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Reframe stress to become more resilient


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Hi everyone,

 

As a corollary to my post about the importance of feeling good, I'd like to share this video I came across today that talks about how we can actually re-frame our attitude toward stress in a more positive way. You won't regret watching it until the end, I promise.

 

As I've recovered from protracted withdrawal, I've had to face some pretty harsh moments--the unexpected death of my father being one of them. For a long time I was doing whatever I could to avoid stress at all costs, thinking of it as a poison that was going to set me back.

 

And yes... as I realized again just last month, when our house got violently broken into, or this month, when I have to face the end of a long relationship, stressful situations can easily bring back symptoms for me. BUT... I also noticed that I've become much more resilient.

 

AND... strangely enough, I feel a sense that stressors are less likely to derail me if I feel a sense of greater purpose, or a sense of connection to others, or of personal value in what I am doing. I realize I can recover quicker from waves if I don't run from stress, or get overly worked up about it. If I'm not afraid of setbacks, but instead accept them (and this isn't an absolute... I cave in to depression and despair regularly... the important thing is coming back, again and again, to acceptance).

I feel like this video confirms something I've been noticing and just hadn't quite articulated to myself.

 

It made me remember that one of the periods of greatest improvement I felt was very early on, when I took on a very stressful job that took me to another country. It seemed an anomaly, because most of the other clear moments of improvement that I'd experienced occurred during vacations and trips when I felt happy and wasn't working. Until I realized I felt good about what I was doing during that period of high stress. It temporarily increased my anxiety and worsened my sleep, but I was able to get through it because I felt like I was doing something important.

I also realized that I've had periods of supposedly low stress where I didn't improve... and that those periods coincided with not feeling a sense of purpose or meaning in my life. Not liking my surroundings, not feeling challenged to grow, or feeling like I was stagnating.

It also reminds  me of something poet David Whyte wrote:

 

"There was a time, many years ago, working at a nonprofit organization, trying to fix the world and finding the world didn't want to be fixed as quickly as I'd like, that I found myself exhausted, stressed and finally, after one particularly hard day, at the end of my tether, I went home and saw a bottle of fine red wine I had left out on the table that morning before I left. No, I did not drink it immediately, though I was tempted, but it reminded me that I was to have a very special guest that evening. 

That guest was an Austrian friend, a Benedictine monk, Brother David Steindl-Rast, the nearest thing I had to a really wise person in my life at that time or at any time since. We would read German poetry together—he would translate the original text, I read the translations, all the while drinking the red wine. But I had my day on my mind, and the mind-numbing tiredness I was experiencing at work. I said suddenly, out of nowhere, almost beseechingly, 'Brother David, speak to me of exhaustion. Tell me about exhaustion.' 

And then he said a life-changing thing. 'You know,' he said, 'the antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest.' 

'What is it then?'

'The antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness. You're so exhausted because you can't be wholehearted at what you're doing...'"

 

So go out there and find wholeheartedness in whatever you can... even if right now all it means is appreciating a flower you come by, or being there for a friend in a time of need, or taking a moment to treat yourself kindly. Stress will come and go... you will have setbacks, life is full of them.

 

But if you find a sense of purpose in going on, if you listen for it deep within you, your body and mind will find the way to heal.

 

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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  • 1 year later...

Bump... What an amazing post.

Celexa 20mg 2008-2012 for Social Anxiety

Failed attempt to stop reinstated

1 year taper skipping doses

Celexa free 12/2013

1/2014-5/2014 took 5 htp every other day

Failed Reinstatement 5mg of Celexa on 12/2014 for 5 days only

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  • 11 months later...

This post almost brought a tear to my eye.

 

It really rings true with me and helps me with a dilemma iv'e been facing recently. Iv'e recently started college again and it's been stressing me out leaving me with exacerbated symptoms at the end of the day. This has, in itself, been making me stress over whether its too early (6 months) to go back into education after a 2-drug cold turkey. I keep telling myself "I should stay at home a while longer to recover a little more" but ya know, like you, I felt the past six months ive been feeling that "stagnant" feeling which led me to self harm and feel overly pessimistic etc. 

 

Thank you for this post, Nadia

2009: Put on Fluoxetine (20mg) and Risperdal (0.5mg) for OCD. Dose was increased a few weeks later to 40mg Fluoxetine and 1mg Risperdal.

