Stress Doesn’t Do A Body Good
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Profile photo of Leslie Rott

I’ve had a lot going on recently, including losing my job due to budget cuts, going through a breakup from my boyfriend of three and a half years, and moving back to Michigan from New York, all of which happened in the month of December.

I was super stressed out in the weeks leading up to the breakup, as things weren’t going well, and then I was super stressed out in the weeks leading to my move because of everything that I had to take care of. The time between my breakup and me moving was about 12 days, so it was a really difficult time trying to cope with all that had happened.

The days seemed to be dragging on and I was chomping at the bit to get back to Michigan. I spent Christmas alone, doing the traditional “Jewish Christmas” by going to a movie and ordering takeout Chinese by myself.

Then, the day after Christmas, I moved home. My flight from New York to Michigan was delayed, so I ended up spending about four hours in the airport. I was in the old part of the airport, and I am sensitive to fluorescent lights, so by the time I got on the plane, I wasn’t feeling well. I had a headache and was feeling kind of lightheaded.

When we landed, I felt a bit nauseous, but I tried to push that feeling down, in the hope that once I got home, I would start feeling better. On the way home, there were two times where I almost had to ask my sister to pull over.

I did make it home, but didn’t even make it in the house. I got sick in the driveway, and then was sick all night. Like the sickest I have been in a really long time. My body staged a full on revolt. It’s like I had to purge any part of New York that was left in me.

And the only thing I can contribute it to is stress, because I don’t actually think that I was “sick” sick. In the weeks during which I lost my job and went through the breakup, I was also sick. My body was fighting against me. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, and I was sick from both ends. I hit a new low when I threw up in the garbage can in my office at work.

Sorry if that’s TMI, but the point is that I’ve learned firsthand that stress is directly connected to the way I feel and the way my body reacts to things. I’ve known this since I first got sick, as any significant stress would send my body into a tailspin. But this is the first time in memory where I really felt that stress was making me both literally and figuratively sick.

I’ve been thinking for a while that there are many things that have happened over the past year and a half that should have caused me to flare, but didn’t, like my dad dying. And when I say flare, I mean in the more traditional sense of increased pain and decreased functioning.

I guess maybe this is the new way that my body flares. Because as I said, the same thing happened when my dad died and when I lost my job. It’s like my body is forcing me to purge all of the negativity. And it didn’t give me any choice in the matter.

It’s ironic since I moved home to live with my mom for a while, and boy did I need her right when I got home. I’m not sure she’s ever seen me that sick before, either.

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