Finding the trigger

4:17 am, an odd time of day to find myself up, but that was what I was, awake yet again exactly at that time. In the last couple of weeks, something has woken me exactly at the time according to my alarm clock, on at least 4 occasions. I nearly didn’t look at the clock today as I had at first woken slowly and had the idea that I could just drift back to sleep. My bladder had a different idea. The odd thing was that I did have my earplugs in and even when I took one out, I could hear no sound of anyone either in our flat or the neighbouring ones moving around. There wasn’t the slightest clue as to what had actually woken me. I know that it is possible that someone has an extraordinarily loud alarm and need to be up at 4:15 am, but it still doesn’t really add up, as if it were that, I would be awake every day at that time. I hate puzzles like this as I know already there is no way other than making sure I am awake ahead of that time, to find out. I am not going to do that, for anyone. I haven’t been up since that time, I did go back to sleep for a couple of hours, but then Adam woke me and sleep just wasn’t happening after that, so I gave up and got up. Still early but not horrendously.

You would think once you were housebound and the worries of the outside world have been removed, that life would become relaxed and without stress of any sort from then on. Sorry, I hate to disappoint you but that just isn’t true. I have come to the conclusion that we as creatures just can’t live without stress of some sort. Even when life is sedate and laid back as possible. When you have managed to transform yourself into this amazingly calm person who doesn’t even get wound up when you can’t breathe. When you have worked alongside your partner to remove anything that might upset you and your life is under control. That, that would be it, life would be an unrippled pool of calm. Yet that perfectly calm life we all strive for, just doesn’t exist. No matter what you do, there is something there in our brains, that takes hold of those unimportant things in life and applies that missing stress to them. I first noticed it over tiny things. Like, my wanting something to eat that had been finished or knowing that I had forgotten to do something I was supposed to. The extent of my reaction towards those tiny things often seemed irrational and overblown. They were things that years ago wouldn’t have stressed me at all. Annoyed me, but not stressed me. Understandably, the only true stressful situations I could name with ease are all the trips out to go to the hospital. Those days are stress from several days before, until a couple of days after they are over. I did actually believe that other than the stress caused by my health, as in getting frustrated with either or both my mind and body, that day to day stress was gone. It hadn’t, I just wasn’t noticing it.

PRMS, like most autoimmune conditions, doesn’t react well to stress, so it’s important to keep it out of our lives as much as possible. Hence the routines. The planned out style of my life so that there are no surprises, nothing that can wind me up. A few months ago, I started to write a post about removing stress and how I had gone about it and succeeded. I had written the first paragraph and realised that I should really test things out and see if I was as stress-free as I thought, as what I was writing didn’t totally ring true. I started by check just how I felt about everything in my day as each part of it came around. I couldn’t believe just how wound up I was getting over the tiniest things. A few minutes slip in my routine and there it was, stress rising in the background. It was actually partly what was behind my changing my routine, which I know some of you will remember me writing about it. Removing those ridged times and letting my day flow more, without so many restrictions has made an incredible difference. It wasn’t as though I had a reason for putting myself under stress, but I was doing it.

My worst daily stress point though was coming from something really stupid, the doorbell. I can’t even find a real reason for the stress. I can find lots of little reasons why it might annoy me, but stress me, nothing at all. All I can come up with is the unpredictable nature of it, you just don’t know when it will ring. Everything else in my life is predictable, mapped out and under my or our control, the doorbell isn’t. At first I thought it was just one of those annoying things. Especially when so many people press all the buzzers in the block at once, if someone else is at home, well by the time I get there, I am greeted by silence. On a normal day, it rings only once for the postman to get in. Should it ring again, well my blood pressure rises and I am wound up and irrationally angry that I am once again on my feet, because of something that probably has nothing to do with me. As I said annoyance. Then I realised that I actually start winding myself up daily from 11 am onwards. It’s mega rare for it to ring before that. What made me notice it more than anything was that I didn’t stress on a Sunday morning at all. Once you are aware of something like this, well for some reason it only gets worse. Adam even noticed a few weeks ago and suggested turning it off, but as I said, “What if it is for us?”

I have made a conscious effort to destress every morning as soon as I feel it rising, just writing this has actually triggered it. Somehow and for some reason I can’t grasp, I have piled not all but a large chunk of the stresses I have worked so hard to get rid of, onto the doorbell. It really does feel as though stress is a required factor in our lives, remove it from one thing and it will appear attached to something else. I have successfully removed all the stress that I had about the growing list of things that I can no longer do. I removed the stress I once felt when although Adam had taken over everything housework, that he didn’t seem to want to keep it as it used to be, pin-perfect. I have learned to live without work, without going out and without mass human interaction, all without stress. Life should be stress-free outside of isolated events like going to the hospital or the odd unavoidable phone call that Adam can’t make for me. I was already slightly aware of the passing on of stress. I had felt it in the past when I cleared one area, another grew slightly in its intensity. I know that it will be partly because I was then more aware of it, but it has often felt worse, but this is a first. Never before has something I felt no stress about at all, suddenly turned into a stressful issue. There should be nothing in my day to day life left to stress me, yet here I am, stressing over the possibility of someone ringing our doorbell. I might not feel so daft if I could pin point why my brain has chosen this exact item to attach stress too. I just know that it’s there.

The good news is this, even if it moves on again, what I know for a fact is that every area of stress that I have dealt with and removed, has reduced the overall levels of stress. These days my stress levels a miles lower than they used to be, but I honestly am beginning to feel as though stress is a required part of our make up. It is probably part of the “fight or flight” mechanism. If you remove everything that uses it, it may will work on finding a new thing to be triggered by. So, can anyone tell me, how do you fight a doorbell?

Please read my blog from 2 years ago – 15/08/2013 – The comical truth

I am starting to find the house cold again, it seems so early in the year for me to have the desire to just close the place up and shift it comfortably into the winter routine. I can’t help wonder if it is down to the fact we had those few unbearably…….

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