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Readers Respond: How Does Stress Affect You? You Tell Us!

Responses: 31

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Updated April 13, 2009

Fatigue, Upset Stomach, Anxiety, Sleep

Well at first it was just fatigue, which I could deal with. Then came the stomach problems--having harder time digesting. Sleeping became more difficult. Then anxiety set in, which I find to be the worst!
—Guest Austin

How Stress Has Hurt Me

Since Oct 08 after husband was diagnosed with colorectal cancer, my world shattered! After the why's and hysterics, I took over. I was the pack leader and wonderwoman. Guess what? I broke down; tried hiding my stress and depression, but that didn't last long. His surgery was in Nov 08, and I had all my meds(pain, anxiety, allergy, and herbs)ready to take if hubby didn't make it through surgery. He made it through and needed no chemo or radiation, Praise God. I have lost about 40lbs since Oct, and can't gain it back and I'm terrified that I will be put in the hospital, so I'm trying my hardest to eat healthy and some junk foods to gain it back, but I can't gain the weight. The stress has been unberable sometimes even with medications and theraphy. Some days are better than others. I can't watch or hear anyone talk about Cancer;I start having what I call meltdowns(panic and anxiety attacks).
—Guest Patti

Anxiety

Lately I had so many stressors happening at once, a lay-off and having an uncertain temp job in the meantime, over-committing myself to too many performances (I'm a musician) and a badly sprained ankle that kept me from exercising and made doing everything harder. Even after a lot of stressors went away, I still had trouble sleeping, didn't have much of an appetite, had an upset stomach, and even had panic attacks. Luckily, I've been through this before, so as soon as I noticed the physical symptoms I knew what to do. Anxiety disorders are very common and very treatable.
—Guest mezzo

Beating myself up

When I get stressed, I am just a lot more negative about myself. I call myself names and think about all the mistakes I've made. I call it my "paint it black" mood, where I focus on the negative. I have to make a conscious effort to short-circuit the negativity. Two things that work for me -- remembering happy times (like funny memories of things my kids said or did --- the more specific the better) and "schadenfreud" -- not sure how to spell it, but basically, trying to put my mistakes in perspective by looking at what other people did and thinking, hey, I'm not as bad as that. Bernie Madoff, I'm not!
—Guest Susan

Difficult Time Concentrating

When I'm stressed, I have a very difficult time concentrating. Getting any kind of mental work done is a struggle, particularly if the stress is particularly bad. Sometimes doing something physical - from putting the dishes away to taking a long walk - can really make a difference during those times I am very stressed out.
—Guest Anne W.

Stress = Anger

When I'm feelig stressed out I get angry. Not at any 1 person but just angry at everything. Everyone thinks I'm angry at them because I snap at them or just have a scowl on my face but I'm not really. But they don't understand and get angry at me. Then that causes more stress on top of whatever I was upset about to start with. The only cure for me is just to be alone until it passes and I feel less angry. Then I can usually take care of whatever upset me in the first place.
—Guest Madman

Insomnia and Weight Gain

Stress makes it very hard for me to get to sleep. I get a bad case of racing mind syndrome. Between the lack of sleep, increased cortisol levels, and stress eating (anything crunchy if I'm mad, comfort-food if I'm just anxious) it makes it very easy to pack on the lbs.
—Guest Natalie

Physical Symptoms

When I feel stressed, I may not even realize it consciously, but sometimes my body tells me with physical symptoms--shortness of breath, a tightening in the chest. My doctor thought it might be due to a heart condition, but I had numerous tests, and they were all normal. Then I went to a cardiologist who said there was no heart problem at all. He attributed the symptoms to stress, and that was actually a relief. This happened five years ago, and I occasionally experience the symptoms briefly when I feel stressed, but now I'm able to pinpoint the stress, and I try to do something about it. The best way I controlled it though was to quit the job that was a major source of a lot of stress.
—Guest Jean

Hives

I repress stress to the point where I don't recognize that I am stressed. However, when my first child was born, I had several months where I would get hives at night--whenever I scratched my skin, I would get raised, red welts. I would hardly have slept at all if it weren't for Benadryl.
—Guest Allen

High Blood Pressure

When I am under stress, it feels as if my head is going to pop! My face gets all flushed and my muscles are tense. Luckily, I now pay attention to this and use it as a cue to sit and meditate.
—Guest geraldine

Losing my Mind and my Voice!

During times of extreme stress, I will not be able to remember events that happened during the stressful time. Also, I will lose my voice because my vocal cords constrict. I have developed diabetes as well and I attribute it to the stress I experienced in the past few years.
—Guest Connie G.

Trouble with Food

Stress affects me in a LOT of ways, but one thing that is consistent is food. If I'm slightly stressed, I may go into emotional eating... but if I'm WAY overwhelmed, then I may not be able to eat at all. Two extremes! Stress also makes me tired and less patient.
—Guest Anne

Angry... Mad...

When I'm stressed, I am angry. I shout at everyone and everything. I tend to blame more. I feel I'm lost and I'm a total nobody in this world. I want to cry but sometimes it wont come... at other times, I cant get hold of myself n I cry n cry but inside me, I'll be thinking "Good Lord, how can I stop this??"... There are also times when I'm so overwhelmed with anger n once or twice I was on the verge of committing a murder... I dont know what goes wrong... there are no specific reasons for me to get stressed... it just comes, from the blue n takes a good hold of me before it says good-bye...
—Guest 2wodzdlyt

Sleep: Interrupted

Sometimes when I'm stressed, I wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep. If I'm really stressed about something in particular, I might end up Googling solutions, which keeps me up even longer. That's when I know I'm too stressed!
—Guest elizabeth369

Nervous Stomach

Since I was in grade school, I would get an upset stomach when I was too stressed. I admit that some of this was a Ferris Buller strategy--it was easy to fake a stomach ache, or even cause one to materialize--when there's a test at school I didn't quite feel ready for, but I really did get stomach aches when I was stressed, even when staying home and watching The Price Is Right wasn't an option. (I've learned to control it with stress management techniques most of the time.)
—Guest CreativeCat

Moodiness

As my name suggests, I'm most often 'smiley', but when I'm too stressed and I don't realize it, I sometimes get moody and short-tempered. This is more of an emotional symptom than a purely physiological one, I suppose, but it's the main thing I notice in myself when I'm stressed.
—Guest Smiley369

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