When people ask me why they are sick, I tell them "it's stress"
Their response usually goes one of two ways: they either nod and agree thinking, "he's right, I have been dealing with a lot lately" or they look at me blankly thinking "nope that's not it, he doesn't know what he's talking about"
When we hear the word STRESS we most commonly think of worries about family, job, money, relationships, etc. We consider this mental stress.
Then there's physical stress: falls, accidents, repetitive injury, overuse, even underuse, creates stress on the tissues of the body.
The last one is sneaky, chemical stress, like toxic air, poor water, depleted, processed food supply, and most noticeably drugs and chemicals that cause immune and hormonal dysregulation. These are major sources of stress that we rarely recognize.
Life just batters us around until our body gives out. It's a never ending battle that we can't win.
But is it?
Do you know anyone with a more physical job than you? Makes less money than you? Has worse health than you? That has to be stressful for them.
But is it?
We all know people who are happy when their life looks stressful from the outside and others who are struggling even though they have a life to be envied. Why is that?
My point is this, is stress inevitable or a choice? Think of a thing that stresses you out. Is there someone who thrives on that? Someone who would love to deal with the things you do? Stress isn't a quantifiable number and is relative to your perspective on it.
I'll give you an example, I have a patient that has Cerebral Palsy and this condition causes her muscles to contract abnormally making every movement more complicated. Her body is constantly being stressed, working harder than you or I could imagine just to simply walk. If you were to ask her if she thinks of it as hard, she doesn't. It's just what it takes to get from here to there.
I'm not saying your family life wasn't bad. I'm not saying you didn't get a raw deal with your health. I'm saying how you frame it is your choice. And if you frame things in a positive manner, your brain quits seeing things as sources of stress and instead sees challenges and opportunities. What seems stressful to you now may be just the inspiration needed for you to grow.
You don't go from healthy to disease overnight even if your symptoms did.
A while back, I had a patient who had been coming to see me for years walk in one day, visibly disturbed. I asked what was up and he reported, "I just came from the doctor, I was diagnosed with Diabetes"
Hopefully he didn't see me crack a smile as I navigated how to respond. You see, this guy had been heavy the whole time I had known him, frequently described gluttonous meals, and generally lived a fairly type 2 diabetic life.
I decided, sarcasm would be my angle, I said, "you know you had Diabetes yesterday too, right?"
Thankfully he got my joke and provided the opportunity to discuss the lifestyle factors that contribute to Diabetes and poor health in general.