The stress of modern life

The stress of modern life

How I got gastritis is no mystery. I’ve been a chronic headache suffering my whole life, and they’ve gotten worse since I turned 40. In fact, 2015 was the worst year on record for my headaches. In September of last year, I had 13 headaches days – almost half the month. These headaches don’t just annoy me; they often require me to stay in bed half or occasionally all of the day.

When you have chronic headaches, you will do almost anything to make them go away. They steal your life of fun activities and productivity. They rob you of time with friends, which removes a positive aspect of your life. To get rid of them, I tried, as often as I could, to use over-the-counter medication. And, even though I never surpassed the daily recommended amount of Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs, I was not careful to only take them with food. My gastroenterologist has since told me that every time you take an NSAID, it irritates the lining of your stomach. Because of this, you should never take them on an empty stomach.

As I’ve mentioned before, working for yourself is often terrifying. Working for yourself with a chronic pain condition is way more terrifying. No work = no eat. Add to that the fact that you’re a single-income household, and you’ve got a recipe for serious stress. And I am one of many people who make their living this way.

Stress. That’s part of the problem. Stress can interfere with the way your body deals with stomach acid. I was told by my doctor to avoid stress. (I told him that if that’s what I need to do, I’m probably going to die young!)

Tell me, how does a person (who is not independently wealthy) function in today’s world without being affected by the stress of modern life? I have yet to figure this out.

Even though I love what I do for work, hobbies and play, I still have stress in my life. Living in America is almost designed to be stressful. We’re a competitive nation, and competing is stressful.

If I did exactly what I wanted all day long, I would still be greeted by terrifying emails with links to articles like this, this and this every morning. Being an environmentalist (or even just being aware of what’s going on in the world) is not very conducive to a stress-free life. My very being is wrapped around issues that cause stress.

I ended up in the emergency room after beginning this entry. My stomach pain had gone on for 8 hours. Again, a lack of information on my part was to blame. I took some medication for my headache that I did not realize contained an NSAID, along with a couple that contained caffeine – another thing that may impede the healing process.

This incident has me rethinking the way in which I contribute to the causes I hold dear. Maybe there are ways I simply cannot be involved. Maybe I need to keep myself willfully ignorant of certain goings on in the world.

I probably need to say “no” more often, too. And say “yes” to more yoga and meditation.

As I work to get myself out of this spiral of pain and discomfort (and this feeling of isolation from friends and fun), I will continue to re-evaluate the way I interact with information and the world. I will also continue to find new ways to cope with the stress of modern life that often leads to much of my physical pain.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I sense a few hours of productive time coming on that will help me catch up with the work I have had to neglect for the past few days.

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