Posts Tagged ‘stress’

I’ve been sitting on these thoughts for about a year now… a year because I didn’t think I could put my thoughts to paper clear enough to be read and understood. Then I decided, yes… I could. An indication of what a difference a year can make in the evolution of a person.

I recently read a post over at Zebra Sounds and the author made the comment that we are “complicated beings”. I thought to myself, “Right?, Please explain it to me.” I think you really have no idea how complicated we are as humans unless you take the time to try to figure yourself out — to understand your own evolution, as women, as mothers, as daughters, as friends — the friendship of a woman is like no other. I’ve been making a conscious effort to figure a few things out this year. I think to say the last three years of my life have been stressful would be the understatement of the century. I knew where I was emotionally was not where I wanted or needed to be, but, I was stuck… unable to move forward. Stuck is scary.

I had a friend who mentioned therapy, she thought, maybe, I should try it (I was, admittedly, holding her captive in the rabbit hole with me) — I scoffed… not me, never. This friend said she thought I was one of the bravest people she knew and asking for help would just be one more example of my bravery. I didn’t really believe her, I should have. But I was stuck.

My world crashed.

I was not only stuck but lost.

I needed help.

There were a few days last September that completely rattled me, tossed me around like a kite in a tsunami. I was thrashing about, confused, disoriented, struggling to stay afloat when I could feel the tug of the under current dragging me down — but you would never have known, you would never have suspected.

I am a woman.

I am a mother.

I am skilled at the fine art of outward appearances.

When I say there are things I don’t really remember, it rattles me even more. But, thanks to google, I discovered that memory loss or memory confusion is a by-product of stress and anxiety — not an excuse for ill-behavior, just an explanation for a rational being having irrational behavior.

I think to try to describe depression would be too difficult, there aren’t enough words to paint a picture of the truly eery poetic thoughts and feelings that swirl around — it all makes sense, it’s so clear — the storms are beautiful. Then, the sun comes up and you see the illogical process of your thoughts and this continues… over and over, it continues. All the pieces fall into place and then they clang to the floor in a discombobulated mess of utter confusion… then, once again — clear.

All the while, you go to work and you drive the carpool and you pack lunches and you cook dinner and you have lunch with friends and you clean your house and you do the laundry because we are women, we are mothers, we are skilled at the fine art of outward appearances. This “thing” that had me in its grasp could not leave a smudge on my bubble.

I contacted a therapist… eeny meeny miny moe — that one will do, after all… I only wanted to pretend to seek assistance. I still didn’t think I needed help, I thought that if I went to therapy then I could steady myself enough to regain my shiny outward appearance — I, as sometimes happens, didn’t care about the turmoil on the inside. I was the only one privy to that information and I could handle anything. Several sessions went by, I did a lot of “uh huh”ing, a lot of head nods. I thought to myself that my therapist was really pretty and smart and compassionate and caring… she must be good for her clients, not me though. I was only here to get my outward appearance back —

I am a woman,

I am a mother,

I am skilled at the fine art of outward appearances.

A month went by, or two or five. I began to look forward to my sessions with my therapist, I began to trust her, I began to tell her the things I needed to tell her and I listened to what she had to say. I started to feel better. I slept… for the first time in several months, I slept. I started being honest with people, but mainly with myself. I started therapy for all the wrong reasons, because, when you suffer from stress and anxiety and depression, thinking clearly is not one of the benefits. But I continue my work because of the most important reason of all, me.

We are women.

We are mothers.

We are skilled at the fine art of outward appearances.

We are complicated beings. We mess up and we try to fix. We say the wrong things and we try to shove the words back into our mouths. We love and we let go. We laugh and we collapse under the weight of a shattered heart. We dream and we face reality. We hope… we hope that our hearts lead us back to the friends we’ve lost and lead us forward to those we have yet to meet. We hope the cracks let the love in. We believe in each other and we believe in ourselves. We are women. We are mothers. We are complicated beings — reaching out, holding on, surviving, loving, hoping. Hoping that we can guide each other past the murky water and the glass cage hearts, hoping you understand I’m a complicated being, shattering the outward appearance… reaching my hand out, hoping you’ll grasp it… again.

Because we are women,

we are mothers,

we are complicated beings.

Image from Kind Over Matter

Read Full Post »

I was reading lately about stress and anxiety and things that go wrong and the effect of things that go wrong and being bogged down and feeling bogged down and… wait, I’m sorry, what were we talking about? Oh, yeah… reading.

Okay, so I was reading an article recently and it called for the reader to do an activity, you know like one of those McCall’s “are you compatible with your mate” type of things but this was more of a “are you compatible with you” sort of thing. The activity was to write down all the events that had caused an excess of stress in your life in recent years. Once you had your list, you were then to take each event separately and try to assess how you differed before the event and after the event.

I reluctantly reached for a piece of paper and a pen and began my inventory, half-way through I started laughing at the events that had taken place… I’m sure this wasn’t the outcome the author was hoping for. But still… there was laughter on my end. I finished my inventory and gazed at the paper that held so many traumatic, un-fun, life-changing, sucky things — the same paper I had just laughed at — and I cried, a little. Then I wadded it up and threw it away. Not out of any life-affirming-zen-moment-metaphoric exercise… just because I didn’t need the reminder of the things that have transpired staring up at me from a piece of paper… I live with them, tucked away in the (not so) far reaches of my mind.

About 6 times a week, I see a car that is an exact replica to my mother’s car and inadvertently there is always an older woman peering over the steering wheel with sunglasses on — I always stare a little too long. About 5 times a week I look at a picture of my father that is perched above my sun-visor in my car — it’s him, looking just the way a memory should be. About 4 times a week, I open up the drawer where I put my dog’s collar after she passed away — she was such a sweet friend. About 3 times a week, I ride down a particular road that holds a sign in remembrance to a policeman who was killed in the line of duty. That same policeman had, just two months before he was killed, wrapped his arms around me and comforted me as I had just unsuccessfully performed CPR on a 9 year-old boy. About twice a week I read blogs and comments written by people I admire and look up to but don’t know at all.¬†Everyday I walk around a house that was to be a dream home that now I can’t get out of fast enough. At least once a week I look back on posts I’ve written and the comments that were left by people who may never return. My “life event inventory” had filled up the last couple of years. So… I threw it away.

And… I didn’t feel better when I did. There was no life-affirming breath of fresh air propelling me to carry-on. Just a crumbled up piece of paper with some really sucky things on it. But… there was this…

I made another list. Things I needed to do the next day — just one day of events I needed to do. Here’s some of that list:

  • help a child with autism
  • help a teacher of a child with autism
  • make dinner with my son
  • cuddle with my daughter
  • wash my car
  • read a book
  • say “I’m sorry”… again
  • call my sister
  • go to dinner with my best friend
  • drink wine (and enjoy it)
  • run

That was my one day list of things I needed to do — and I did them all. That made me take notice of this life — it made me appreciate the events that are yet to come. It made me stop wishing for a different outcome and start working towards a different outcome — it’s never too late for a happy ending, and I’m holding out for a really sappy one.

What about you? Any sappy endings you want to share?

I’ve added something new to the tool bar on the right. It’s called Daily Mile. I log the amount of exercise I’m doing each day and keep you posted on any upcoming races I’m entering and you can send me encouragement for my journey! Click the link and give it a try!

…and of course, some music. I love David Gray and listening to him explain how he came about to write this particular song has intrigued me immensely.

Read Full Post »