A couple of days ago, I finally worked up the nerve to google something that had been niggling at me since July.
"Eyes, rainbow, bright, jagged, temporary," I typed into the search engine, praying that the words--which reflected two separate episodes lasting a combined total of 30 minutes--wouldn't elicit results with the words "brain tumor" or "eye cancer" in them.
Because i didn't understand this bizarre physiological experience, I went straight to catastrophizing, thinking it had to be a sign of an imminent health disaster.
Which is why I ignored it.
I've always been on the mindset that, if I've got a terminal illness, I'm better off not knowing about it. The stress would surely kill me before the disease did.
The light, which was as bright as if I were staring into the sun, took the shape of a lightning bolt, but with a psychedelic rainbow all around it. It didn't hurt, and didn't go away when I closed my eyes, which was somehow worrisome and comforting at the same time.
"Ocular migraine," came the search-engine results. Yay--I'm not dying! Turns out that the condition is somewhat rare, and the usual cause is stress.
I should have guessed.
Over the years, my body has reacted to stress in some very showy ways, including hair loss (leaving huge bald patches that lasted as long as the acute stress was present), weight loss, and insomnia (I didn't sleep at all my first semester in journalism school). Connecting the dots back in time, I realized that yes, July was a very stressful month that included a big move and many sad goodbyes to friends and other loved ones.
I like to think that I'm getting better at managing stress, and I credit the many tiny tweaks I'm incorporating into my life to build healthy habits as a way to better deal with life's curveballs: Daily yoga, meditation (something I NEVER thought my non-stop-chattering brain could ever manage to do), and positive affirmations, for starters.
What do you do to manage your stress? Have you experienced any physical changes in response to stress? What were they, and how did you overcome them? I would love to hear from you!
I'm Aurelia, creative director here at Swell! This is my space for sharing thoughts and ideas with readers on more topics dear to my heart: Travel, wellness, veganism, and style, and living creatively and compassionately.
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