Monday, July 18, 2011

Chill or Else.......

“What people commonly call stress, I believe is the rebellion of the heart. The heart can only take so much pain, disappointment, or upset. The heart is communicating to the mind, Hey! You better chill or else.”
 – Iyanla Vanzant

When I am under tremendous stress, I get chest pain. Bad chest pain. Fred Sanford kind of chest pain. Shortness of breath, the feeling of a gripping vice around my heart, fatigue. Sometimes it feels like a 500 pound bag of cement is on my chest.

I have been to countless doctors, sat in emergency rooms for hours and had every test under the sun including heart catherizations. Even my doctors believed I was having a heart attack despite the reports from numerous EKG's and stress tests that said I wasn't. Those tests are not fail-safe. Heart disease runs in my family. In fact, my father passed a stress test with flying colors and two weeks later had a heart attack. No doctor with knowledge of my family history wants to play around when it comes to me and my complaints about chest pain.

These trips to doctors offices and hospitals with chest pain went on for years. But everything kept coming up negative.  Then one day, I decided to really examine what was going on in my life when these attacks occured. Every single time- I was under tremendous stress: stress on the job, serious relationship issues, too many late night hours, too much food, or unwanted drama in my life or the lives of my loved ones.  The chest pains were especially prevelant when I felt trapped in a situation over which I had no control.

Whenever the balance of my peaceful world is turned upside-down, I have chest pain.
Stress. Plain and simple. I am NOT having a heart attack. I just needed to STOP and LISTEN.
Our bodies are truly miraculous and will tell us when it's time to chill! Everyone gets different types of warnings. When I was a little girl and very upset, hurt or frightened, I would raise dangerously high fevers. Eventually, after every possible disease had been dismissed, my pediatrician told my parents I needed to calm down. My father would sing to me or tell me stories. My mother would put me in the bathtub to help me relax. It worked. The high fevers were symptoms of my heart and soul crying out for peace. I couldn't take any more and my body was simply giving off warning signs.
People react to stress in different ways. Some get upset stomachs or headaches. There are a few people I know who suffer intense muscle and joint pain for no explainable reason. I don't raise high fevers anymore. Now I get chest pain. It is my body's way of telling me I have to slow down and pay attention. As soon as it happens, I stop and listen. I change and rearrange things in my life. I have had to leave stressful jobs and even ended relationships that were causing me pain, disappointment and heartache. The chest pains are a warning that something just isn't right and dangerous for my body, mind and spirit.
I learned to incorporate relaxation techniques into my life. Prayer, meditation, yoga. Instead of turning on the television (which sometimes adds even more stress) I light candles and listen to soothing music. I soak in warm bath, or go to the beach. There are times I escape for a weekend to a remote sight where I know I cannot be disturbed by continuous phone calls, emails and text messages. I call this UNPLUGGING. I need to do this to protect myself.
I have realized over the years just how tender my heart really is. When I feel things, I feel them with my heart. Sometimes it is all too much to bear and my heart begins hurt. It is telling me I have to do something, change something or turn away from something. I am very in tune with my body. I know immediately when something is not right because I feel it! It's my choice to keep going or stop.  When I pay attention, stop, listen and make positive changes to restore peace and balance to my life, my chest pains miraculously disappear.
I do want you to understand something. I am not foolish.  I take very good care of myself. I eat right, get plenty of rest and I exercise. I also make regular appointments with my cardiologist to be certain my" ticker" is functioning properly. I get a stress test annually. Heart disease runs in both sides of my family so I need to take care. So far, so good. I have a strong, healthy heart. I plan on keeping it that way.
Listen to what your body is telling you. Yes. Go see a doctor. You never want to neglect your health or ignore chest pain, stomach disorders, headaches or joint and muscle aches.  But all these symptoms could be a message from your heart and soul. Subtle warnings to stop, pay attention and change a few things in your life. In other words.....CHILL or ELSE!
And this is my Daily Cyn.........

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