I am a perfect example of the effects of high levels of stress. At 49 all my tests were great, blood pressure good, PSA good, weight and overall health good. I hunted, fished and played with my sons and wife. We attended church together as a family, had friends and family over and enjoyed life. The boys activities were a major point in our lives and we all traveled together.
Then came back my ex wife with a vengeance. The nightmare started, and all of the things I did for enjoyment stopped and the focus became court issues.
During this time I had remarried (4 years) to a very smart and beautiful woman, This caused my ex wife of several years to start a campaign of evil. Even though I was ignorant of Parental Alienation at the time, it was very apparent that My ex wife did her best at every opportunity to bad mouth me and my wife to my sons and anyone in the community that would listen. She was and still is very angry and bitter. It seems she cannot elevate herself or herself esteem so she attempts to harm the reputation of others, to bring them down to, or below the level she feels herself in.
Long story short, (just in this blog, much more to come) My wife and I had full custody of my sons. My ex had gambled and partied away her money and after 7 cars and 2 houses, and many boyfriends (wrote me an e-mail that she had young men standing in line) all of the divorce settlement worth over $80,000 and filed bankruptcy .
It had been agreed that my ex wife would keep the children under her work health care because she stated that it only cost her $8 to do so, (I am self employed). That was fine until my ex wife had the need to cause problems. The year I was 49 my ex would not pay anything for the kids health care and raised the deductable to $3,000. After many attempts to get her to pay, including clarification from the court, She just said no to any payments and to take her to court. My wife and I paid the total deductable on my ex wife’s health care policy for that year (over $3,000) with nothing from her. My blood pressure started to climb and I was put on medication.
Later a court battle started over custody of the boys. My ex wife was broke and after finding out that I had a great cherry harvest and a super income year, put a plan in place to steal the children from me. She had always threatened to get a huge amount of child support from me but without having custody of the boys she could not. So starts the escalation of Parental Alienation and laying a ground work within people she knew. Bottom line is that with lies told by her and her attorney and statements made to the court by my two sons who were being mentally manipulated, (documented by a child psychologist the boys were court ordered to see, that it is the worst case of parental alienation that he had ever seen) stole my sons from me and branded me as abusive. This was in December of my 49th year. By March of the next year the court battle and lies continued. My heart was broken and my currant wife and I were having huge marital problems from this issue. I turned 50 and my PSA started to climb. Within 9 months it was confirmed I had cancer.
The reality is that excessive, stress can actually kill you. It can take a very healthy body and destroy it within months. When you're stressed, your body produces the hormone cortisol, which is designed to get your rear in gear as part of the fight-or-flight mechanism. However, this hormone is meant to be released only occasionally in small doses - when stress causes it to be secreted for long periods of time, the body reacts with a variety of different health consequences.
The following are seven of the major health effects caused by stress. If you're experiencing any of these conditions and believe they may be linked to stress, seek medical counseling as soon as possible:
Diabetes occurs when the body produces too little insulin to process all the sugars in your body. As these sugars build up, you may experience a number of health problems including thirst, headaches and weight loss. Over time, the condition can cause complications ranging from heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye damage, nerve damage, diabetic neuropathy, skin conditions, and gastrointestinal problems.
2. High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is often referred to as a "silent killer" because there are few actual symptoms that present with the disease. High levels of stress can bring on this condition, which can result in an aneurysm,
coronary heart disease, enlarged heart, damage to the brain and even heart attack. If that isn't a good enough reason to learn to manage your stress - I don't know what is!
3. Weight Gain
People under high levels of stress often experience fluctuations in weight - as anyone who's ever taken comfort in candy bars knows all to well. However, if your weight gain gets out of control, you could be putting yourself at risk for developing cancer, heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, sleep apnea, liver disease and gallbladder disease. If you notice that you've put on a few pounds, try hitting the gym - exercise is also a natural stress reliever.
4. Susceptibility to Disease
Your body can only do so much - when you're under constant pressure, its resources are being diverted to help respond to stress. This leaves the immune system compromised and susceptible to infection by viruses and bacteria. If you've ever noticed yourself coming down with a bug when you're at your most stressed, it isn't just a coincidence - it's your body letting you know that you're under too much stress to handle safely.
Constant stress can make you feel like there's no way out of your predicament, which can eventually lead to feelings of hopelessness and depression. Depression is a serious disease - it's nothing to take lightly. If you find yourself feeling trapped by feelings of despair and despondency, seek professional help immediately.
6. Heart Disease
Type A people beware - stress can and does cause heart disease and heart attacks. Stress contributes to the buildup of plaque in the arteries. As the arteries narrow, the heart has to push the blood even harder to distribute it throughout the body. Over time, this extra stress on the heart can have devastating effects.
While there's no proven link between stress and cancer, it's widely accepted that excessive stress is a risk factor for developing a type of this deadly disease. Overall, stress weakens the immune system which may allow cancerous tissues to develop and flourish. If you feel that excessive negative stress is causing your immune system to break down, seek help to learn effective stress management techniques that allow you to cope properly.