I just spent 10 minutes staring at a burning candle. Breathing and staring at a candle. Trying to keep all the random, crazy, sane, not so sane, and mundane thoughts from taking hold as they popped into my head. It wasn’t hard, just awkward. For the first time in forever I was aware of how many thoughts are flying around in my head constantly. I didn’t fight the “I need to pay for dance,” or “I need dry my gloves,” or “Why am I doing this?” thoughts. I didn’t focus on the random words or calls to action but just acknowledged and … let them float off. All the while watching a candle burn, focusing on calm, slow, even breathing.
I have always dealt with pressure well. It’s when the pressure is off or the storm is over that I fall apart. This last storm – my husband having surgery – triggered my (I thought long resolved) PTSD. In addition, I fell snowboarding, bumped my face – not hard at all – and set off a series of weird events. A few years back I took a baseball to the face and ever since when the weather has extreme shifts or I get a particularly bad migraine, a portion of my face will go numb. After my husband’s surgery and a small fall, half of my face went numb. Right down the middle, including half of my tongue.
Then half of my face felt like it was in fire. And life was hell.
I was exhausted at the end of the day. Trying to concentrate over the fire or numbness in my face took so much energy. I had a constant headache and wore sunglasses non-stop for a month. Honestly, I thought I was going nuts. I just waited for each day to end so I could go to bed and try to find a comfortable position and … not sleep.
After seeking help from a chiropractor, who sent me to a medical doctor, who sent me to an ENT, I had a two hour long MRI. As someone who is mildly claustrophobic, this was one of the most awful experiences of my life – ranking right up there with having meningitis.
They found no source for any my facial nerve pain. Thankfully. The list of things they were looking for … seriously scary stuff. Thankfully they found nothing out of the ordinary.
Once again, stress had kicked me. I thought I was dealing well after seeing my doctor about PTSD. I thought I had a handle on things. Evidently my body disagreed. Stress has a way of finding a weak spot in your body and reminding you you’re human. This time stress found my facial nerves.
This week, things are better. I’m feeling more normal. After fielding a million questions about wearing sunglasses inside during the day, including one comment that floored me (“I wondered if she was high or something?”), I am hoping today I will only need my sunglasses outside. Or at least wear my normal glasses when others are around. While I still have a daily headache, it’s mostly manageable and slowly improving. I can focus enough to read a book and watching television isn’t totally awful…I’m on my computer and able to think….
I’m done avoiding stress through busyness. It’s time to address stress and how I deal with it. Taking the time to do the things that make me happy and calm is a priority. Snowboarding as much as I can, running more, drinking extra water, giving up diet soda…..and staring at a candle each morning.
What do you do to deal with stress? Let’s start a conversation….