Monday, 20 February 2012


Well this year hasnt quite gone to plan so far. The prognosis for my eye condition has deteriorated considerably and shortly after receiving this news my wife suffered a traumatic miscarriage which almost cost her her life. She took three weeks off work to rest and recover, I did not, I threw myself into my work. I am not writing this for any kind of sympathy or shock reaction. I am writing this because my stress reaction interested me and I felt this was worth exploring.

Three weeks working fifteen hour shifts and single-mindedly ensuring my wife had everything she needed to get through this left me exhausted, lighter and sick. However I didnt feel stressed, over the years I appear to have build a complex mechanism for dealing with stress that operates entirely sub-conciously. I was fully aware that everything I had been through should cause me to feel stressed, a normal human being should feel stressed by these circumstances. I didnt feel stressed however all the symptoms were there, sleep loss, loss of appetite, my blood work showed evidence that my body was pumping out increased levels of adrenaline for a longer period than normal. I found I couldnt concentrate at work and then I became sick,

Which leads us to this post. My boss has insisted I take a few days off, he has been genuinely concerned about me and I suspect he has experienced a similar situation in his recent life. So I am sat at home, resting up and blogging to try and organise my mind.

I had never considered before the possibility that a person could be highly symptomatic of acute stress without actually feeling stressed.

Also normally I would not blog about anything this personal however the anonymity required for my nursing posts has afforded me to a freedom to bare all to complete strangers without fear or expectation. I have mentioned the cathartic application of blogging before however I am starting to wonder if it has a therapeutic application.

1 comment:

Vincent said...

This phenomenon makes perfect sense to me. Our ancestors have had to fight battles to survive. We rise to the occasion. Most soldiers don't have to take time off for stress even though it may take toll later. Whilst you are actually engaging the enemy, you need the extra strength and concentration. Not only this but when the various symptoms are present you are likely to deal with them in Nature's way, by working to eliminate the causes by slaying your enemy, fixing the leaks, etc.

But then the danger arises that you empty the reserve tank of energy which your body has thoughtfully made available. This is when you can plunge into a kind of exhaustion that's not easy to recover from. So I think your boss is wise.

I'm less of an expert on medical matters than you of course, but my years of chronic fatigue syndrome (now quite cured these last 7 years) have given an insight.

Anyhow best wishes to you both, and I hope that by now your few days off have achieved their purpose and replenished your batteries.