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Old 05-19-2017, 03:06 PM   #1
LonerMatt
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Stress

Ebassist brain's trust,

How do you, personally, deal with stress? Details are spoilered below, but I'm really interested how you de-stress - especially as it relates to work. Are you able to do things that make a stressful job possible, or does it eventually grind you down?

Some of you might remember that I've mentioned that my work is stressing me out a lot. It took me a while to realise this, and I've hoped that as I get better at the work (which is happening) then my stress levels would decrease (which isn't happening).

This week, after a trip to the dentist, I've realised that the level of stress I'm experiencing is starting to affect my health. I'm grinding my teeth and am constantly sore, I've not been sleeping well, this morning I woke up imagining a student confronting me violently, some days I struggle to be polite or social after work (even with my girlfriend). Writing it down makes me feel a bit ashamed, like maybe I'm building a mountain out of a molehill, but I feel stressed, a lot, often, and it's bad for me.

I exercise a lot, and that does make a difference, yet it's not enough.

Ideally I'd like to keep the job but find a way to feel as little stress as I can, but (this morning at least) I don't know if that's possible, maybe the work itself is just inherently too stressful for me.
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Old 05-19-2017, 03:12 PM   #2
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LonerMatt said... View Post
Ebassist brain's trust,

How do you, personally, deal with stress? Details are spoilered below, but I'm really interested how you de-stress - especially as it relates to work. Are you able to do things that make a stressful job possible, or does it eventually grind you down?

 
Some of you might remember that I've mentioned that my work is stressing me out a lot. It took me a while to realise this, and I've hoped that as I get better at the work (which is happening) then my stress levels would decrease (which isn't happening).

This week, after a trip to the dentist, I've realised that the level of stress I'm experiencing is starting to affect my health. I'm grinding my teeth and am constantly sore, I've not been sleeping well, this morning I woke up imagining a student confronting me violently, some days I struggle to be polite or social after work (even with my girlfriend). Writing it down makes me feel a bit ashamed, like maybe I'm building a mountain out of a molehill, but I feel stressed, a lot, often, and it's bad for me.

I exercise a lot, and that does make a difference, yet it's not enough.

Ideally I'd like to keep the job but find a way to feel as little stress as I can, but (this morning at least) I don't know if that's possible, maybe the work itself is just inherently too stressful for me.
I try and keep things as low stress as possible. I sleep like a baby. I will power nap in the afternoon if I get a chance. And I don't hold onto things. I don't dwell.

But I'd also be lying if I said that long hours and high pressure didn't take a toll on my health. As recently evidenced.

I didn't think it did, but it did.

I'm glad you are realizing this now instead of later.

There are a ton of stress management tools out there. I personally use a heavy bag and the gym to vent my stress. It's at least a healthy way to do it.

That and obviously music. If it wasn't for music I would probably be a serial killer by now.

Find what works for you. that may be one of these or it may be something else. It may be therapy, Tai Chi, Yoga, walking, another hobby.....whatever it is you need to find what brings you balance. It ain't easy.And it's different for every individual.

find what puts you in your happy place and let's you purge the stress/anger/frustration.
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Old 05-19-2017, 03:16 PM   #3
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I leave precisely at 5PM every day and go to the gym at 5:30 3-4 days a week. I may or may not work later that night, but I make it a point to bail at 5 every day. I also drink a fair amount of beer, escape to the mountains every other weekend or so, play music once or twice a week, and partake of edibles once in a while.
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Old 05-19-2017, 03:21 PM   #4
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BTW, I can't open the "What's going on" button.
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Old 05-19-2017, 03:23 PM   #5
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BTW, I can't open the "What's going on" button.
Me wither. I read it when I quoted him.
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Old 05-19-2017, 03:29 PM   #6
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Thanks - I'll just de-spoiler it for now
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Old 05-19-2017, 03:34 PM   #7
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Ultimately, the best way to deal with stress, is to not have to deal with it. Sure, you little day to day stresses everyone has, which you just deal with, but in my limited experience, if something is causing you a lot of stress you either deal with it or mentally ignore it.

