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  • (Election Day) Emotional Hangovers: Do You Ever Feel This?

    Posted by bailey-anne-vincent on November 4, 2020 at 9:41 am

    I know we don’t all live in the United States, so I don’t want to be too nationalistic talking about Election Night (which for those of us in the US seems more like Election Week right now), but I do want to know:

    How does emotional stress impact your physical health?

    My daughters and I stayed up late last night trying to watch the voting results, and by the end, I could feel that distinct tickle-feeling in my throat of exhaustion and upset. My neck started to hurt… My head starts to throb… And I often think: “Oh no. I’m going to make myself sick.” Or, I guess, sicker.

    We all know stress can literally make people worse in the scientific sense, but do you ever feel like you have a stronger “emotional hangover” than healthier peers after a major social event?

    Do you have a particular upsetting moment in your past that directly led to a hospitalization, for example?

    Sometimes, for me, the stress can be positive too. I normally end up in the hospital a week or two after every major stage week or performance season of my dance company (although that theory is currently on hold since we are on hold).

    What about you?

    paul-met-debbie replied 3 years, 5 months ago 4 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • april-biggs

    November 4, 2020 at 10:13 am

    Bailey – yes, the hangover is real. I am post-transplant (16 years) so my physical hangovers manifest slightly differently than they used to. Pre-tx it often took the form you described. And since I was in my 20’s when I was most symptomatic, I was not always prioritizing, or even conscious of the need to prioritize, self-care. I was ripping and roaring. And so, often I ended up with an exacerbation after big events like long rehearsal/performance runs, life events, etc. I am also a dancer, btw. You and I have much in common! :). Post-tx this kind of emotional stress – like this heartbreaking election – takes the form of sheer exhaustion.

    We all have to stay strong and healthy and watch out for each other right now. These are scary and painful times.

  • jenny-livingston

    November 5, 2020 at 2:52 pm

    When I get incredibly upset, I vomit. It’s my body’s way of saying, “These emotions are too strong right now.” This happened frequently when I was a child but, fortunately, it’s pretty rare as an adult. The last time it happened was election night in 2016. I haven’t vomited this time, but I’ve cried more than once.

    In recent days, I’ve felt that emotional hangover so much. My mind is having a hard time processing anything other than election stuff. I’ve been trying to take some time for my body and mental health — a walk in the sunshine, some light yoga — but I’ve left several texts and emails unanswered for now. Everything just feels a bit too heavy right now.

    In the past, life stresses did indeed have an impact on my health. When I was in a toxic marriage, I was in the hospital far more frequently. After my divorce, my family wondered how I’d manage my health/home life/single parenthood, etc. but it turns out, my health and stress levels both improved post-divorce.

    Last year, I had the amazing opportunity to attend NACFC in Nashville. I was warned that these days-long conferences were incredibly physically taxing, even for people who don’t have chronic illness. I’d gotten sick shortly before attending the conference, but was feeling almost back to normal when I got there. I was very conservative with my energy. I’d go back to my hotel each afternoon for a treatment and nap before attending more sessions. When others were going to the Grand Ol’ Opry, going to restaurants, or walking around downtown Nashville, I was going to bed early. Even still… on the flight home, I began to feel feverish and “CF sick” and I was in the hospital a few days later.

    Often, as April said, emotional stress takes the form of physical exhaustion (and, for some of us, vomiting). And too much physical stress often turns into sickness.

  • paul-met-debbie

    November 6, 2020 at 8:41 am

    Of course stress has a negative impact on the well being of body and brain.
    These systems can cope with a certain amount of stress, but less than we like to think or society tells us, and there is always a price to pay.

    The question we should ask therefore is: what do you do to minimize the amount of avoidable stress you get exposed to? How well do you take care of body and brain?

    Most stressful situations can be avoided by your own choice. Just limit the stressful input. Turn of the tv, the news app, the social feeds. (Or don’t – and suffer without complaining; it’s your choice). So just don’t follow these elections (or the news in general) that closely. (Ask yourself how important are the elections of 20 years ago now?) Or read a good book, take a walk in nature, make music or any other art, play with your kids, prepare a nutricious meal, make love – in stead of engaging in the cheap fake drama of television or cinema or contemporary society. Why pollute yourself with that? Life will produce unavoidable stress and drama enough by itself. Don’t go look for it. Charge your batteries to be prepared and you will so much better of when adversity comes.

    Take a good look at the dynamics that lead you to expose voluntarily to stress. It is an addiction of the mind. The mind is not choosy, it will take any excitement and the popular world is mostly filled with negative excitement these days. But there are ways to deal with this and learn other behaviour and patterns, and ignore the unhealthy cravings of the mind. If you teach the mind other ways, soon you will get better preferences and be more at peace. Don’t let your mind torture your precious body and brain.

    If you have a pet, examine it. It leads a natural life and tries to be at peace as much and often as possible. It is not looking for trouble. Follow its lead. If you don’t have a pet, go out and watch nature. Be one with it. It’s not just decoration. It’s our source. There is wisdom in nature. Not so much in culture. And certainly not in politics, which is the very stage for ignorance and ego.


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