First signs of stress can be a variety of little things you simply choose to ignore, because after all – we just live in stressful world and that’s just the way it is. Get used to it.
Don’t bet on it. Stress begins small and grows over time without you even noticing the changes. Or it can be triggered by something big happening in your life; calamities, life events or even just a friend’s tough times that will make you “think”.
I’m no expert, don’t have a degree in psychology, never worked with stressed people – but believe me, I’ve been all the way down. And back up. But if it weren’t for my Emmanuel, then I’m not sure I would have made it out of the woods.
My stress began on 3.11.2011 in Japan when the world beneath began to shake and it seemed like an endless quake. The cupboards, closets and bookcases contents was as shaken up as I was. I kept the cool head… Silly me, trying to stay calm but that’s what I have always been told; Stay calm and get a look at what is really going on. Well, getting a look at what was really going on only made my head spin; Tsunami… seeing the people, cars, houses, boats just floating on and on and on. I thought – surely it must be stopped by that next wall – but the water just crushed and moved everything. As did my emotions. I remember praising my Lord that I was with my daughter at the time and grandpa. But my heart was aching for all those families who suffered way more than I ever did. After that, then came the nuclear disaster… Keeping up with information, learning about radiation in foods, air and what comes after that was more than what my brain capacity wanted to deal with. Seriously… But I had no choice. I had a 4 year old girl who needed food not contaminated and most Japanese people around me simply chose not to learn for themselves but simply trust the Japanese media. Okay, each person makes their own choices, but I chose the hard one. I don’t regret that. Not one bit. But 3.11.2011 Eastern Japan Earthquake was the onset of my stress, emotional imbalance, lower immune system etc.
What came next I didn’t anticipate at all. My daughter began gradually getting more and more sad to go to her kindergarten. One of the biggest stressors in life is the life as a parent. And a sad child makes a sad mom. I tried everything I could to get to the source of her sadness and spoke to her teacher multiple times. One evening my daughter broke down in tears and begged me never to take her back to her kindergarten and then I learned how her teacher had been shaking her arm while asking her questions she couldn’t answer. My husband and I then decided to pull her out. Dealing with the food safety and sorting through all the many various informations out there during that first time after the earthquake was time consuming in itself and now having a, at that time, 4 year old around 24/7 was adding to the stress. I was gradually going down without actually noticing it. I kept on telling myself, like a scratched old vinyl record “I just have to make it through to the Christmas party”… and I did. Barely. By that time I was sleeping max. 2 to 3 hours pr. night. My body was aching, I was snapping at everyone and found myself not being able to keep up with the information flow about the radiation. I was napping on the sofa during daytime, and my daughter would cover me with a blanket. She took better care of me during that time, than I did of her. I love my daughter and look back on that time with a nasty feeling of guilt. I knew something was wrong and I began asking myself “what is happening to me” over and over again. I didn’t understand that the sleep deprivation, motherhood (I did actually feed my daughter and talked to her too during that time) and the guilt of leaving her to a kindergarten teacher without realizing something was terribly wrong before it was too late, the hunt for real information on foods as well as keeping up appearance to friends and family, was sending me straight down the evil spiral of – stress! At that time I was unable to even read a book because the letters floated together on the pages and my mind couldn’t grasp the meaning of the sentences. At this time, almost a year had passed since 3.11.2011.
Finally, my husband spoke up and sent me to see my doctor to get some sleeping pills. Now I am not a fan of those but I knew I needed help. My doctor knew me and my history and family life and once I was there, we had a good long talk. He didn’t have any doubt about the diagnosis: Stress disorder. He prescribed me some muscle relaxing medicines as well as a few sleeping pills to get me back on track. He also, knowing that I have faith in Jesus, gave me a book called “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. That book became my counsel and my breath of life for a period of time. The first night I slept for a full 6 hours and I felt like a whole new person. That was my onset to the road of recovery.