For example, when I was going for my PhD. My situation with my advisor was really bad, and it caused me a LOT of stress. It crept up on me too, as I slowly realized my advisor wasn't who I thought he was. I put so much stress on myself that I was always a wreck. I realized my situation, made a clear decision and then followed through with it. You have to make decisions and decide what to struggle over (and stress about) and what isn't worth it. This doesn't mean you just reject anything that's stressful, but you make a conscious choice that it isn't worth stressing over. I locked myself out of my car once, rather than get stressed about it, I thought "does this make sense to stress about?" and then I didn't stress about it. For those larger situations that the above method doesn't work (like in my advisor), you have to change things so that you aren't under so much stress. I dunno. *shrugs*

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Old 05-19-2017, 04:00 PM   #8
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Ultimately, the best way to deal with stress, is to not have to deal with it. Sure, you little day to day stresses everyone has, which you just deal with, but in my limited experience, if something is causing you a lot of stress you either deal with it or mentally ignore it.

For example, when I was going for my PhD. My situation with my advisor was really bad, and it caused me a LOT of stress. It crept up on me too, as I slowly realized my advisor wasn't who I thought he was. I put so much stress on myself that I was always a wreck. I realized my situation, made a clear decision and then followed through with it. You have to make decisions and decide what to struggle over (and stress about) and what isn't worth it. This doesn't mean you just reject anything that's stressful, but you make a conscious choice that it isn't worth stressing over. I locked myself out of my car once, rather than get stressed about it, I thought "does this make sense to stress about?" and then I didn't stress about it. For those larger situations that the above method doesn't work (like in my advisor), you have to change things so that you aren't under so much stress. I dunno. *shrugs*

/rant
Yeah you do, this is good advice. Thanks
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Old 05-19-2017, 04:21 PM   #9
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I drink, or do yoga. Playing music and painting helps a lot.
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Old 05-19-2017, 05:13 PM   #10
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I see a psychologist twice a month and talk with him about stressors and come up with ways to deal with myself better.

It's been a life changer for me.
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Old 05-19-2017, 05:20 PM   #11
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not as simple as it sounds, but only worry about things you can change. Do not put stock in what other people think about you.

Stay off social media
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Old 05-19-2017, 05:38 PM   #12
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I see a psychologist twice a month and talk with him about stressors and come up with ways to deal with myself better.

It's been a life changer for me.
I go weekly since 2006. Twice weekly for the first 1.5 years.
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Old 05-19-2017, 05:39 PM   #13
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I find that focusing on areas of interest to me help stress. I've also found that lifting heavy things has been a tremendous stress reducer. Even things like taking a walk can help tremendously. A small bit of "me" time can clear my brain a bit. A lot of times the stress we create is greater than what it should be. A moment to pause and reflect can really help.

When in the thick of stressful situations, I have a tendency to try to remain slightly removed even if only for a brief time so I can remain objective and not get overly stressed. It's helped when needing to deal with the kids being a handful. Now I'm not going to be this way in every stressful situation and some thing are just going to create stress. That's why I try to have other activities I can look toward for additional help in reducing stress when I don't feel as it I can do it purely mentally.
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Old 05-19-2017, 06:37 PM   #14
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I see a psychologist twice a month and talk with him about stressors and come up with ways to deal with myself better.

It's been a life changer for me.
I'm every other week as well. When I was going through a lot of intense shit, I upped to weekly.

LM, In terms of day to day, there are a lot of little things that can help. Mindfulness practices, cognitive-behavioral stuff. Even something like meditating for 2 minutes in the morning and evening can have measurable effects. Are there any things you already do?

