Life & Family

Stress, Anxiety, and 2020

I think it’s incredibly interesting that the human body can react to stress and anxiety in so many different ways. The most obvious is a straight up panic attack, when your entire body suddenly reacts to a situation as if it’s life or death. Right now, in 2020, everyone is becoming more familiar with all the other expressions of stress and anxiety.

The human body can come up with all kinds of ways to express that it’s being stressed to much, from worrying a lot, to not wanting to do anything, to not letting your mind quiet, to not being able to sleep, and so on and so forth. Even acne.

I think that a lot of people have never really thought about the fact that a night of bad sleep or an acne breakout has a direct relationship to a stressful event. Now, however, a lot more people have the time to experience their stress in a whole new way, so they’re making those connections now. I also wouldn’t be surprised if people’s stress/anxiety reactions have been ratcheted up and are a lot more obvious. There’s no proof of any of this, by the way, just my observations and thoughts.

This isn’t what I was going to write about today, but a couple of days ago, my stomach went haywire. Non-stop heartburn and chest pains, it feels like food gets stuck in my esophagus and is super painful, I have stomach pains, it feels like it’s constantly burning, and I have no appetite until I’m suddenly starving but when food is in front of me and I’m not hungry anymore. It’s a perfect, and horrific, marriage of my GERD and the intense anxiety/stress of living in a Covid hot spot in the year that keeps throwing unanticipated curve balls. So earlier, I was eating some applesauce and decided that I wanted to talk about this.

I’ve heard people say that their headache is from stress, or that they have been having trouble sleeping, but it’s so rare to hear someone talk about stomach problems beyond a “I have stressful event today so I have a sour stomach.” People also never seem to talk about acne, or being depressed because of stress/anxiety (they’ll talk about being in a bad mood, but not just lethargic). I obviously haven’t been hanging out with many people, and when I talk to my friends we actively try to not talk about the pandemic so it’s possible that everyone is always talking about all the weird stress effects on them and I’m just missing that riveting conversation.

I don’t have any advice or ways to make your body not be weird, but I can say that if you’re acting weird, or your body is being weird right now, give it (and yourself) a break. When the world stops falling apart, things will get better.

Thanks for reading my ramble!

Sarah

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