The most impactful things on your physical health – and weight especially – are sleep deprivation, dehydration and mental/emotional stress. No wonder I am feeling like I’ve been run over by a truck almost every day for the last while.
When you are stressed your body produces hormones to help deal with the stressors; cortisol and epinephrine are two on the main ones. If you exist in a state of constant stress, these hormones; which are designed to be produced and then dissipate quickly as the stress is dealt with, build up and start to create havoc with your metabolism and can also cause damage to your organs and cell structure. It’s no wonder that I see the effects in myself because of this… I have been, and continue to be, in a state of constant fight or flight feeling for months now. Depression, PTSD and grief have brought me to a point where more than 3 hours of sleep at a time is almost unheard of to me anymore. Weight gain in the absence of significant (or even “normal”) food intake has left me more despondent over how my body feels and acts. The simple fact that the best way for a body to process and remove cortisol and epinephrine is by deep sleep is an irony that is not lost on me.
I see the minute changes in my body… my hair is more coarse and frizzy, my nails always brittle and weak – are now ridged and don’t even seem to grow at all anymore. Joints that hurt and muscles that ache all the time. Energy that is non-existent most days coupled with sheer exhaustion that leaves me unable to make even the most basic of moves towards self-care and nurturing. I make sporadic attempts to get my body back to feeling like “Mine” but it feels futile as the depression and grief slam my reserves of strength daily. I’ve had all the blood work that can be done as I check to make sure that nothing physical is “wrong” with me… everything came back wonderful – my doctor impressed that even with minimal eating, high stress and lack of sleep I am checking out as in great shape… better than most 20-somethings as she put it… on the one hand that rests my mind; yet it also then clarifies that there’s nothing to be “done” to “fix” how I feel…no simple remedy, no test to measure when I’ll be better.
The question is how to affect changes physically when mentally and emotionally I feel captive in a cycle of more down than up – again.