Oldi also makes a good point - there are a lot of stresses that we have to face, but there are those we just sort of assume/take on ourselves when it's not necessary. Examining the "yes, this is part of the deal if I do this job" vs. the "I'm choosing to make this my responsibility when it's not" issues can be very helpful. Particularly look for anything when you're feeling responsible but you don't actually have authority/control - there are few things more stressful than feeling impotent.
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Old 05-19-2017, 10:01 PM   #15
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First, it sounds like you're feeling some shame around your emotions. It's okay to feel stress - it would be abnormal if you didn't. It's healthy to recognize it and acknowledge its existence without brushing it away. You can examine the feelings without letting them control you. You don't have to feel shame about something that is normal.

Second, as others have mentioned, building a support network that helps you learn to process and manage your own emotions is crucial. I see a psychologist twice a month and a psychiatrist every three months.
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Old 05-19-2017, 10:58 PM   #16
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I find that focusing on areas of interest to me help stress. I've also found that lifting heavy things has been a tremendous stress reducer. Even things like taking a walk can help tremendously. A small bit of "me" time can clear my brain a bit. A lot of times the stress we create is greater than what it should be. A moment to pause and reflect can really help.

When in the thick of stressful situations, I have a tendency to try to remain slightly removed even if only for a brief time so I can remain objective and not get overly stressed. It's helped when needing to deal with the kids being a handful. Now I'm not going to be this way in every stressful situation and some thing are just going to create stress. That's why I try to have other activities I can look toward for additional help in reducing stress when I don't feel as it I can do it purely mentally.
I'm going to respond to a few things here that are helping me clarify what I'm talking about.

1. I do get 'me' time - I went for a walk this morning and it was lovely. An hour or two later, though, I was as moody and frustrated and aggressive as I was before. That's one problem I've not identified until today - the steps I'm taking, that have worked before, aren't giving me enough de-stress.

I think this is the case because my sleep is suffering so that exhaustion leading to frustration that happens feels almost constant (it probably isn't, but it's just an intense feeling!).

2. I don't feel stress because of things outside my control (at least I don't think I do). I'm stressed because I'm working with broken, abusive teenagers and I (and the other staff at the school) are trying to help heal them a little bit. This involves a lot of noise, language that's awful (swearing, threats, aggression), very little in the way of joy or rewards (I told a friend last week that in every job I've had until this one there's been about 50% of my classes that I'd almost bounce into because the interaction with the students alone was wonderful) and it's repetitive, tiring, difficult and emotionally challenging.

Thanks for helping me clarify what I'm feeling.

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LM, In terms of day to day, there are a lot of little things that can help. Mindfulness practices, cognitive-behavioral stuff. Even something like meditating for 2 minutes in the morning and evening can have measurable effects. Are there any things you already do?

Oldi also makes a good point - there are a lot of stresses that we have to face, but there are those we just sort of assume/take on ourselves when it's not necessary. Examining the "yes, this is part of the deal if I do this job" vs. the "I'm choosing to make this my responsibility when it's not" issues can be very helpful. Particularly look for anything when you're feeling responsible but you don't actually have authority/control - there are few things more stressful than feeling impotent.
Again, mainly using what you've written to clarify a few things for myself:

1. The things I already do are unintentional - I ride my bike to and from work which is a great mood lifter and is maybe where I'm my most excited each part of the day. Not because I love riding, but just (I guess) because of that exercise high. In the moment I have no strategies (conscious strategies), I take deep breaths, but nothing more than that. This is something I'd like to explore.

2. Initially I was going to say 'I don't feel impotent, there's nothing causing that', but I'm going to keep thinking about it. I'm still leaning towards that not being the cause of my stresses at the moment, but I could be wrong.

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First, it sounds like you're feeling some shame around your emotions. It's okay to feel stress - it would be abnormal if you didn't. It's healthy to recognize it and acknowledge its existence without brushing it away. You can examine the feelings without letting them control you. You don't have to feel shame about something that is normal.
The rational mind and the emotive mind are different. I know there's no point feeling embarrassed or ashamed, but I do - mainly because I feel like the weakest link.

Quote:
Second, as others have mentioned, building a support network that helps you learn to process and manage your own emotions is crucial. I see a psychologist twice a month and a psychiatrist every three months.
I think I have this. I think what is going on for me right now is work specific. I'm at a point now where I've either got to choose finding new and more intensive ways to de-stress, or quit the job.

