If this sounds like you, you definitely aren’t alone. Everyone at some point in life experiences stress. Sometimes it’s like the above scenario where it’s a bad day. Sometimes it’s a bad week, month, year. Most people can identify when they feel stressed because the body has a way of giving physical clues that something is off: Faster heartbeat, difficulty concentrating, stomachaches, and just feeling anxious. It’s important to know that some stress is actually okay. It can make us focus more intently on a task and help motivate us to complete something. Shorter term stress like that may make us feel tired or irritable in the moment, but will pass once you finish the task and relax. However, stress over a longer time can increase blood pressure, cause health problems, lead to substance use, and worsen depression and anxiety.
If you feel like you are experiencing long term stress, an important way to help is to figure out what exactly is causing your stress. Some stress may be from things that you can try to change. For example, if you get stressed from a romantic partner treating you poorly, one way to change that is express your feelings and thoughts to your partner, saying what specifically is causing you stress, and suggesting ways to have them help you. Easier said than done, I know. But setting healthy boundaries is an important life skill, so the sooner you can practice it, the better. There may also be stress from things that you maybe can’t immediately change. Lots of people feel stressed and overwhelmed by things happening in your community or in the world. You aren’t alone in that either.
Now that we’ve established what stress is and does, what do we do with it? It is important to have a healthy outlet for your stress. Some people like exercise, or others may listen to or write music. Some people talk about their stress with family and friends, which can be a great outlet as well. The point is, we all need a place to channel our stress into. However, if you feel like your stress just isn’t letting go, or all of a sudden you feel very anxious and can’t control it, or you feel so sad or alone that it makes it difficult to get things done in your day – go see your health care provider or talk to a trusted adult. You may be experiencing signs of depression or generalized anxiety. If the cause of your stress is something dangerous, like someone you love is doing drugs or drinking too much, or if your partner hits you and makes you feel worthless, it’s a good idea to talk to a trusted adult then, too.
Everyone experiences stress. Sometimes it’s a good thing, but sometimes it isn’t. Remember, someone from Legacy is always here to help you navigate ways to help yourself to be the best version of yourself.
It’s important to talk to your provider when you face the following:
- Difficulty sleeping and being tired or being so up and active that you don’t want to sleep
- Thoughts of hurting yourself
- Seeing or hearing things that others may not
- A desire to “numb” your feelings with drugs, alcohol or other activities
- A sense that past experiences are keeping you from being present and coping with daily tasks
- Any sudden changes in your mood or how you make decisions or function
We know it’s not easy to ask for help, just remember that you are the best judge of you and your ability to be open and honest with your provider can have a big influence on your care and your ability to be the best you can be. We offer confidential, non-judgmental services for mental health and are here to help you come out against the stigma!
If you have thoughts about hurting yourself or taking your life, seek emergent care with your provider, or go to the nearest emergency room, and call 911.
What questions do I ask?
- I feel irritated most days and get angry easily. Am I depressed?
- I don’t like talking to people. How would behavior health therapy help me?
- I have been thinking about hurting myself, how can I get help?