If you’ve been following along, you know we moved again a couple of weeks back and the stress has brought another symptom to the surface. It showed up for the first time in January of last year (2017) when my family of origin deleted and blocked three of their grandchildren for asking questions about their mother and Aunt, but then it didn’t show it’s self again until just before Christmas. Since then it seems to be a regular occurrence and the other day it lasted so long I knew I better ask the Doctor what it was, and it turns out it’s called Raynaud’s syndrome.
Raynaud’s syndrome is different from Raynaud’s phenomenon in that it doesn’t have any underlying health issues or rheumatic diseases like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, and they aren’t quite sure where it originates from. They believe that stress can make it worse because the adrenaline your body releases during strong emotions can cause your blood vessels to constrict and become too narrow, which triggers your digits. When they spasm, the digits turn white because of the lack of blood flow, then turn blue because of the lack of oxygen and then when the vessels reopen, they turn red before returning to their normal colour.
I must tell you the first time it happened, it scared the crap out of me! It started with this really strange feeling in my left hand and then it started to tingle. I had just finished a pretty intense workout and numbness in my left hand immediately made me think I was having a heart attack! While I was trying to figure out whether I was having a heart attack, or whether it was just another panic attack, the first two fingers of my left hand turned white, like they were dead. I freaked and went and found Gary and he said we’re going to the hospital and grabbed the car keys.
I’ve spent a lot of time in emergency departments and the voices in my head were trying to convince me that I was making this shit up as they always did! Honestly, I’ve had more injuries and illnesses than most people and for the most part, I was convinced that what was going on, was “all in my head.”
Gary persuaded me to get in the car and we headed in the direction of the nearest hospital, with both of us wondering if it really was a heart attack and if it would have been smarter to call an ambulance?
It turned out that it wasn’t a heart attack, that it was Raynaud’s syndrome and I never gave it another thought until it showed up again, and again, and like I mentioned, one of the last times it happened, it lasted almost six hours and I was terrified it was going to turn gangrenous and need to be amputated. Sure, you might think I’m being dramatic, but with the number of ailments and injuries I’ve had in my life and the rarity of some of them, like central serous retinopathy, nothing would surprise me.
So here I am with another stress-related illness and I’m reminded of the less than desirable childhood I had and how it is still affecting me. I’ve done the research and I know that when a child grows up under extreme or constant stress, their immune system and stress response systems may not develop the way they should. Furthermore, if a child grows up afraid or feeling like they’re in constant danger, later in their lives when they are exposed to levels of stress that most people perceive as normal, their systems may respond as if the person is under extreme stress, automatically. This is me.
How am I going to fix it? I’m not sure. I turn everything into a catastrophe inside my head and although I’m working on fixing that, I still haven’t figured out how to keep my head out of where I don’t want it to go, especially when I’m in the middle of a trigger.
I think that when I get back to my normal routine things are going to change. I haven’t been doing any self-care, like exercising, or meditation but I started back at it yesterday. I’m going to take it slow and try not to beat myself up too much because I’ve been trying to heal from cracked ribs, but honestly, the voices aren’t being kind. They’re saying I’m lazy and that I’m not good for anything, but I’m doing my best to quiet them. We found out recently that where we just moved to has unlimited data, so I can get back to doing Hasfit videos for my cardio and strength-training, Tai Chi videos for meditation and music videos to calm my brain before I go to bed! I’ve missed having all these aids to help me with my stress and I’m hoping that once I get back to my routine, I will be able to get these stupid stress-related illnesses under control.
Stay safe and stay strong. Thanks for following!