Are You Stressed?
It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post. I have a new experience I want to share that I’m sure will resonate with many.
First, I have a question. Do you know when you are stressed? Many believe stress is related only to mental or emotional strain, pressure, or tension. Or perhaps a lack of concentration and a sense of being overwhelmed. In the past, I would define stress struggles similarly. However, stress can show up in other ways.
I undergo tests annually to ensure my copper levels and related nutrients stay balanced. Because I know too well what happens when my body goes out of balance, you can read my book, “I Cu Copper,” for reference.
Other than the added stress five years ago when my father passed away, my labs have been normal or within a reasonable range. I was surprised that my zinc/copper ratio and copper levels returned elevated this year. The surprise was because I felt mentally fantastic.
Sure, I may have had a day or so where I felt out of sorts because I was overtired from an activity or had indulged in something that didn’t agree with my diet. But nothing that would set off a red flag of being stressed or out of balance. Trust me, I have been very in tune with my mind and body since discovering my copper dysregulation.
The nurse at my doctor’s office helped me do some detective work to understand why I suddenly had higher levels. We discussed foods, and I told her I avoid high-copper foods. But, I may have consumed more carbs than protein before testing, which would affect my ceruloplasmin. We agreed that was not a big problem. The main concern was why I had a pyrrole surge. Again, I had not had a pyrrole flare since facing overwhelming stress when my father passed. But I was not feeling emotionally stressed. I kept wondering what I was doing wrong to cause the change.
As we talked, she questioned my lifestyle and environment. I told her I was overall happy and that I am a caregiver for my elderly mother, which is sometimes like a full-time job—taking her for groceries, haircuts, and doctor’s appointments and helping to maintain her home. But I explained I didn’t mind all I did for her and didn’t see it as a burden. Time-consuming, yes! But I have learned how to set boundaries and have days that are for me. The nurse said that doesn’t sound like that could be it.
Then I told her the only frustration I was having was stubborn inflammation and minor pain from foot surgery several months ago. I explained that my foot doctor was working with me to minimize the scar tissue and inflammation. It’s been challenging, and now my other foot has developed some pain that could be from me compensating to find relief. That was an aha moment for both of us as we concluded my body was trying to fight off the discomfort, causing me to become out of balance.
Coping with Stress
We often think of stress as mentally not coping when, in fact, stress on the body is no different and can cause our systems to overwork to try to correct an aggravation.
I’ve learned the importance of self-awareness and have become accustomed to navigating cognitive disruptions to stay balanced. It’s been a long road to get here, and I’m determined not to return to the darkness that once ruled my life. So, I am very compliant with taking prescribed nutrients and habitually incorporate self-care activities to protect myself from negative energies or being overwhelmed. I avoid high-copper foods and do my best to minimize carbs and eat more protein. But I forgot about the impact of physical pain. Maybe my high pain tolerance misjudged the idea of it being stressful.
Bad Stress vs. Good Stress
Also, all stress is not bad. Good stress may elicit a feeling of nervousness or tension, but it also provides a feeling of being focused, energized, and invested. A fight-or-flight stress response is an excellent natural fundamental survival mechanism. Mental or physical stress can be invigorating because it keeps the body and brain alert as long as it is short-term or intermittent and doesn’t become long-standing.
Long-term stress can cause high-copper individuals to retain copper in the body because copper is an inflammatory agent. Plus, stress causes copper to rise, lowering zinc because the two are antagonists. Chronic inflammation can lead to oxidative stress, particularly for those with copper dysregulation. When left untreated, oxidative stress can damage cells, proteins, and DNA, contributing to several health conditions.
What Can I Do?
Early detection allows me to add a prescribed liver detox supplement temporarily. However, I cannot solely rely on prescribed medication. My lifestyle has to be adjusted to assist the healing process. So, I will be more conscious about consuming more protein, avoiding inflammatory foods, and not ignoring interrupted sleep because insufficient sleep can negatively affect immune cells and lead to inflammation.
I’ve let the busyness of life keep me from things that have kept me in balance in the past, like connecting inward through meditation, which has proven to be very mentally and physically healing. Focusing on the chakras and meridian points, also known as our bodies’ energy centers, has helped me understand what my body needs to function optimally. Breathing practices provide the necessary stability to focus on healing. I feel confident that positive focus and action will help the healing process and restore my balance.
Our bodies are amazing. They jump into action, using our resources to protect us and make corrections. But if we don’t recognize or let stress go too long, our resources can be depleted, resulting in other problems. Because excess copper is known to be a contributing factor to many physical health disorders, it’s imperative to stay vigilant and take necessary steps to heal existing pain so it doesn’t escalate to something else. Experience reminds me that things can spiral out of control very quickly.
So, I recommend staying alert to stress’s expression on the mind and body and keeping it manageable because rebalancing involves much more time and effort. Also, remember treatment methods should be targeted to you personally because we are all biochemically unique.