To give you all some more embarrassing/red light information:
- Today is a lovely Saturday, it was raining yesterday but it's blue skies
- I took some time to myself in the morning and was feeling good
- I talked to my GF about this issue, she's of the opinion that I should definitely be seeing a pysch (I agree) and that I should probably leave the job (which I'm leaning towards)
- We went to the market, had lunch and I was just so dog tired and exhausted and moody (which to me is the stress factor coming into my daily life) and I wasn't really the best conversationalist
- When we got home I was opening the door that leads from the outside to the corridor our apartment is in, the door has been jamming and I could not get it open. Out of frustration I kicked it and broke the glass in the door. I just wanted ONE thing to go right and not seem like a battle.

It's very clear to me that I'm having a lot of problems. I will seek professional help and (most likely) leave my job within 6 weeks unless I get a very quick change in stress, energy levels and mood. I just cannot see continuing, even with incremental change, as healthy for me or those in my life.
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:23 PM   #17
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It's also okay to feel shame, anger, embarrassment, or any other emotion. Recognize and process it.
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Old 05-20-2017, 02:37 AM   #18
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Sorry, Matt
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Old 05-20-2017, 02:40 AM   #19
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LM: because you are in a specialized ed setting, are you seeing incremental improvements in your students' performance or behavior - improvements that are probably much smaller and not close to the welcoming environment you used to be in? Have any of those students thanked you for anything? That may help to focus and realize you are making benefits - because then you can realize that a lot of students are also benefiting from your intervention, but may never be open enough to tell you that.

What about peer and management faculty support of you at the school? Good, bad, not happening?

My usual approach to de-stressing, some of which many have mentioned:

1. Be sure to exercise. I lift or run. That is the only way I can think of for your body to burn away cortisol. And helps the next thing immensely:

2. Sleep well, regularly, with enough hours. This is the single most important thing you can do for your mental health. Erratic/insufficient sleep can get people in trouble real fast. Protect good sleep: avoid alcohol or foods that wake you up or digest hard at night, etc, get to bed on time, don't use gadgets an hour before bedtime unless you have a filter to cut down blue light on them, etc..

3. Eat healthy food. Not junk food.

4. Hang out with friends. (And give your gf a break...so that she isn't your only outlet for emotional offloading).

5. Do stuff you love to do (shoot photos, play music, learn something). Treat yourself.

6. In my bad periods, even if I don't want to or can't see anything positive, I force myself to go visit the "what's going right" thread. Whether it's there (and I can learn or be inspired from thread posters), or in a journal, I set a goal that I have to identify three specific things that went right that particular day - that I am grateful for.

Can't be the same three things every day ("I have my health, a roof, etc."). Everyday something good happened to you, even if it was "that was an awesome cherry tomato in my salad" or "I really liked how the sunlight filtered through the trees in the park." That gets your mind looking beyond the negative. Doing it daily makes it a habit.

Corollary: when I was going through hell with my crazy ambassador 3 years ago, my solution was "well, I'm going to make an effort to be kind to, and do nice things for, everyone around me, especially my subordinates." Made me feel a lot better knowing I made other people's day better even when I could do nothing about the shit raining down on me daily.

7. I've taken up meditation. It's hugely helpful. Clears out the brain, gets me feeling peaceful, and my focus might be improving. I use the ap Headspace. (After the introductory bits (10? 30? sessions) it becomes a subscription thing; for me, I decided it was worth it but YMMV).

8. I have used therapy when I knew I wasn't functioning well on my own. During my parents' divorce, and during my 12-15 hour workdays when my ex-wife's health collapsed. I had mixed results, leading to my question below. But I would consider doing it again depending on the method orientation of the therapist, to fix a couple things that bug me.


People using a therapist: what is your therapist's background / preferred method? Psychotherapy of classic Freudian training? Cognitive therapy? Other (specify)?

