American Culture and Stress

I recently went to my second appointment with the neurologist.

I wasn’t impressed.

I went in encouraged because I’ve had less migraines and less severe ones, but left with an uneasy feeling about how they wanted to continue my treatment.  Don’t get me wrong, they are doing what they are supposed to.  They are treating patients and prescribing medication.  And they are pretty thorough in the process.

It’s the prescribing medications that left me questioning.

Although I’ve dealt with migraines for over 10 years now, Spencer and I have been able to see a correlation between some of them and my job.  Some would argue with me, but my job is stressful.  And even though there are many wonderful people there and I know the Lord is using me in the students’ lives, I know it isn’t what I am passionate about or gifted at.  No matter what job I have, I work hard.  But sometimes I work too hard.  I can drive myself to exhaustion.  Then add stressful situations to that hard work ethic and it results in migraines, at least for me.

Not all of my migraines are because of stress.  It’s hereditary.  And other factors may be involved.  But I know some of them are connected with the stresses of my job.

All in all, I say this because when I explained that to the doctor, the result was her adding more medication in order to get the migraines down further.

The past few months have provided a wonderful relief from the awful migraines I had been having recently.  But I would absolutely love to eliminate them completely.  I don’t necessarily want to add more medications to my repertoire though.

When I see a correlation between stress and painful migraines, my thinking is to eliminate stress.

And there is the difference that I dwelt upon during the drive from the appointment in Nashville to Jackson.

There is no such thing as working yourself too hard in our culture.  In fact, overworking is commended.  If you are stressed, don’t fret.  It’s perfectly normal.

But is it?  Have we become so accustomed to stress that it is just another part of life?  I might be in the minority, but I believe stress can be a sin.  It is evidence that something is out of whack.  You are too busy; you are filled with anxiety or worry; you lack trust in God’s care, provision, promises.  Something is happening that shouldn’t.  Or possibly you are in a place you shouldn’t be.  It might be time to move on, say no to something, simply rest.

Instead of advising me to find a new job or slow down at work, the doctor wanted  to add on more medications.  I understand that in a sense.  It’s the business.  She wants to see results and that is the way she knows how to accomplish them.  But we have wrestled with whether or not that is the best thing.  In some cases, it might be.  But is it for me?

As my husband and I seek to live well and strive to take care of ourselves, we are constantly learning:  learning what is the best thing to do for my migraines and for us as a family.  We don’t want to live in stress and in the constant hustle of our culture.  We want to live with peaceful contentment and honest work, trust in the Lord and restful enjoyment.  May the Lord give us the strength and discipline to do just that.


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