Stress Can Break You

My brass lamp was broken by cold
Brass lamp broken by cold

How do you protect yourself?

Let me show you two things and ask you if you see a similarity.

The first thing is my torchiere lamp, pictured at left. I came into my living room early one December morning and found that it had broken during the night, which explained a loud cracking noise I’d heard and attributed to the cold affecting parts of my house. (Coming from Wisconsin, I’m familiar with the expansion and contraction caused by changes in weather.)

In the picture above you see that the metal has cracked, and the central column lifted away.

My experience as a silversmith in London tells me that the cracking results from fatigue along stress lines created in the metal during manufacture. As long as the lamp was at a fairly even and warm temperature there was no movement in the metal, and it remained intact.

But when it got very cold in my living room over several hours, the metal fractured at the points where one piece of metal moved differently in response to the cold than an adjacent and attached piece of metal.

I’m not sure whether it was the interior plate of metal or the external hollow column which adjusted most to the change in temperature, but it’s fairly clear that both parts did not adjust in unison.

I am showing you this because it’s a good image for what happens in our bodies when there are stresses on us that call for changes and in fact force changes onto us that we can’t healthily accommodate.

Say, for instance, that something shocking happens, not just the shock of an accident when you might actually be diagnosed as suffering from shock, but something like being fired in a downsizing that you feared because you need the money; or, the person you are married to or in love with (or both) tells you they are having second thoughts and a chill races through your body leaving you shivering; or, for months or years you have been making yourself do something that you feel a duty to do, but that is wearing you out and then you are hit with a shock ~ in these cases your body is going to experience some abrupt, unrelenting changes: to your temperature: you may start shivering, to your muscle tension: you may become stiff with anxiety, to your heart rate, which may begin to race, etc.

Okay, this is the critical moment. Because if you have someone to give you warm tea and words of comfort, or genuine hugs, then everything may become synchronized as you recover and no major damage is done. But say you have been pushing yourself to your limits, and you don’t have any resilience left, nor anyone to hug and encourage you, then you may, for the sake of examples, throw your back out, or get sciatica, or any number of pain related health issues.

If you like the scientific side of things then from the scientific perspective what happens is that your telomerase, essential for longer telomeres and longer life, is decreased. Stress shortens telomeres and short telomeres are related to illness and earlier death.

Emotions, Stress and the Rate of Telomere Shortening: Are Our Cells Listening to Us? is a video of a lecture by Elissa Eple who has studied the role of stress in telomere shortening. The lecture is excellent because it it’s both scientific and at the same time clear in ordinary language, supported by easy to grasp graphics and examples from studies that relate to a lot of us. Watch the video.

Emotions, Stress and the Rate of Telomere Shortening, by Elisa Epel ~ Watch Video.

Blaming yourself over and over for events which would be long past, except you keep them uppermost in your mind, is one of the biggest stressors you face. You can bring yourself into the present and escape the self-blaming ruminations that lead to shortened telomeres by looking at what’s around you, choosing something that you’d like to look a lot better, and then making it happen. How I transformed a room and my mind ~ Read more.

I may not be able to walk, due to the lasting effects of the hydrogen sulfide in the condo I unsuspectingly bought, but I can make my surroundings almost as much fun as a visit to France or Crete. Maybe I exaggerate, but not entirely. There is great joy to be found in my home, and often my home can be fun to work with and change for the better, while at the same time changing my mind. 🙂

7/12/2014 ~ I fought stress today by increasing my telomerase, the enzyme that keeps us from getting decrepit despite onslaughts in our daily lives. I did that by bringing to mind some really good times when my ideals were strong and a wonderful part of my life. Seeing the Ideal ~ Read more.

When something threatening and worrying comes into your life, it can damage your health. One way to counteract it is to focus your mind on good times. That really puts a crimp in stress’s style.

7/14/2014 ~ Today I fought the stress of Goliath Wells Fargo attacking my home with a foreclosure in which WF never served me the Complaint. It’s very scary, but by writing The Art of Asking, I felt a lot better, and I’m getting suggestions on how to proceed. The Art of Asking ~ Read more.

Toxins and Stress

Cadmium toxins caused crinkled leaves, like that on the left, on my avocado

Say you have toxins you’ve been dealing with from medications, from your environment, or from “toxic” people you can’t avoid. In those cases you may already have stress fractures, as it were. They may not be perceptible to your doctor, but that doesn’t make them less real and given a shocking situation they can become undeniable, at least to you because of the pain. Your doctor may continue to deny that anything physical is wrong.

In terms of toxins, when I saw my avocado’s leaves crinkle I saw a similarity to the deep unevenness in my fingernails while I lived in the hydrogen sulfide. My thumbnails had particularly noticeable “gullies” in them.

My avocado did not have crinkled leaves before I transplanted it into the large cadmium red glazed pot that I thought would be good for its roots, giving them lots of room. My avocado’s leaves began to look crinkled like this after it had been in the cadmium red pot for a few months. Cadmium is a known toxin, but I hadn’t thought about that when I bought the red pots, which were nice looking and not costly.

Were it not for the fact that two other plants, one of ten years standing, also became sick in two other cadmium red pots, I wouldn’t think there was any connection to the pot.

Okay, so here is my question to you: Do you see a similarity between the metal not being able to stand up to the stress of the severe temperature change and the leaves not being able to stand up to the stress of the toxins?

If you do, as I do, then you will be able to better understand how your body is not invincible when it comes to different stresses to which it may be subjected.

I think stress is the crucial factor underlying status in The Status Syndrome by Michael Marmot. Marmot discusses how the less status you have, the earlier you are likely to die. He theorizes this happens because people with less status have less control over their lives.

Two hopeful things:

  • 1.) that possibly compost may allow plants to grow normally in toxic pots — I’m experimenting now… but so far there are no results; and
  • 2.) the hopeful thing for our bodies is that it appears that vitamin B12 (in the Methylcobalamin form) is able to help our bodies adjust without breaking, as it were.

Amazon NOW B12 50NOW Methyl-B12 1000 mcg

Possibly this is because B12 keeps our nerves healthy, and nerves are what transfer sensations and messages of change to different parts of our bodies. For instance, when my feet began to lack sensation due to peripheral neuropathy caused by low vitamin B12, I could no longer tell when my feet were cold from being out from under the covers, nor could I tell if someone tickled them.

Now, after a lot of B12 replacement, the nerves in my feet are beginning to more reliably send messages. If you see what I am saying, and if you are dealing with stress, then take the precaution of getting and using Methylcobalamin lozenges.

What is a Health B12 Level? ~ Read more.
Methylcobalamin ~ Read more.
Jarrow Methyl B12, 5000mcg, 60 Lozenges

Jarrow Methyl B12 5000 mcg

As I so often do, I end by saying, “I wish I’d known about vitamin B12 and my nerves earlier, and I wish I had taken Methylcobalamin before my nerves were so severely damaged that it impacted my life in ways I would not have imagined, as for instance, tetanus, and now reduced mobility.”

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