I was happy when I woke up, only to become very sad very soon.  I heard that a colleague of my sister died suddenly yesterday of a ruptured aorta,  that a friend of my other sister was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and that a dog of an author friend had to be put down today because of deteriorating health issues. Such sad stories!

Feeling sad
Feeling sad

It made me realize, again, how lucky I am. I have a loving husband, two beautiful children who do very well at school, and two yappers of dogs. We all are happy and in good health (apart from some hayfever now and again, and a lump on one of the dogs).  I had a discussion with my mother about how stress and genes influences health, agreeing in the end that so much is to be said for living a stress-free life.

When I was diagnosed with an arterial growth underneath my brain in 2009, I decided that I didn’t want any stress anymore in my life. I quit my job and did the things I wanted to do. Of course, I was only able to do this because my husband could support our family. Since the oil crisis, his work has become more and more stressful, partly because he wants to keep his job to continue to support us and be able to pay the mortgage (the other part because he has to do the work that was done by multiple people before). But is it worth it? I do want to grow old with this man, in a big house or a little one. As long as we’re both healthy.

Growing old together
Growing old together

I’m not saying that only stress causes disease. What I do think is that stress lowers our immune system, letting our bodies get out of tune and opening the door for diseases. They say there is no link to a person’s happiness and the appearance of a disease. But how to you measure a state of mind? Would people know they are in a situation that isn’t good for them? So many people stay in jobs that are too stressful. So many people stay in relationships that are going nowhere. So many people find themselves in situations they say they can’t get out of. But can you really not get out? Is it never possible to choose for your self-preservation? Does society have such a hold on us that it takes us under, and we let it?

Where do you draw the line? When do you decide that enough is enough? Is it only when your body tells you it’s had enough? Or should we be more sensible and quit the stress before it’s too late?

Tell me, where do you draw the line?

Where do you draw the line?
Where do you draw the line?

Images by:

Header image from SCAN website, first and last photos by Asdrubal luna and Thought Catalog on Unsplash,  elderly couple from Depositphotos

Published by Jacky Dahlhaus

I am, since August 2015, a fiction writer!

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