Thursday, 2 March 2017

'When Stressed, Stress More’ - Brain



Stress is a feeling we all are familiar with. A feeling that makes us feel uncomfortable, makes us worry, lead us to procrastination, and overthinking. But why is this such a powerful feeling that shakes us to the core? Well, the fact that we are humans and our brain and body works in mysterious ways should be enough to answer that question. However, in the world we live in and have developed, stress has become an increasing phenomenon that is impossible to run away from.

A personal story: 2015 through mid-2016 was a tough period in which made me feel like I was not able to control my feelings and emotions whatsoever. What started off as stress episodes later become episodes of anxiety attacks. A feeling very unfamiliar for me.  Was something particularly bad happening? Not in the sense that made me want to seek help or lock myself out from the world, but it wasn't far off. In my case, stress had built up because of several factors. Moving into a new flat, dealing with all the paperwork, ordering furniture, while working and doing my best at university.  The funny thing is that at the time I didn't mind it all. In my mind this was something that everyone at some point in their lives had to deal with, so why cry about it, right? The problem was that this was just the tip of the iceberg. After moving in with a friend from college (high school), my mood seemed to go downhill and all the way into a place I didn't even know existed within me. The friendship I thought I had with this person was beyond superficial, and it brought me more sadness and stress than it should have done. By summer 2016 and a few months, before our lease was up, hell broke loose and I couldn't hold it inside me. After several anxiety attacks and bottling in my emotions for so long, I couldn't do it anymore. We packed our bags and went both our separate ways. I am in no way blaming this person for all the stress and anxiety I felt, but she was sure a big part of it. But the funny thing was, that for some reason and for a long time I could not put my finger on why I was feeling that one. Not until my own family and partner told me that my behavior was not usual for me. I did have a funny feeling, but I was too afraid to talk to anyone about it. Not because I believe talking about your anxiety is taboo, but sometimes in your own mind you think 'this will never happen to me, so it won't'. Because that is definitely not true.

What I wanted to highlight in that personal experience is that sometimes stress can form into something much bigger than you can cope on your own. I am also aware that stress does not always lead to anxiety and that one should not self-diagnose with B just because you have A. But in my case it did. But are we surprised by how stress levels only seem to increase amongst people? At least I don't think we should be. There is always a pressure present in our lives, either it's work related, relationship, having a family, kids, the 'perfect' body. Where does it all end? It is a question I think some of us are too scared to ask, but an important question to be answered. As we can only cope and deal with so much before we are affected by something bigger than ourselves.
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