always been a poor sleeper but I seem to manage on 5 or six hours a night. I have a thyroid condition as well but it doesn't seem to affect anything. Had it for years without knowing. Sorry to hear bout your fibro, very painful at times I believe.

Ces said...

Good. I am glad your heart is fine. I thought you had a fine heart :)

Moon said...

It's very interesting to see what some people stress over and what other don't.

Some people thrive on the pressure, some can't be arsed. What some people panic over, scream and shout, other just smile, chill out and resolve the issue .....

Come sit on Newport Beach for a while ... x

Bimbimbie said...

I'm so sorry about your husband Baino. Stress is a strange thing, we need it in our lives, a little is good too much and we are in trouble. It's the stuff that comes at us from others and how we react to it, we are nearing the end of some work on our home and I've found visualising a help. For instance our plumber, was a total goose so I invited the NZ Rugby Union team over to practice their Haka on him before drop kicking him head first into our septic tank ... now that just leaves the electrician, and the flooring company and I'll be able to unravel myself ;)

Seriously, I'm pleased you have been medically checked out*!*

laughingwolf said...

good... qigong is a related discipline, deals with pressure points, and totally safe! :)

steph said...

Baino

You've been carrying a double load of parenting, bringing home the readies and managing a home for years. Is it any wonder your body is complaining?

My body reacts like that when it's put under stress through illness. It's horrible because you can't relax and even though you might crave sleep, your mind and ticker are running a marathon.

I agree with Thrifty. A good belly aching laugh works wonders. Glad to hear you took a day off to be nice to yourself. You should pamper yourself like this more often.

Megan said...

Problems that come at you from the inside are the worst. Best wishes. Did they put you on anything or are they still evaluating? My mom has an irregular beat and she has to swallow some damn pill every day until the end...

Kath Lockett said...

Aw Baino, I didn't realise that you lost your husband so young...

...as for you. Lie down, have a good laugh and perhaps even - dare I say this - drink green tea instead of chardy for a while??

Baino said...

Thank you for your suggestions, Newport Beach sounds wonderful Moon if not a little inaccessible at the moment so I'll settle for Palm Beach!

Bimbimbie great idea . . although my visualisations might involve violence, particularly towards my bro who's septic is leaking and has cut a hole in my filter box and not fixed the lights in the carport and is continually adding crap to the verandah!

Megan, nope, not medication worthy. I resist that with a passion! I just take Cartia which is a low dowse buffered aspirin. Apparently a good idea for us old farts.

Well Kath, like I said, it was a long time ago now, every day over 35 is a bonus and I am now the oldest living member of my family! Fuck that's scary and I get to open my Christmas presents last due to our youngest to oldest tradition. Green tea? Not a fan but I have decided to go on the wagon for a while (more to lose some weight than anything!)

Grannymar said...

I'm with Thrifty. A good old comedy that makes you laugh till the tears run down your face

Miladysa said...

[hugs] x