Just trying to get a sense of what you like about it.
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Old 05-20-2017, 03:04 AM   #20
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Thanks for the advice, especially around meditation and not just using my GF. I went to a teacher's event today (knew everyone) which was a great relief, and got offered a job if I leave this one, which was also really nice too.

I definitely see a lot of improvement, and that's one of the odd things - I know I am doing a good job, but to do that job I basically have to wreck myself (so it feels).
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Old 05-20-2017, 06:13 AM   #21
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I see a psychologist twice a month and talk with him about stressors and come up with ways to deal with myself better.

It's been a life changer for me.
This. This right here.

I see a psychiatrist once a month for an hour each session and have for years. Turns out my brain likes a little more serotonin than most and we cranked up the Zoloft a little bit when I stopped using cannabis (temporary, I'm in the job market).

I have a bit of a chemical imbalance in addition to being raised under less-than-optimal conditions. I prefer talk therapy and she's happy to provide that but I do function better with a bit of Zoloft in my system.

One thing's certain - my methods of addressing the issue didn't work. I needed help, not only medically but emotionally. We've pretty much addressed the medical issues, so what's left is learning new skills. My doc is pretty sharp and she challenges me every time I see her. Life keeps getting better

If your way doesn't work do something different
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Old 05-20-2017, 11:15 AM   #22
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I was born w/o a stress gene and have also lead an almost idyllic life. Sometimes I worry about not being stressed enough.
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Old 05-20-2017, 11:18 AM   #23
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Going to the movies....hanging out with friends.....moving to a much more easy going part of the country, playing music (probably the biggest one) and of course this site.

I used to get really stressed about my jobs...working 50 to 60 hours a week and I was miserable. I became an 8 and skate guy and worked on living much more lean. And that's helped out a ton
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Old 05-20-2017, 01:35 PM   #24
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eat healthy

find a sport, activity that you love (surfing is mine and it saved me!) and do it regularly

get enough sleep

have one great friend you trust with your life (mine is my wife) and talk things out with them.

meditate. I do 20 minutes each day during lunch (sometimes it becomes a nap)

let go of things you have no control over

and .....try to live the Golden Rule.
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Old 05-22-2017, 03:05 PM   #25
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All the above. Seriously.
Things like music and other arts help, but it's only very temporary relief. They can, however, allow you to channel issues in a positive direction. Exercises such as letting go of what you cannot control, is definitely the long road approach. In the short term, yoga and working out have helped a lot.
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Old 05-22-2017, 08:20 PM   #26
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I bask in it, brood heavily, and likely shorten my life span. I'm less willing to dampen my internal monologue than make healthy decisions that might avoid dying young, apparently.

More realistically, I give myself a strong dose of relativism and remind myself that by any meaningful perspective I have essentially no problems. Helps with myopia.
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Old 05-22-2017, 09:28 PM   #27
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The main issue for me - I think - is sleep. Yesterday was not an easy day, but I'd (somehow) had an excellent night's sleep so I was all good.

However, I keep waking up at 4.30-5am, getting 1-1.5 hours too little sleep. If I try going to bed earlier it doesn't help. I'm not in a rush, it's not light, nor is it noisy, so there's nothing external (that I can tell) waking me up. It's a bit bizarre.

I've got some counselling booked in, and I've got the boss supporting me - so sleep is the final frontier.

It's also the most complicated thing to fix, I think.
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Old 05-22-2017, 09:35 PM   #28
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I used to have huge problems sleeping until I go a white noise maker. Made all the difference in the world.
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Old 05-22-2017, 10:11 PM   #29
LonerMatt
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I have one - and it certainly helps getting to sleep, but doesn't seem to keep me asleep at that crucial 4.30-5am juncture.
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Old 05-23-2017, 04:45 AM   #30
allan
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Quote:
LonerMatt said... View Post
...It's also the most complicated thing to fix, I think.
Seeing someone who can prescribe sleepy meds at least until you get a handle on things seems prudent. Not getting enough sleep will certainly hinder your recovery.
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