Manage the Stress You Can

By November 25, 2018 ePatient, Family man

When my son, Mike, was dying I knew I needed help supporting Mike AND survive and thrive myself.  I went shopping for a counselor. No surprise to you – I am not an easy patient. But I was willing to do the work. My shopping eventually led me to three counselors.  The first, a friend highly recommended. This friend had survived leukemia with several years of chemo, stem cell transplant and heart surgery. His mental and spiritual health were shaken. I could see that this counselor had really helped him. I made an appointment. The guy popped Altoids Curiously Strong Peppermints the whole time. To keep himself awake? No go. Still shopping. The next counselor I knew from work. She was on my providers’ council. She asked questions. I answered. How did I feel…? I didn’t need talk therapy. I had family and friends. I needed a roadmap. How do I manage myself? The third counselor spent 5 minutes asking me about diet, sleep, exercise, pooping, my family, transportation. You have to take care of the basics to manage grief. Then he said, there’s stress you can manage and stress you can’t. Grief is stress that’s hard to manage.  There it is. It’s not going away. Now tell me your top two stresses in your life right now. That was easy. On top – My mother. (That’s another story for another day). Tell me more. I told him more, another 10 minutes. Then he gave me three things to try to help manage the stress with Ma. I spent 45 minutes of the allotted hour with him! He was a keeper.  I tried all three recommendations with Ma. I could pull off two. Rapidly less stress in that arena. Therapy from a master is worth shopping for! He’s still part of my team. I talk to him on the phone from time to time – like when I was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

I find now that take care of the basics and manage the stress you can has helped me enormously to manage the continuing serious annoyance of MS. How do you manage the stress you can?

Photo by Pim Chu on Unsplash

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Danny van Leeuwen

About Danny van Leeuwen

Patient/Caregiver activist empowering people as they travel toward best health

2 Comments

  • Susan Spivack says:

    This one’s just right! Thanks Danny. So self-evident except when we’re in the midst of trying to manage some trauma or other. Simply the slow-down’s of aging require this careful kind of mindful presence to the nitty gritty details of life, so we can figure out what to lay down, what to change in how we approach things, etc. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving weekend.

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