Check Up : Stressed and can't sleep

October 04, 2017

Dear Readers,

Sonya emails Check Up about her problems. She is 26 years old and has been working, studying and providing a home for her mother and daughter. Her babyfather travelled overseas, and she's not hearing much from him and rarely gets any financial support.

Now, it's also exam time, and she has been spending a lot of time on campus studying, and worries that she is jeopardising her job. Sonya says she is not sleeping, can't eat, her heart flatters and she sometimes has chest pains. Sometimes she gets up in the nights, feeling a deep dread that something bad is going to happen, almost like she might die.

Sonya says she cannot go on like this. She knows that her nerves are shot, and she may have a bad heart, but she just doesn't know what to do. It is only her concern for her baby that is keeping her going at this time.

Sonya you need to stop and take a deep breath. No matter what you think you have to do today, take a break for a couple hours. Go for a walk to burn off the excess nervous energy, or a swim, or some exercise activity, then take a warm bath. Play some soft music, close your eyes and think of things that always make you feel good.

Stop, and take the time. You will be better off later today and tomorrow. Find your body centre and regain ownership of your life. It is your own, and no one else will ever be the same as you. Breathe in deeply and reclaim joy, peace and light. Breathe out and let go of the stressful events. God will provide, and is providing.

We all face unfair burdens, and young adults can have a hard time coping. When your own internal strengths seem unable to cope, STOP. Give yourself some rest time to recuperate. The symptoms being experienced would indicate that your body is not only asking for this time, but is demanding the rest and recuperation time. It is telling you that you will only feel worse if you don't stop and obey your body's demands. Use some time out to talk with a family elder, a church friend or teacher or counsellor. Share your burden and discuss ways to cope and reduce some of the anxiety. Get some help and advice.




Also, visit your doctor for a check-up and reassurance that your chest pain and palpitations, when they occur, are just due to anxiety. There are some other physical conditions which can cause chest pain and palpitations, although anxiety is really very high on this list.

Anxiety can affect anyone. It doesn't have an age limit or belong to any social group. But sometimes acceptable anxiety crosses the line to become a social disorder, manifesting as panic attacks, phobia and social anxiety. Normal anxiety is an expected response to a difficult situation, as this is the body's way of alerting us to danger.

Threats may not be physical, but can occur due to interpersonal conflicts, school deadlines, financial worries and many other real-life occurrences. Some anxiety can be helpful as it can motivate us to get things done within deadlines. Normal anxiety occurs in response to a problem or an event and is relative to the problem.

Anxiety can be treated medically with prescription medications, as well as with psychological counselling when the problem is severe. Learning relaxation techniques is also important. Therapy will often consist of psychotherapy, behavioural therapy and medication. Try to take a small break, and do something relaxing. Visit your family doctor or counsellor if your condition persists too long or seems excessive.

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