People like me are often told to remove stress from their lives in order to allow the body to reach the optimal state within which to heal.
Cool. Seems straightforward. And it’s absolutely right.
But a lot of the people suggesting this don’t have bills to pay, mouths to feed, or responsibilities beyond their own recovery and healing.
Getting a child through 14 years of school seems is a rather stressful experience if my parents’ experience with me is anything to do by. (I was good as gold but never, ever wanted to go and would strop like nobody’s business at them having the audacity to follow the law and send me every single day!)
People like me are also often told we need to remove ‘fear’ from our lives or our bodies will remain in fight or flight mode. For example, a lot of us now have incredible fear around medical appointments as a result of unsavoury experiences in the past. We’re told we simply need to let that fear go or it’ll hinder our overall progress and recovery.
I get it. I understand the science. I have a basic understanding of the workings of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) and the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS).
But forgive me if my best intentions, my mindfulness, and my breathing exercises aren’t enough to keep me from spiralling whenever, for example, a brown envelope* comes through the letterbox.
Remove all stress from life? That would mean ceasing to have anything to do with the DWP and the U.K. benefits system. Nothing is more upsetting or stressful. Even when it’s not bad news, I’ve been known to become so distressed by a letter from the DWP that Mr Tree Surgeon had to cancel work for the day. But I need the money or I have no home, no water, no electricity, and worst of all no rainbow chard or parsley for Delores and the guinea pig gang.
At my most severe, my brain and nervous system were so out of sorts that I would be reduced to panicked tears if asked whether I wanted rice or pasta with my dinner. I’ve come a long way since then. I get that it has to be worked on. But please don’t belittle others who have different barriers in their way when achieving the most peaceful and stress free life possible.
I get it. I do. It’s just in practice it’s not so clear cut for the majority of us. And our mindset is not what’s holding us back. Our circumstances are.
In theory, it’s spot on. In practice, allow for us to be affected by the modern human experience.
We can’t all afford to go off and live in a cave away from technology and stress. Delores’s vet bills have seen to that!
(You might have picked up on the fact that I’m not a fan of any implication that someone with chronic illness has sole responsibility for their recovery or rate of progress. I cannot stand flippant remarks about how someone merely needs to do x, y and z to reach their optimal wellness.)
*In the UK most correspondence from the Department of Work and Pensions comes in a brown envelope.