Episode 4

20. February 2021

Too much of a good thing

Stress is considered a bad thing. But…. can stress be good? Is there a positive type of stress?

I have recently listened to an interesting discussion. A psychologist said that stress and excitement manifest the same way. I don’t know what you think but I think there is a lot of truth in that statement. When I am stressed out I usually have shallow breathing, my heart beat is elevated and my voice trembles. I started watching myself and realized that really, stress and excitement are manifested in the same way. I am unable to control my emotions, I have shallow breathing, my heart beat is elevated and maybe my voice doesn’t tremble, but I tend to talk too fast and can’t wait for something to happen when I am too excited.

Now, don’t take what I am about to say as scientific evidence. It is just my way of explaining my recent blood tests. I saw my rheumatologist yesterday. I am used to having these consistent results. My autoantibodies are always super positive but the rest of the blood work is usually normal. This time though, complement C3 was lower than the normal values. I now feel like I have this exclamation mark hanging over my head saying to be careful. Why? Complements are an important part of our immune system because together with antibodies and white blood cells they fight off infections. Now, when their values are reduced, it may be a signal of the disease flaring up. Beware that this is not true for every person with lupus. Some might always have a low level of C3. But for me, after monitoring throughout the years, my complement levels are low only during disease activity. My rheumatologist constantly monitors two complements C3 and C4. C4 was normal although at the lower end of the spectrum.

Now, obviously, these results may not mean anything but they might if I don’t control myself better.

I started thinking what could be the cause of these strange results. I realized that for the past several months I have been doing things that I love, that excite me, that I am so happy to be doing. And I realized that this might be negatively affecting the disease activity. I have started publishing on Petronela’s Journey more frequently, I have started doing many different things – taking photos, writing articles, blog posts, shooting videos and interviews and recording podcasts. It is all creative work that I really enjoy. It is so much fun, I love it and I am always excited to be doing it. And when I see your comments…oh my, your feedback means the world to me.

In my everyday life, I am a translator. I really like it but it is a job that I cannot really control. I either have a lot of work or none at all, there is almost never anything in between. Again, more stress for me.

There is one more thing that I am working on right now that I haven’t shared with you yet. The time will come. Spoiler alert, I found my calling. I found out what I want to do in my life, what I want to be in my life. It is a very practical occupation and I have already been seeing clients as part of my case studies. When I see the results of my clients, when something positive happens to them or when they have a revelation about themselves, it just makes me so happy for them and I love seeing them improve their life.

What I am telling you right now doesn’t mean that I will stop doing all these things, it just means that I have to find balance. I will need to take resting and my wellbeing as my priority. I want to assure you that this in no way means that I will stop doing what I do. It just means that I need to learn to control my emotions better. I don’t know yet how but I love doing what I do so much that I will do anything in order to stick to it. But I also want lupus to be stabilized. So wish me luck. And please let me know what you are going through right now. Whether you can relate to my experience with positive stress and it having an impact on your disease activity. I love hearing from you.

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