Stress is a funny old thing. It's by no means funny in the ha-ha, laugh a minute or any kind of 'fun' way but it is interesting to see how stress works so differently on people.
I suppose it depends on your level of stress at any one time. Mild bouts of stress may cause irritable and snappy days. A day here or there were you think you are not coping as best as you could that results in a good old cry to feel better. Feeling a bit frustrated - maybe something you wish you could control is just out of your grasp.
A big piece of surprise stress may be dealt with well at the time, but then result in a delayed reaction. When I gave birth eight weeks early to J1, about five weeks later I broke out in Shingles, a reaction to the shock and stress of the situation I had been involved in - so I was told.
But the worst kind, I think, are those stressful things, that on their own may not seem too condemning, but piled up, one on top of the other again and again starts to make you feel buried. The light at the end of the tunnel becomes dimmer, the weight on your shoulders heavy. You try and claw your way through it and some days you may think that you are edging your way to dispelling of some of those pieces of sticking tape to the waste bin for good, then a whole load more gets stuck on top.
Then all of a sudden you have got so much to deal with you don't know which to start with first. Some of them you can't tackle at all. But instead of having a public display of two year old temper tantrum to release you just try and get on with it. Bury it away. Put on a smile. Even though the idea of how to deal with each one starts to seem insurmountable you try and stay calm and sane. But in you brain it is all building up and at that point, your brain says
"OK I am filled to the brim on my stress level quota, it's starting to spill over, this will result in odd consequences."
Some people go off of their food.
Some people turn to food.
Some people turn to drink.
Some people don't do any of those things but find that all of a sudden they start to have a few medical issues that they don't, at first relate to the stress, but if they thought about it would be pretty clear.
I remember when my dad was made redundant. It was a few months in and no other job prospect had come to fruition. He got up one day had a - what looked like a huge blister - the size of a small fist right in the middle of his forehead and this had caused both of his eyelids to swell. He looked liked Simba out of the Lion King.
This was a very clear physical reaction to the stress. We hadn't got the slightest inclination that he was feeling that stressed, although in hindsight it was a given really, being the main bread winner of the family.
Our build up of stress has built slowly over the last three years in particular, with a significant increase I would say in the last 12 months. In that time I have probably been back and forth to the doctor with little annoying ailments more than I ever have. I can only put it down to a stress reaction and I am pretty sure I can say the same about some of the issues The Hubby has found himself suffering.
These are negative reactions to stress. Are there any positives? Could it be that some people have used stress in a productive way? I have been thinking about this a lot lately, being a generally positive person I do not like it when I can not see the silver lining (or the light at the end of the tunnel) so I started to think about people that have propelled their dreams into reality due to the stress of real life.
JK Rowling, was a young single Mother when she penned Harry Potter. We all know the stresses of a small child, but on your own and trying to make a life for you and your child on benefits income must have been an extremely intense and stressful period.
Michelle Mone left school with no qualifications and felt compelled to find work to help her mother financially when illness left her father in a wheelchair. Taking on modelling, she gave it up when she fell pregnant with her first child but instead found work in Marketing. Being made redundant from that role, she took a leap of faith to start the Ultimo brand which took some time to make it to recognition. But Michelle channelled her energy into staying determined, working hard and pushing her dream. Trying to do that and be a mother must have taken every drain of energy she had.
Oprah Winfrey - need I say more? If you don't know Oprah's background a short synopsis is here
I guess there are some key ingredients to being successful. An idea; hard work; trial and error and the determination to get through all the 'error' parts and of course usually somewhere along the line a bit of luck.
But I wonder - and hope - did these three women (and the many others who have changed their own lives) take the stress of their current situation to help fuel their desire to better their own world?
Did their overwhelming desire to see light at the end of the tunnel make them overcome a fear of offering up their writing skills for the world to critic? Did it make them become a better marketer and not afraid to pitch with gusto for contracts on an unknown product? Did it make them research harder and practise public speaking into a mirror until the early hours of the morning?
What it has made me see is that there is always hope. There is always a chance to try and make things better. Some people are unlucky with the chance they take. I am positive there are many people who deserve to have made their dream come true, that have tried, hard, but not succeeded.
But at least they tried. And nothing should stop them taking a new dream and running with it. The sadder situation is the ones where the effort isn't made. Maybe they don't have quite enough stress to propel them to take that leap or they just can't see past that pile of sticking tape.