Sickle cell and Stress

May 6, 2011

sickle cell

There is no way to completely avoid stress whether you have sickle cell or not. Especially if you’re doing something you care about. When you want things to go well, stress is the body’s natural response to re-checking the details. Every day for a week coming up to our first event, I woke up with shoulder, neck and hip pain. Well, woke up is an understatement. Let me rephrase, I was ripped from my sleep by pain —REALLY BAD PAIN. I didn’t want to take medication for it because I didn’t want to be drowsy or sluggish the next day and medication always makes me drousy. I had too much work to do. So, I suffered through it. (bad idea)

The pain I was feeling can be attributed to stress. Obviously, what I mean is not as simple as the word stress, it was good stress, so let me explain. I worked at the foundation before I did anything else in the morning. Then, it was the last thing I did before bed. So, for days, I snacked instead of eating, that is, if I remembered to eat at all. I often forgot to take my vitamins and didn’t sleep through the night. All of this contributed to my stress level. I Bottom line is, I wasn’t managing my time well, I wasn’t planning meals and I neglected my body. My muscles were tensed as I was compelled to get out of bed in the middle of the night to write down an idea I knew I won’t remember in the morning. And if I got up to write it down, heck, “I’m up now,” I thought, “I may as well take care of it now.” So, I did, several nights in a row.

I wasn’t working alone. I had volunteers who took care of most of the heavy lifting. However, it was MHF’s first event, so, to me, was an indicator of how every fund-raising event after this one would go. So, I worried a lot and re-checked everything. My body began to show signs of fatigue and stress. I ached all day everyday. I began to forget things and have bouts of irritability. I tend to forget things under extreme stress so I had to write everything down. And, sometimes before I knew it, I’d snapped at someone. A well rested me can handle a situation with more tact than a me who is sleep deprived. It wasn’t until I’d failed to respond to an important email that I decided I needed to eat, take my vitamins, get some sleep and maybe even take a day off.

What did I learn:

  1. Go to bed! It doesn’t help to stay up all night or to wake up in the middle of the night to do something that can and should wait til morning
  2. Keep a note pad handy to always write things down
  3. Set reminders
  4. Set realistic time lines
  5. Don’t forget to eat
  6. Don’t forget to breathe
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One Comment on “Sickle cell and Stress”

  1. SomerEmpress Says:

    Rena, in all things, there are lessons to learn. Despite the stress, you managed to eke out some invaluable nuggets of wisdom to share with us. They are reminders that we “can” afford to slow down, and take care of ourselves; otherwise, our bodies will become run down and do less than serve us well. We’ll endure increased pain, stress, and all that comes with it (irritability, restlessness, and anxiety). Part of the stress comes from just wanting things to turn out right. With each event that you plan, you will take away new lessons, and the learnings will allow each next event to be more successful than the one before it. You will build your toolkit, one precept at a time, and before you know it, you’ll be a pro. But guess what happens after that? Yep, you guessed it…you’ll raise the bar! 🙂 Aha! This is where the art of delegation will serve you well. Be wise, and learn to master it early.

    As always, thanks for the posts. Keep ’em coming, girl!


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