Pedal Another Mile

Bicycling, death, life after death.

The Effects of Stress and Holding in Your Emotions

If you've been reading this blog since September, you know I basically kept my feelings in all these years and only just started opening up in August 2012 a little before the floodgates opened.

A few posts ago I wrote about how little stress I have now. That compared to Billy Jo's fight and especially the hell that was the last 2-3 weeks, everything in comparison is small stuff and I'm not sweating the small stuff anymore. It's been a strange feeling to not get worked up over things that would have been successful at it a short time ago.

Besides feeling I am a better person for both of these reasons, there are physical differences as well. Solid evidence that holding in my emotions all those years was causing even more stress than I was already under, working up pressure like a teapot with the release valve stuck shut.

At my heaviest, September 1st 2012, I weighed 230 pounds. This morning I weigh 180. 50 pounds in six months. Sure, the first 25-30 were all stress and not eating, but the remainder was because I have been back to exercising, eating right, and taking care of myself. I am back into 33-34 inch waist size on my pants as opposed to the 38s threatening to shoot the button across the room if I wasn't careful.

Sure, I've been at 180 before, even as recent as late 2010. Sure, I've been eating right and exercising before, as recent as mid-2011. What physical proof of the effects of stress is that?

Well, here's the difference... May 2011 was the last cholesterol test I had taken prior to Thursday. I was 180-185 pounds and already near 1,000 bike miles for the year. My cholesterol was the highest I've ever tested...267. LDL (bad) was way high, triglycerides were way high, HDL (good) was low. Just a train wreck. Still, he wasn't ready to put me on meds. 

Shortly thereafter I began my year-long spiral downwards. Gained 40 pounds in a year, sleep issues, eating like hell, sleeping a lot, not exercising, etc. I just basically gave up.

So even though I have been taking much better care of myself lately, I did not have high hopes for a good result. In the 6-7 years I have been doing cholesterol tests, I do not recall a overall number under 200.

The results were released to me yesterday. 196. HDL normal, TRI normal, LDL slightly high. The only thing different in my life is the lack of stress and the release of my emotions. 

Sure, it may not be scientific, but I don't know what else it could be.

In closing, if I haven't made it clear enough to you in the past, PLEASE! DO NOT do what I did and hold in your emotions no matter what they are. It could kill you. If you don't want to talk to anyone, at least write it down somewhere. Release it from your clogged up teapot before it explodes. This blog started back up as a way to let friends and family know of Billy Jo's condition and transformed into something I didn't expect. Something so much more. Emails from around the world thanking me for helping get someone through a ridiculously tough time in their life. As unexpected as it was, it is an awesome feeling. If you get nothing more out of my writings, just take away that one thing - don't hold it in.