Stress and MS are not happy bedfellows. If I had a pound for every time my MS nurse, or other health professional has said that I should avoid stress wherever possible I'd have more than enough money to bugger off to the Bahamas for a fortnight and to hell with the consequences.
In normal circumstances, stress can cause a wide range of physiological symptoms, but add MS into the mix and you have a catalytic reaction with explosive results. In my case these include a complete inability to sleep (whereas usually I could sleep for Scotland) a thousand-fold increase in horribly disturbing sensory feelings and sky-high levels of neuropathic pain. This is why I try, as much as possible, to maintain a fairly sanguine attitude to life and stay on an even keel, worry-wise.
This week though has been a doozer.
Here are just a few examples of my worries which are fit to print.
In no particular order.
There's a whole humongous raft of domestic/financial/house/work worries afoot at the moment. The DVLA requested my driving licence for my three yearly 'fitness to drive' assessment way back in February and still haven't made a decision about whether I'm going to get it back/renewed. Also there's something wrong with our car, which is only 1 month out of warranty, so it has to be (expensively) looked at next week. Then, Small Dog has taken to hobbling on her other back leg. The one which wasn't operated on in November last year. According to her vet, she's almost certainly got to have the previously not bad leg operated on.
Not to mention a barrel-load of other, more minor worries, which are in the 'final straw' category.
I felt so bad the other day that PP suggested I write down all my worries so that I could put them into proportion. After I'd filled a whole side of A4 I began to realise that simply writing them down wouldn't be enough.
So I divided the list into
- Worries I can do something about
- Worries I can't do anything about
But then I got stuck. Transfixed by the scale of the problems.
Of course there are excellent resources on the interweb, like this one, which makes perfect sense when you read it, and makes you feel better for a little while, until the worries start wriggling around in your brain again, unsettling you and making you doubt your coping strategies.
Then PP suggested that I take advantage of a new service on Facebook.... the World-Wide Worry Box, the premise of which is that you write down all your worries, seal them in an envelope, then post it off to Worthing (?!) When the worry lady gets your envelope she then puts it in her worry box (unopened) and when the box is full she burns all the envelopes ...."and all those worries inside will become ash and blow away!!!!"
I think I can see one or two flaws in this hypothesis, but I'm an open-minded individual so I visited her Facebook page to find out more.
This is where I was, temporarily at least, distracted from worrying about my worries.
The worry box is indeed, a box. It's brightly coloured and looks like a good place to put your worries.
Except it has a cow's head. Well I think it's a cow. It could be a goat.
Or a sheep.
No.... I'm pretty sure it's a cow.
Anyway, the point is, the cow looks a bit depressed. It's something to do with the position of its ears. I became so engrossed in worrying about the cow that I completely forgot to worry about my worries.
But worries are slippery little buggers.
They breed. In your head. You go to bed with 4 worries and wake up with 10.
They grow exponentially.... especially if you worry about them.
Until you get to the point where they either devour you, or you have to make a stand and vanquish them.
By fair means or foul......
Incidentally, Small Dog has a zero tolerance worry policy. As those who know her well will attest, her mantra is "So Don't Worry". But you have to say it just right. There is full emphasis is on the "Don't".
I should just 'man up' and embrace Small Dog's guiding principle with regard to worry.