Meningitis Now Ambassadors Summer and Jacob

How I deal with stress

Jacob Gray 17th June 2016

Did you know its Men’s Health Week – the national campaign to get men to take better care of themselves? This year the theme is stress and how to fight it.

Jacob Men's Health Week - Fight For Now

I was never usually the type to get stressed out, I've always been naturally laid back and easy going. After suffering from meningitis I still am pretty laid back and easy going, but I have noticed there is considerably more stress in my life.

I don't know exactly how I do it personally, but I manage to keep stress at arms length, I know it's there, and I can deal with it, but I don't let it consume me and cause other more significant mental health issues. I think the three main causes of stress in my life now are the long term health problems I have to deal with, the uncertainty of the future, and sometimes feeling 'less of a man'.

Being an amputee doesn't cause me much stress at all, it's something I cannot change and I have no control over. It took me a little time, but eventually I made my peace with it and can focus on the positive side, such as the technology that allows me to walk. 

The bane of my life at the moment is standing up, the actual motion to stand, I just don't seem to grasp it and my muscles don't want to play fair when it comes to that movement. This probably causes me the most day to day stress, as I'm reliant on my arms to push me up off tables or other furniture. I know that with time and effort I will eventually be able to stand up with the power from my legs, I just need to focus my frustration into that goal, along with a lot of persistence.

Again, noticing there are these stresses is important, and I can deal with them day by day, I just to need to keep on top of them, so they don't grow greater than they need to be.

On the rare occasion it does get a little too overwhelming I just take myself out for a little bit. Luckily I live by the coast and not too far from rural countryside, so it's easy for me to go off grid for a couple of hours, find a calm place, take in the surroundings and then reflect on my problems.

Rather than getting consumed by the stresses of every day life I focus on how I can overcome those hurdles, then I revise previous goals, and set new ones. I know it might not work for everyone, but you need to find your outlet, and harness it.

A good social group and peer support is key for me I think, I imagine I would be much more stressed if I didn't have good friends goading me and pushing me forward the way that young guys do. Or a partner that is patient and understanding whom I can share the load with.

Just because yesterday was a bad day, doesn't mean today has to be bad as well? I try to take things as they come, as my physical health improves, so does my mental health. This is the most important correlation to me personally, and that's what drives me to be a better version of myself each day.

Just ask yourself, if it's an ongoing problem how do I go about resolving it in it's most simplest form? 

Finally, it's easy for someone to simply say 'stay positive', it’s another thing entirely trying to maintain a positive outlook when everything around you seems is helpless. Just remember, help is always there, and no one will judge you for needing it. No problem is too small, sometimes a little self preservation, and selfishness is needed.

Sometimes you might just need a good cry to get it all out, that's completely normal too.

For more information on how Meningitis Now can help anyone affected by meningitis, or it's after-effects, click here.