I read an article that claimed men can suffer for up to an hour after a rush of cortisol (the stress hormone) while women can suffer for several days. But for some reason, the researcher made no comment on this statistic; applied it to none of her conclusions about male/female relationships.
July 28, 2009
So here's the deal–you aren't imagining things! When you have an argument or experience a stressful event, your husband really does roll over and go to sleep leaving you to hyperventilate all night, all by yourself. They are hardwired to do this.
I pointed this research out to my husband. That he can go to sleep any hour of any day he wants, because he has this incredible ability to overcome the cortisol "hangover" as it were, so quickly. He disagreed; "No," he said, "I think it's because I don't have arguments. I keep my mouth shut."
So true. He doesn't argue. With anyone. In his contracting days, when customers didn't pay him, he walked away. I'd stay awake all night composing threatening letters in my head. He doesn't attend social functions and never answers the telephone. When intruders breach the threshold of his castle, he retreats into the farthest recesses. It's a peaceful existence. And as for those of us he can't avoid altogether–well, he's right. He keeps his mouth shut.
Which brings us to the next topic of the article–a man's tendency to clam up when we want to talk. That's hardwired, also. Talking about problems makes them worse for him. (Granted, if we believed we could solve any problem in less than an hour by just avoiding it altogether, maybe we would too!)
Here's my question–if the hormonal/chemical effects of a stressful event last days in women, when are we ever not suffering from elevated levels of cortisol? Really–do you ever go days at a time without a stressful event?
How do we survive?
Although, when I went to the dentist a few weeks ago my blood pressure was 70/42. The hygienist joked that no wonder I could do daycare, with blood pressure that low–who knows, if cortisol raises blood pressure, maybe I need more than my misanthropic counterpart, just to stay conscious. Maybe a stress-free life would kill me.
So here's to the tattletales, the whiners, the climbers, the dumpers, all the checkers at Safeway and the employees of the US government–bring it on! A girl's got to survive.