PTSD and Stress and Cortisol, Oh My!

I’ve been dealing with a lot of stress lately. Not life-or-death stress or flashbacks, thank God, but relocating-across-the-country stress.

Fundamentally, everything is going well. The third bid by a mover came in nearly 25% less than the other two, and all three had equal qualifications so that made for an easy choice. (Just FYI, if you ever get bids from movers, know that they will meet the lowest bidder’s bid to get your business.)

Anyhoo, a few days ago, I tried to apply a United Airlines credit towards our August flight to Phoenix. I won’t go into all the tedious details, but suffice it to say I was on the phone with Customer Care an hour and a half, was disconnected twice, given incorrect or contradictory information multiple times, and at the end, somehow came away without any tickets. It was like The Twilight Zone.

Later that night, I went into my American Express account and saw United had charged me $200 four times and $1 four times. And I had no tickets!! When I called Customer Care again, they couldn’t find me in the system and denied this ever happened.

Talk about denial of reality! I was looking at the charges online.

Oh. My. God.

You’d think a tiger bounded into my room the way I instantly flooded with stress hormones. My heart pounded like crazy. I was covered in sweat inside a minute.

I immediately called American Express, told them the charges were not legitimate, and requested a new card. I don’t know what the heck was wrong with the personnel I spoke with at United, but I sure wasn’t going to take any chances in case a scammer was in their midst.

Man, did I wake up feeling awful the next day.

Cortisol is one of the stress hormones which flood in a fight-or-flight response. Too much cortisol leaves a person feeling hung-over–wired and tired. It makes a person’s system acidic, too, which means less oxygen coursing through the body.

Over the years, I’ve discovered a couple quick remedies to help get rid of inflammation.

One is baking soda and water. I drink a quarter-teaspoon with water 3X a day.

I also make a high-alkaline drink made of the juice of one lemon (lemons are acidic until they hit your metabolism, where they are rendered alkaline), three tablespoons apple cider vinegar (only apple cider vinegar, this, too, metabolizes as alkaline), two teaspoons of maple syrup and 8 oz. water. Mix well and down the hatch!! Not only will this make you feel good quickly, your skin will turn luminous and your hair shiny.

I’ve seen tears referred to as “acid dumps” because of the amount of cortisol they contain. That’s another good reason to cry.

Meditation, Trauma Releasing Exercises and work-outs are great for relieving my stress, but I like to do nutritional things, too. When my body feels good, my mind follows.

I ended up charging my United tickets online with my Visa (without applying the credit.) I sure wasn’t going to call Customer Care back a fourth time (I supposedly spoke with a supervisor the last time, but he was so impolite and plain wrong about their credit policy, I don’t believe it was the supervisor). I wrote the head of Customer Care telling him what happened. I hope he writes back and provides some kind of solution so I don’t lose that $400-plus credit come September. (You can only use a United Airlines credit within a year of purchase.) I haven’t heard anything back yet.

It would be great if I wouldn’t unpredictably freak out over stuff, but I haven’t perfected my Serenity Now! ability. (Remember that on Seinfeld?)

In the meantime, I’ll continue with my daily deep-breathing sessions, TRE, meditation and anti-inflammatory drinks.


PTSD Frozen in Time


14 thoughts on “PTSD and Stress and Cortisol, Oh My!

  1. Wow, that is stressful whether or not you are dealing with the effects of trauma. Yikes! My acupuncturist works on my cortisol dumping issues and adrenal fatigue every week. I can only imagine how stressful getting all the pieces together to move cross-country would be. Remember to Breathe! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d love to find a good acupuncturist and/or a Reiki healer. I definitely have to step up on being mindful of where I’m at these days. My stress cup ranneth over!! : )

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I so appreciate your knowledge about this, though am sorry for the reasons. No wonder I cry when stressed. You remind me that though I gardened all morning and am tired and was now going to pile my bike into the truck for a long ride along the canal… I feel tired. And should respect that. Thank you.
    Since you are so diligent, I feel confident you will receive your credit. If they had some good business sense, they’d throw in some extra credits for all your trouble. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so with you. I said to Jack that though he and I will feel like we’re doing great, doing so much, making big decisions, handling all these logistics–he with his heart recovery, me with my usual PTSD stuff–we need to daily look on paper, so to speak, at the stress-level we might be at, though we can’t feel it yet…and then take mindful action.

    I get SO stressed on the phone trying to understand what people are saying, esp. if they’re not from the U.S., because of my severe hearing loss. My stress cup starts filling up and up and up and my thinking brain goes darker. I should have gotten off the phone earlier and come up with another solution. Ah well, live and learn.

    I hope you can take a nap, eat something good and maybe then bike if you feel like it. I know just from your photos how you love the outdoors!! It’s sustenance, not to mention there will be butterflies looking for you. : )

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Once invested into the phone people, no wonder you kept up hoping for resolution.

