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Stress suggestions

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by The Big Ragu, Aug 8, 2016.

  1. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Background: 48 years old. In OK shape, but have gotten a bit slothful compared to where I was say 5 to 10 years ago when I lived to run myself to my limit. A bit of a gut that I didn't used to have. I eat well. I am fairly active. Workwise, I have my hand in two businesses that I partly own (one that publishes things -- my link still to this site), but I spend the vast majority of my day doing something fairly high stress -- at least for most people. I have dabbled in it for 20 years and learned a lot through trial and error, taking my lumps until things clicked and I got a sense of how I operate and how it is advantageous to me. It would be hard to explain like this, and it is unecessary. The last 3 years, I have gotten more serious about it, and whether I admit it or not, it is a full-time job that could take over my life 24 hours a day if I let it. The thing I like about it: My earning potential is unlimited. It just matters how good (and lucky I am). The downside: If I don't perform, I not only don't earn, I can take step backward. ... and end up much, much poorer very quickly if I am not sharp and protect myself well.

    I have had success doing it. One particularly great year 2 years ago created some much appreciated financial stability that I was going for. ... and it luckily didn't delude me into thinking that the tide can turn at any time on me. I haven't changed. I think I have a good temperament for it. Last year, a decent year, not as good as the previous, but most people with the amount of risk capital / leverage I was working with would have been pretty happy with the year I had. It's something that a very high percentage of people fail at -- and yeah, it can be an ego boost when you are successful. This year, I have been struggling a bit. My performance has been fine enough, just not the blow out year I had had. But my biggest problem has been mentally. And it is spilling over into other parts of my life. I have always been a very anxious person -- something I mostly manage well. I work at it. It has actually been a positive for my life in some ways, even though I can torture myself on the way from getting to point A to point B. I have an intensity when I am knee-deep in what I am doing, and pressure sometimes brings out the best in me performance wise.

    At the same time, it has gotten a bit unmanageable lately. I don't sleep well. I anticipate things days in advance, and have become a "catastrophic thinker." I have a saying from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, "A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once." I try to constantly remember that. No use building boogie men that probably won't happen. Just deal with things when they happen. But it hasn't been working as well lately for mentally. I have tried meditation, and find it difficult. I am VERY reluctant to use benzodiazapines, which actually were helpful to jump start me in the past, and happily I don't seem to have an addictive personality, so I can get off them easily. I went off them as easily as I took it. I don't want to do that now unless it gets much worse than where I am.

    The last few weeks, I can feel my blood pressure raising. I haven't had it measured, but I just feel it. I feel more sluggish. I have woken up with panic attacks a few times, often without anything particular on my mind, but my heart racing and just feeling as if nothing is right. I don't sleep a lot, but even less sleep can affect how sharp I am. Add in every-day little things -- for example, I need to take one of our cars to get some work done on it this week in a city where I haven't found a reliable mechanic I completely trust, and I hate that -- and I stress, way beyond what it should bring out in me when I am in normal mode.

    In any case, I know the right suggestion from all of you is see a shrink, etc. And maybe I will. But it has been hitting me this morning, as I try to work, and I figured I'd throw up a post to see if anyone else has dealt with vaguely similar circumstances and how they came through it. I can be the most upbeat, can-do person when I am going right. Right now, I am not. I need to change that, and a big part is changing what is going on in my head subconsciously, which will hopefully have a spillover effect of making me feel better physiologically. And just build positive momentum again in how I approach things.

    Anyone have anything smart to add that might help? Keep in mind, what I am spending around 12 hours a day most weekdays doing something that most people find stressful -- it is inherent in what I am doing. I am way less high strung than others I know who do it. But I feel like I have started to cross a line where I may be doing harm to myself. I don't want it to get out of a hand and end up with a heart attack or worse by the time I am in my early 50s. Anyone have anything to offer? Thanks in advance.
  2. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

    Don't self-diagnose. Go see a real doctor.

