How your body reacts to stress

How many of you are guilty of doing too much at once? *raises hand* πŸ™‚

Well, if you happen to be one of us, then you are probably extremely aware of how it can not only effect your mood but also your body.

A few years ago, when I was living on my own in a new city, getting my masters degree at Johns Hopkins, working part-time and interning…yes, all at once…I realized just how much of an impact stress can have on you physically.

I started to get headaches, which I never used to get. Tension headaches are a big indicator that your body is trying to tell you something. However, I blew it off and figured I just needed more caffeine to keep me going. Unfortunately, my heart rate started to go up and I would get a pain in my chest every once and awhile, as well as palpitations. Not only that, but I would have severe stomach pains, constantly get sick because my immune system was suffering, and also have a hard time sleeping.

I would even see things in the night that absolutely terrified me. Some nights, I would be almost asleep and these hallucinations would occur, making them feel even more real. Every time, the hallucinations were the same. A spider would be either on my pillow, crawling in my bed or on the wall, or next to me on the other side of the bed. I’m not even an arachnophobic. I’m the one in the family who kills the spiders for everyone else.

Nevertheless, after seeing these spiders, I would frantically get up and see it scurry away. I would turn on the lights as quickly as I could just so that I could catch the spider moving. I would even throw apart my bed, trying to find this spider, but never could. For months, I literally thought this was real because I would even be fully awake and see it. I then began to sleep on the couch, until it started happening there as well.

I thought I was crazy. Eventually, I was able to mention this to my psychiatrist and therapist a little over a year later and discovered it was just a reaction to stress. I was luckily not losing touch with reality. Although rare, extremely visual hallucinations can happen because of stress. Because your brain is extremely active when you are anxious, this can lead to some unusual activity.

Aside from all of that, I also started to get hives. Yes, hives.

That was a super fun time. I would just be sitting there and, all of a sudden, my whole body would break out in this red, bumpy stuff that looked like leprosy. Just kidding, it really wasn’t that bad. But here are some lovely pictures of what it looked like πŸ™‚


Before adult coloring books and after πŸ™‚

It’s terrifying how the body can react to stress and being overworked. Luckily, when I was living with roommates, they would help me out when I would get hives. It became a wine, ice cream, rom com and adult coloring book night in. I miss them πŸ™‚

This post was not intended to frighten you, but simply to tell you that you should be kind to your body and listen to what it is trying to tell you. Your body knows when something is going on, even if you are completely clueless or in denial. I had no idea how stressed I was until my body reacted to it in these ways. Then, I had to find ways to relax myself.

Breathing exercises are great for this, and I do list some in one of my previous blogs, Breathing Techniques. However, I would highly suggest the ice cream, rom com, adult coloring book and wine night in. It really did work wonders πŸ™‚

23 thoughts on “How your body reacts to stress

  1. Coloring in adult coloring books or even kid coloring books is now one of my new found favorite hobbies and I find it very relaxing. I currently own one adult coloring book, a finding nemo and cat coloring book. πŸ™‚ The cat coloring book is also an activity book and though is a bit young to my liking I got it for like a couple dollars. xD

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad to hear that you’ve managed stress for two years and are feeling better. I felt stress out the last few days and it really sucks not sleeping good, losing appetite, having annoying heart beat headache that literally ruined day and being moody. I slept so much better last night thank God I’m back to feeling myself YES!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not a medicine person at all but for headache Tylenol and Advil are my go to preference but I love using natural remedies I even used to make my own homemade caught syrup for my kids back in the day

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  4. Too much at once really can overwork your body. I know people who work crazy hours with little sleep and I don’t know how they do it. That’s crazy you didn’t just have hives, you had hallucinations. I’m glad you learned and listened from your body!

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  5. Stress can do many things to your body, hair, nails. It could also be a combination of stress and something you eat, drink, lotion, soap, etc.
    I would say take deep breaths, sit, close your eyes, relax. I know it’s how to do, but easy to say to someone.
    It’s like the body and mind clashing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Sleep Paralysis | Girl with the Paw Print Tattoo

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