    I really was too tired to bike. My body got quite a work-out digging in the dirt under the full sun and three hours blew past happily. So instead, I used what energy I had left to buy some more flowers (just one more six pack!) and a bag of cocoa chips to spread around the flowers. Cocoa shells are such a splendid way to enjoy chocolate without eating it! The aroma is heavenly… : )

    I get upset easily, or should say, my body reacts to stimulus easily and quickly shooting its adrenaline off the charts. No amount of time, all the years of meditation, has NOT cured that. It is so scary to wonder if someone is stealing off ones credit card. You were so smart to call right away to cancel it. That would have affected me so negatively.
    Hope your body has been able to get back to normal.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh gosh, I love when you write about working in your garden. It gives me serenity. How lovely your time passed.

    Adrenalin. Ugh. When I get triggered, it’s like a lit match to gasoline.

    The cortisol also aggravates tummy issues so today has been about fixing that. I finally feel good, but so so tired. I’m going to crash early. Tomorrow is another day.

    I hope you sleep well with all that fresh air. Your garden must welcome you with open arms.

    : )

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It is tiring. The emotional wear on ones body coupled with the chemicals released as if ones life is threatened, which we cannot control but is due to past trauma’s, puts stress on the body twofold. Or one hundred times normal. I imagine you were tired.
    I have limited energy. After years of cortisol bursts because being out among people felt dangerous, my body is tired out permanently…depleted. Respecting its needs, and being aware of them are a priority and also new to me. I went about life removed from my body, not connected, not lovingly providing care, but I am working at changing that.
    It’s OK not to go, go, go. I allow plenty of rest and down time even as my mind is clamoring to do more. Just being is OK. We are a go, go society. I pretend I live in Europe where they draw the shades in the afternoon and have a siesta. When my energy comes back, I get up and putter around some more. It ebbs and flows.
    Yes, I slept well! Thank you! I hadn’t gotten to my bag of cocoa shells and just couldn’t go to sleep without going out on the patio in my cotton nightie at 9 O’clock at night and pouring some in all the potted baskets. Then out to the front porch to do the same but on the second trip turned off the porch light because I felt a bit exposed. Can’t imagine the thrill it gave the neighbors… : )

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yes, our bodies are depleted. I feel like my body’s been through years of internal violence, long after the original trauma period ended, due to the unpredictable flood of stress hormones–not to mention the flashbacks and night terrors of my 30’s, 40’s and so on.

    Like you said, we can just be now. We don’t have to go, go, go anymore. I try to take a siesta every day, or least lie down and rest deeply, do meditation, breathing, whatever.

    I love how you went out with the cocoa shells!! As for the neighbors, hopefully they don’t have their binoculars trained on your porch each night, waiting, hoping against hope for glimpse. Hee, hee.

    We found a good home for our plants. (Movers won’t take them.) Every couple weeks, we will drop a couple off. Basie and Ivy (basil and ivy plants) went today. I cried! This, after a lifetime of feeling nothing. Oy. Exhausting, but I’m glad I have my heart back. : )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally understand you missing your plant. According to the shamans I’ve read, your plant knows you miss it and no doubt misses you, too.

      Here is a really cool book on plant spirits:

      Plant Spirit Healing

      I hope that link came out okay. If not, the book is called Plant Spirit Healing: A Guide to Working With Plant Spirit Consciousness by Pam Montgomery. It’s on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Really fascinating.

      Off to bed. Fingers crossed for a deep sleep for us both.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks!
        I hope you did sleep well?
        I made the silly mistake of coming out into the kitchen at 9pm at night to make tahini then hummus. Made a big mess, and especially made a mess of the slow down to sleep cycle. Instead of slowing down, I revved up and know better not to do that. By 3:30am I dragged my blanket out to the porch on the cot where the cool night air, frog noises, and all other night noises finally put me to sleep till 9am.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh how lovely, sleeping in the night air with the sounds of frogs and the smells of nature!

        I totally empathize with the revving up, though. (Hummus? Mm, mm, good!) I got revved up late myself re: finalizing plans with an old friend who will meet me in Tucson for apt. search in a week and a half, figuring out what renting a car would cost me given I have no car insurance (a lot!), etc., etc. I really shouldn’t look at the internet or emails after 10 p.m.

        Sorry I couldn’t hit a Reply button after the message of yours I refer to here, so my responses are out of order. I’m also trying to quit smoking today so I’m like…ARGHHHHH!!!!!!


  8. I read a fabulous book on plant spirits. I will send you the link later. (Don’t feel any obligation to read it. I won’t be checking or anything. It was fascinating. I read The Secret Life of Plants last year and was blown away to discover the hundreds of tests done in the 70’s proving they are conscious, they bond with you when you care for them, and they know what’s going on!)

    Liked by 1 person

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