    Are you on blood pressure medication? If not, check into it. Seems like a starting point.
    Machine Head and Vombatus like this.
  3. MisterCreosote

    MisterCreosote Well-Known Member

    What Rip said.

    Don't fuck around with blood pressure. They don't call it the silent killer for nothing. Mine was 190/130 before I sought treatment, and I'd have never known if my wife hadn't checked it on a whim. While I was getting that treated, the doc also found a few other heart-attack or stroke triggers that were way out of whack, too. Medication and exercise have done wonders for me.

    The dad bod is just part of aging, IMO, but it probably wouldn't hurt to exercise more, if only to help you sleep better.
    Vombatus likes this.
  4. Huggy

    Huggy Well-Known Member

    I have been battling high blood pressure for years. I will second Mr. Creosote: Do not fuck around with it. Go to a doctor.
    Vombatus likes this.
  5. Vombatus

    Vombatus Well-Known Member

    Ragu - poignant post.

    As a starter, something you can do right NOW, is to take some deep breaths - deep inhales with long exhales.

    Even if you only do this 6 or 7 times, maybe as little as 3, the deep breathing should calm you a little bit and help lower your blood pressure.

    And to help, here is an animated gif to help pace your inhales and exhales:


    Believe me, even in small amounts, this helps and is a readily available tool whenever you need it.

    The idea is to invoke the body's "relaxation response" which is the opposite of the adrenaline-filled fight or flight response.

    I hope this helps,
  6. Earthman

    Earthman Well-Known Member

    Meditation. Sign up for Headspace.com
    Take the free 10 day program. Follow the instructions. Take it seriously. It will change your life
  7. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    Got some general blood work done last month and it came back good, which relieved some anxieties.

    But the blood pressure was 131 over 80 -- higher than it's ever been -- which is a pretty big jump from 104 over 64 just 18 months ago. Doc wasn't overly concerned, yet, but told me to lose weight.

    As far as your mental state, you've got to choose what's right. I don't believe in shrinks but they work for many people.. Try out a few shrinks and see if you find a good connection.

    A very good friend was like me and didn't believe in going to a shrink, then he did, then tried out 3 or 4 and found one that he still goes to 3 years later; she has helped him understand things on a level he never considered.

    As far as the little things you can control ... go for a nice walk around the neighborhood whenever you can. I've found them to be the best balm when I can't get to the gym but need to get the lead out.
    Vombatus likes this.
  8. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    No. I have never had high blood pressure because I was in decent shape. But it does run in my family. I just feel rushes to my head lately -- warmth -- occasionally and there has been tension in my body I am not used to. I mean I have been high strung at times, but this has been different lately. I will make an appointment for my yearly physical within the next few weeks. It's time anyhow. I'll see what he says. I won't be keen on taking a blood pressure medication if that is what it is, but we'll see. I may be making too many assumptions. I don't know the rushes I am feeling are actually affecting my blood pressure.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2016
  9. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    I'd get back to running (if your knees are up to it) and focus on overall quality of life.

    Also, I don't know your appetite for risk, but if you've had some success, there's a point at which I'm guessing you can probably start playing with house money here. Don't get too greedy. If the game consumes you, you lose.
  10. Vombatus

    Vombatus Well-Known Member

    And don't read stressful threads on SJ.com.
  11. MisterCreosote

    MisterCreosote Well-Known Member

    Head rushes are just as often a symptom of low blood pressure as they are of high. Something to keep in mind.

    Probably wouldn't hurt to get your sugars checked, either.
  12. Fly

    Fly Well-Known Member

    Get a full work-up from your primary care doc and take the numbers seriously. It can get away from you in a hurry and is a real bitch to get back under control. I've done much better over the last year - but still have a long way to go.

    Try to de-stress with something, maybe take a beginner's yoga class where you can both get some exercise/body movement as well as lowering stress levels. It could be a good jumping off point for getting fully back in the swing.
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