When we asked readers to tweet about the moment they knew they needed to de-stress, the responses were alarming. Breaking points were marked by health crises, family problems and other types of suffering. We decided to go deeper into some of these stories in the hope that others can recognize signs of extreme stress and start to figure out their own paths to de-stressing.
My name is Asha, I am 29. I am about to turn 30 in July. I am Indian, born in the UK, raised in Australia and am living in Los Angeles. I just became an American citizen!
But life hasn't been easy. I have gone through some major upheavals that I am still working through, but am willing to share because I want other young women to know they aren't alone, and there is hope.
The moment I knew I was under a lot of stress and had to change something came more than once.
I knew I was stressed out when I got divorced at the age of 29, and had my life threatened by my husband.
I knew I was stressed out when I was threatened with immigration fraud and alimony, when all I ever wanted was for him to notice me.
I knew I was stressed out when he told me "I hope you get murdered" after I moved out of our old place to start my life over again.
I knew I was stressed out when I would wake up crying and didn't know when it would stop.
I knew I was stressed out when people would tell me I looked great, but in reality I was losing weight because of stress, not eating or sleeping properly.
I knew I was stressed out when I cried like a baby at the airport after visiting my family in London.
I knew I was stressed out when, despite working in the television industry as a host and producer for ten years and getting nominated for an award, I felt like I hadn't achieved anything great and my efforts were a waste.
I knew I was stressed out and needed to do something about it when jokes just weren't funny anymore, and I would dread waking up each day.
I knew I was stressed out when angry venomous words would spew out of my mouth and my throat was left raw from shouting and my whole body was shaking from the anger it couldn't contain.
I knew I was stressed out when I would get a lump in my throat thinking about my mom and dad. In my mind I was a complete utter failure and they were embarrassed to know me.
I knew I was stressed out and needed to change my way of thinking when I would feel bad that my brother and sister were worried about me. I thought I was a burden to them because of my divorce and I didn't want them to waste their precious energy or time thinking of me when they have better things to do in life.
I knew I was stressed out when the very foundations of my belief in God were shaken, and I thought that all his love, promises, and blessings applied to everyone except me now.
I knew I was stressed out when I couldn't identify what the feeling of stress was. It had never happened to me before; I thought I was one of the lucky ones that would just sail through life. When I realized that wasn't the case, I started to stress out even more.
I knew I was stressed out when I noticed my shoulders slumping more and more, my body not looking its best, my face looking withdrawn and hollow, and I couldn't remember how to feel joy or happiness.
I knew I wanted and needed to get rid of my stress once and for all, but recognized it may take a while. That's ok; I am learning. I learn by reading other people's stories and techniques to survive. I find my own ways of coping that give me strength daily. One of those is prayer and meditation.
What I know most of all about stress? I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I hope my words will help you the reader to be thankful for who you are, where you are and what you have.