Stress is the nastiest 4 letter word you ever met. Don't stress, I know it is six letters but it packs the wallop of the meanest 4 letter word you ever heard.
Stress can affect your health and keep you from being all you can be to borrow a phrase recently made popular by the U.S. Army.
Psychologists, scientists and those who study this particular beast say its origins may be physical, financial, environmental, social or emotional. I say that covers everything in which we as humans engage so to bypass a long discourse, let's just say stress is all around us and manifests itself through one or more of the aforementioned categories.
Given this is true, there must exist commonalities that are recognizable so, if we choose, we can deal with it regardless of its particular origin. Of course, the medical types may disagree and say its source must be known before treatment.
I don't know about you, but just sitting in a waiting room stresses me out. Therefore, I'd rather have general recognition parameters so I can at least sound intelligent should I have to transmit my self diagnosis to my doctor.
This way, we both have something we possibly recognize and may be can come to the same conclusion about it. Then, we can discuss treatment.
If you think this way, the following 9 warning signs will be what the doctor ordered, pun intended.
1. Anger at parents, siblings, friends. Comes on suddenly with no apparent real cause.
2. You feel overwhelmed at what use to be routine and want to withdraw to get away from it all.
3. Anxiety and/or constant worry are your new companions.
4. Depression and a lack of pleasure not only in what you used to enjoy but in everything.
5. Exhaustion accompanied by sleeplessness where you were at least half way energetic and enjoyed a tumble with the pillow.
6. If you have chronic conditions, they seem to be worsening yet your activity level hasn't changed.
7. You are irritable at the drop of a hat. Anyone, anytime can trigger your irritation.
8. You no longer have the ability to concentrate. Your are disorganized and devil may care about it.
9. You let your appearance and/or your environment (home, work area, etc.) go to the dogs.
I know these are mostly general in nature, but think about it for a moment. Most of us non stressed homo sapiens don't get angry or irritated at the least little thing, we get an almost good night's sleep with regularity, our tasks/job doesn't overwhelm us and we love what we love and we continue to do them.
I present this list because as a former caregiver, I noticed it happening to care receivers and some caregivers. If 4 or more of these conditions apply, it is time to have a talk with someone. It is time to stop and smell the coffee/roses/catnip or whatever you like to smell.
It is your life and your health. As long as you have the power to control them, why wouldn't you?
Tom Koziol is the Secretary for a nonprofit giving away a free caregiver manual at: http://www.senior2senior.org. The manual was written as a blueprint for everyone whether they are currently a caregiver or not.