I recently read a quote that stated, "Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness." And unfortunately, this has certainly hit the nail on the head...and definitely hitting my thumb along the way.
Don't tell me not to worry, it's physically impossible. It's just a plain fact: some people worry more than others. But for me, it gets to the point it affects my overall health. Stress is a true downer, and it eats you up internally, and externally. I'm pretty sure mine looks like this:
Yup! That's right all you 80's babies, this is the Purple People Eater. Don't be fooled by the colorful, doe-eyed look going on there! It's a mean, lean, eatin' machine! That is, when it is classified as my "stress". I'm pretty sure I turn purple from worrying too much.
Anyway, it is a true disease for me. I suffer from it every single day. And you may say, "Well, every one does." But I will let you in on the sad truth, it's the worrying that stresses me out the most.
Recently, I had a situation. I was caught off guard and did not know what to make of the situation. Questions arose in my mind: What did I do? What did I say? What should I say? Should I say anything at all? And these feelings would not go away, they haunted me like a ghost. I am NOT talking the friendly-Casper kind either! No, this was complete worry-steria. Unfortunately, I also knew that I should not worry. I mean really, I know I'm awesome (hehe) and that I have a bubbly personality, it's their loss, right? Well, things did not go my way. I eventually buckled under my despair of worrying, that I sent a nice message, pretty much apologizing, and for what? No, idea. I'm literally pulling my hair out because of an unimportant situation. ...Then, I began worrying about the response...CAN I EVER CATCH A BREAK?!?!?
Moving right along. That has been my whole life. Certainly circumstance does not help the situation. Being unemployed and a single mom can place a small strain on one's already defective stress-a-tron. However, I can't really complain of my life in general. I love my life. I have a beautiful son, an amazing family, a roof over my head, food to eat, and clothes on my back. I think I recently read that I am doing better than at least 90% of the world population.
So why stress? Because I believe it is a genetic predisposition.
My grandfather is a Type-A personality. Now, while I don't believe I'm a Type-A, and I know my dad certainly is not, little parts have been passed along the way. And this has led to the increase in heart disease in my family. Stress and heart disease are a bad combination. Thank you to the American Institute of Stress for stating the obvious to me, "The relationship between stress, heart disease, and sudden death has been recognized since antiquity." - See more at: http://www.stress.org/stress-and-heart-disease/#sthash.AhKuWif3.dpuf
Let's not jump the gun though. I am not hyperventilating over MOST situations. Recently, I had a police man pull me over because I "ran a red light". If you knew how high my blood pressure gets when I get pulled over, you would think I were crazy. Unfortunately, at this particular time, my child also needed to go potty, and a car pulled in front of my right before the "yellow light" so I had no chance of beating the system. At this particular moment though, the man decides to tell me "it's just a traffic citation" and I flipped, went completely dramatic with my emotions. The waterworks flowed, the accusation flew out, and I informed him of his completely apathetic attitude toward a practically unemployed single mother. Yeah, it probably wasn't the most appropriate incident. I was totally in ruin. I stressed about the ticket for at least 2 days after, and I am still regretting having to call and pay the stupid thing. I just wanted to yell out, "Why don't you actually go bother with something that matters?!" But I didn't. I am actually proud that I held my tongue and did not use any inappropriate language, not that it's my normal disposition, but I was utterly distraught.
Pathetic as it may seem, it's a truly disturbing feeling to be worried and stressed out. Luckily, I have, over the passed several months, been trying to accept and be thankful for the things that are going "right" in my life, the things I do have, and wanting less while "being more". It is an appropriate step, especially considering the upcoming season. And while there are those that are not of the same religious/spiritual path as myself, I have come to pray about my thankfulness, focusing on the more precious aspects of my fortune: my son, my family, my friends, clothing, food, shelter, talents, skills. I don't focus on the fact that I don't work everyday, but I get the opportunity to spend this precious time with my ever-growing and ever-changing 2 year old.
Recently, we placed our Christmas decorations throughout the house. Now, before you go all bat-crap crazy...I am one of those people who adore the chance to see the beautiful lights and decorations of Christmas at least a month (if not a month and a half) before Christmas day rolls around. I'm sure I would be the exact same way if I were celebrating any other major holiday in any other religious/spiritual preference. Christmas is just a BIG DEAL to me!
I digress though.
My stress-level has been lowered since accepting the things I can't change, and really striving the make the most of the things I can. And I can honestly say, even the use of Christmas decorating with my son during "my days off", have really allowed me to be a more positive, less worrisome individual. However tough it may be on certain days, I have learned to step away to meditate the moment I feel I am having another attack.
These attacks are not pleasant by any means. My head always feels like it is going to explode. My mind is racing faster than the speed of light. And my heart skips beats that I know is not normal. I can not sleep and end up having stomach issues. It physically tears me down. Internally, who knows what damage it has already caused me?
Have I come to a ultimate resolution? No.
Why do I write about such a topic? Because I want to let others know that they are not alone.
It worries me to worry. It stresses me out to stress. It's a vicious cycle, a double-edged sword, and a catch-22. However, throughout my life, I have always looked for external outlets for answers. It's never been resolved. The disease literally eats away at me, and I have truly pulled my hair out because of this mania. Comes to find out, it's an internal resolve. Not a quick one. For most of the time, you have to rid yourself of the sleeping dragon, coaxing it away from its most valuable treasure: your mind. Maybe even become like Bilbo - yes, the Hobbit. Nerd alert!
I have also escaped through my creative outlets. Continuing to write/edit my book and artistically present my characters as life-size oil paintings has excited and awaken my very soul, comforting me in the process, and allowing me to find a truly healthy outlet for my mind. The focus becomes on the product, much more than it does the tiresome snore of the dragon.
While my methods are not full proof, and are certainly not to be taken as a "works for you, works for me" kind of method. I want readers to know that there is hope amongst the desolation of stress and worry. It doesn't have to be a growing abyss of meaningless words and feelings, all compiled deeply within your conscious, and festering like termites beneath the surface. Release the bats of the darkest of caves! Unless it looks as cute as the one above. This disease can be extinguished, or at least maintained from their external triggers, at a healthy level of proper internal exercising. Constant thankfulness for the things you do have/possess, is a positive beginning. Commence to allow your mind to think of nothing while you doze in and out of sleep. Strive for distraction with external activities: playing outside with your children or pets, cleaning/working around the house, creative tasks and hobbies that allow your mind to wonder into the realm of imagination and differentiation. These are all beautifully intricate tasks that force you to think outside of the worries and stresses of every day affairs. Ultimately though, you need time alone. You need time to process your worries and stresses, file them away, and never look them in the cumbersome eye again. Otherwise, you find yourself refiling them into places of your life that need to most attention, without distraction and excruciating folly. Feed your mind distraction, for it will grow upon the weaknesses, consuming them with generous and quintessential nutrients.
I like coffee. Coffee is a great distraction for me. MMMM...Peppermint Mocha.
Stress is heavy upon the mind, for it is the elephant of its kind. But to hinder its growth, you will find, the sensual tension of the bind unwind.