Monday, April 9, 2012

Our Guest Blogger Writes About Stress


Love it, hate it...Kerry is about to tell you why it's good. We agree with her. There is bad stress, and there is good stress. It's the normal good kind that is healthy, normal, and should be manageable. So manageable, in fact, that you don't even think of it as stress.

We have plenty of it, it's debatable day-to-day what kind it is. Some of us are good at managing it, some are not. We can't always call on each other for help. Unpredictable, we are - though James would say we are entirely predictable in our unpredictability.

As we are in the midst of packing up the things around the flat, to figure out what is needed, and what can fit in the car, for spend the next month floating around England - meaning we're packing some necessities, like the tea case whatever facility we find ourselves in tomorrow night doesn't have one.

If we've learned anything about the British, and stress, it's that almost anything can be solved with a nice cup of tea; and if you are us, a crumpet with lemon curd in addition.

Thank you, Kerry, for proving us a wealth of guest blog posts. She is not just a friend, a mental health professional, a writer, she is so much more. She is a treasure to us.

As always if you have comments or questions feel free to post in the comment section. It would be interesting to see what other people say about stress, or how they feel about it.


Stress is the most common cause of sickness in the UK [and probably in the world]. We all suffer from it at some time in our lives but is it a good thing or a bad thing?

Of course there is never a simple answer to such a complex question and it all depends upon what stress it is, what type of person you are, what your support network is like and how much stress you have just been under prior to this latest episode. Lots of variables. I would like at this time to direct you back the blog post ‘Them and Us’. That post looked at how having too much stress can cause you to become unwell but what would happen if we had no stress in our lives?

I work hard *laughing* in fact if you know me or follow me on twitter, you know that I rarely stop and have a finger in every pie. It’s how I lead my life and what I enjoy doing. There are often deadlines that I have to work within, people or systems forcing me to do things in a time frame that suits them instead of me. I enjoy and thrive on the pressure and stress, so what would happen if that was taken away?

People often tell each other to take it easy or to slow down (strangely I hear it a lot) and we all do like slowing down. We like going on holiday and taking it easy, kicking back and having a change of scene. However, there are still pressures on holiday too. Having pressures forces us to react. Having to get out of bed to go down for breakfast in time is a pressure and we react by either getting ourselves out of bed or deciding that we will go and grab some brekkie at a local café. It is only our perception that suggests that this pressure is either wanted or unwanted. For most this is nice pressure to be able to choose between the things that we want to for breakfast.

Problems occur when we either do not have enough stress or the wrong sort. For the wrong sort of stress please look at the ‘Them and Us’ post, no point in going over old ground is there? I have met people whose goals are either too achievable and easy to meet or they simply do not have enough stress in their lives. Two things can happen; either they end up living in a pseudo fantasy world where they are protected from real life. When this happens they can find it difficult to relate to other people and others find it difficult to relate to them and they can often judge that person to be lazy or foolish or spoilt; thus polarising them from societal norms and isolating them.

The other thing that can occur is apathy and lethargy. In my experience it is this that is the most common thing. People state that that they can’t get up, that they have no energy, that they feel low in mood but can’t seem to pull themselves around. There is a form of therapy called Behavioural Activation which uses activities and behaviour to kick start someone’s mood change, this is quite effective in this situation. The reason I suggest this is because, once a person reaches a place where their stress levels are too low it can take a lot of energy and motivation to change that. Often it can take someone from outside their family circle to point out that they may need different challenges in their lives. However, once they start to realise that they need to be more stressed, as it were, then they tend to feel better very quickly.

Next time the alarm goes off, or your child starts keening because they have just vomited over their bedding at stupid o’clock in the morning; yearning for a stress free life may be exceptionally desirable. However, the reality of one is not pleasant and can lead you to amore dark emotional place than you could imagine.

Have a happy stressful life.

Kerry x

Other entries here by Kerry Stott @kerrystott

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