Feeling stressed wasn’t the way I wanted to start off the New Year, especially when one of my resolutions was to relax more!
I’m on a forum which discusses Miniature Schnauzers. It’s a great forum on the whole, and I don’t know what I would have done without the help and information I gained on there when I first adopted my little rescue dog Bertie. But, like the majority of online groups, there are always those people who think they can be rude, confrontational, sarcastic or downright obnoxious, just because they’re online and “invisible”. They wouldn’t walk up to someone in the street and get in their face for no good reason, but online it seems that some people think they can act without care or manners and it’s OK. Well, it’s not OK. Words are powerful and, good or bad, they cause a reaction in the person being spoken to.
Someone on the forum decided, quite unnecessarily, to be a bit of an arsy cow. I tried, politely at first, to explain she’d gotten the wrong end of the stick but she was obviously on one and not interested in listening. I argued with her for a few posts then decided she wasn’t worth my time or energy. However, by that time I was a little bit upset and quite stressed. I was also really itchy.
I lifted my sweatshirt to find my entire torso, front and back, plus the tops of my legs were covered in hives. My neck and face were also flushed beetroot red (click on image to enlarge).
I’ve had emotional urticaria (for want of a more technical term) all my life – it’s just the norm for me. The hives lasted about an hour before fading, the flushing a little longer, but I felt really tired all day and still felt stressed and unable to relax 12 hours later. I didn’t sleep well.
I don’t take anything for these episodes as, unlike my regular hives, they don’t last long. The reaction per se doesn’t bother me, apart from being really embarrassing, but such a strong physical reaction makes me feel a bit weak and like I can’t cope with the normal every day situations that other people seem to take in their stride. Which isn’t true at all, it’s just that my stress is visible where other people’s isn’t.
Mast cell researchers propose that one of the ways stress affects histamine production is through corticotropin-releasing hormone (or CRH). CRH is a hormone released by nerves in the ‘flight or fight’ reaction when the body is under stress. Mast cells live close to these nerves and the CRH release induces mast cell mediator release, flooding the body with histamine (amongst other chemicals).
Needless to say I’ve now left the Schnauzer forum, which is a shame. However, I refuse to place myself in any space which negatively impacts my emotional or physical wellbeing. I’ve left other forums in the past, such as UK Mastocytosis Support, for the same reasons. I was always brought up to believe if you had nothing nice to say, you say nothing. If you do need to confront someone you can do it firmly but politely. There are always those people, though, who want to argue to the enth degree just for the sake of it, and it’s these people I metaphorically want to punch in the face 😉 .
Back on the hive theme, I’ve had a fresh outbreak of my regular butt hives over the holidays. I’ve eaten a few things I shouldn’t, granted, but I don’t think they’re responsible. I seem to have butt hives almost permanently these days for no reason I can particularly put my finger on. I’m using the Sudocrem on them and they do fade much quicker than they ever did with steroid or anti-histamine cream though, which is a mystery but one for which I’m grateful 🙂