2011: Began experiencing Depersonalisation and Visual Snow, general loss of energy and breast growth. Was kept on 40mg Fluoxetine until Late Dec 2015. Risperdal dosage varied and was kept on 0.5mg for a long while before Nov 2015.

Early Sep 2015: Began having symptoms of extreme anxiety, psychosis and hot flushes due to mixing illegal drugs.

Late Nov 2015: Psych doc raised Risperdal to 8mg. Began having severe and hellish Akathisia. Was kept being given Diazepam to cope.

Early Dec 2015: Began seeing a new psych doc who tapered me off Risperdal over a period of a few weeks and put me onto Quetiapine.

Late Dec 2015: Quick tapered off of everything due to little guidance.

Mid March 2016: Reinstated Fluoxetine (5mg), dose was increased to 10mg a couple of weeks later. Gave me restless legs and stopped taking immediately (RLS was unbearable).

10 May 2016: Unsuccessful Fluoxetine reinstatement at 1mg. Drug free since May 2016.

 

Diet (When Able): Low carb and sugar, high fat & dark greens. medium protein and fruit. Taking 100mg magnesium, 1000mg omega 3, 0.25mg Melatonin daily,. Drinking at least one mug of chamomile a day. Weekly Light exercise. Meditating daily and practising mindfulness.

 

"Come back to square one, just the minimum bare bones. Relaxing with the present moment, relaxing with hopelessness, relaxing with death, not resisting the fact that things end, that things pass, that things have no lasting substance, that everything is changing all the time—that is the basic message." – Pema Chodron

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  • 2 years later...
JackieDecides
On 9/29/2015 at 11:51 PM, Purplestars22 said:

Bump... What an amazing post.

 

bump again! bonus? the video is less than 15 minutes

Currently taking Ramapril (blood pressure) 5 mg twice a day

Omeprazole 10 mg AM and 20 mg PM  (the taper has gone nowhere after the first cut)

Famotidine   once a day (and I still needs tums sometimes)

magnesium 200 mg at night

as of yesterday 2 fish oil capsules "EPA-DHA 1000"

 

off Lexapro as of 5/2018  - last dose had been 5 mg every other day for a couple years

 

highest dose had been 20 mg at which point I was diagnosed with Bipolar II, which went away when I cut the lexapro down to 15 mg. 

 

I spent years on Paxil before Lexapro (can't remember dose), briefly on Effexor and Abilify and others I have forgotten. in fact, when I was diagnoses with BPII I was put on all kinds of things which made me feel so bad I stopped them cold turkey within maybe 3 or 4 weeks, thank goodness. since then I've known these pills were terrible and I weaned down the Lexapro with zero help or support over I'm not sure how many years. 

 

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JackieDecides
On 9/29/2015 at 11:51 PM, Purplestars22 said:

Bump... What an amazing post.

 

bump again! bonus? the video is less than 15 minutes

 

I missed the edit window so ETA my takeaway quote from the video

 

"chasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort" 

Currently taking Ramapril (blood pressure) 5 mg twice a day

Omeprazole 10 mg AM and 20 mg PM  (the taper has gone nowhere after the first cut)

Famotidine   once a day (and I still needs tums sometimes)

magnesium 200 mg at night

as of yesterday 2 fish oil capsules "EPA-DHA 1000"

 

off Lexapro as of 5/2018  - last dose had been 5 mg every other day for a couple years

 

highest dose had been 20 mg at which point I was diagnosed with Bipolar II, which went away when I cut the lexapro down to 15 mg. 

 

I spent years on Paxil before Lexapro (can't remember dose), briefly on Effexor and Abilify and others I have forgotten. in fact, when I was diagnoses with BPII I was put on all kinds of things which made me feel so bad I stopped them cold turkey within maybe 3 or 4 weeks, thank goodness. since then I've known these pills were terrible and I weaned down the Lexapro with zero help or support over I'm not sure how many years. 

 

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  • 1 year later...
getofflex

@Nadiainhave been demonizing stress and trying to run away from it.  Thank you for this powerful and mature way to deal with Stress.  this idea that life is supposed to always be happy and stress free.  Not! 

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 02 - 10 mg; Jan 19 20  0.2 mg;  Apr 2  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13

Trazodone.  used 50 mg once every 4-7 days for sleep, stopped

Xanax. used 0.5 mg once every 4-7 days for sleep, stopped

Benadryl 50 mg, Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, multivitamin, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 3 mg, calcium

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