Tag Archives: stress

Fighting Stress is a Contradiction in Terms

Go Away - Ya bother me

Go Away – Ya bother me

Since I have several journals on the burner at any given time, I tend to stumble upon things I’ve written sometimes months or even years ago. I’m a bit disorganized with my notebooks. I had chuckle thinking about how I would come across to someone who decided to posthumously recreate my life through my memoirs. I’ll be journaling along and turn the page to come across notes I scribbled years ago. I turned the page yesterday morning to find something I wrote back in April of 2012 that must have been bugging me at the time.

The entry was just a one liner “Fighting Stress is a Contradiction in Terms.” Think about it for a second. Most stress is the result of being stuck in fight or flight mode to begin with. To fight stress just stresses you out more. Much better to let go, take a step back, disengage, and look at the big picture. With my bipolar brain I can easily manufacture stress out of nowhere. Waking up on the wrong side of the bed is familiar to me, especially after a night of weird or bad dreams. Since many of them involve Mr. Husband I’m frequently afraid to share them with him because I don’t want to hurt his feelings.

However I’ve found that if I do trust the Hubman with nightmares as well as my dreams I feel much better afterwards. It’s a huge trust issue for me. I’ve always felt that if you tell people what you’re afraid of it gives them ammunition to scare you at inopportune moments.

The nightmare scenario that happened a few days ago was that Hubman came and told me that his secretary and her husband lost their house somehow. The solution was that we were going to give them our house and move in with his mother. I love my mother-in-law like my own mother. However the same as with my own mother, I sure as hell don’t want to live with her.

In the nightmare I announced that I was not OK with this and declared that I was going to leave. Mr. Hubman snarled “OK fine!” and then took a trash bag, went in my bathroom and started scooping the contents of the medicine cabinet and drawers into said trash bag. Oh, that really pissed me off, and then I woke up, thank God.

I told him about the dream and he laughed. Grrrrr. I demand to be taken seriously, even when I’m acting silly! He told me that when he left for college he knew he was never going back to his parents’ house…ever. He had no desire to live with them again, then or now. I think the thing that upset me most about the dream was that he made a major life decision that affected us both without consulting with me first.

So back to stress. I read somewhere that one of our founding fathers, but I don’t remember which one, I think it was Benjamin Franklin, had a system for handling worry. He would write things he was worried about on a slip of paper and put them in a teapot he kept for that purpose. Then every Wednesday afternoon he would take down the teapot, read the papers and worry then if needed. Usually it was not needed and most of his worries had resolved themselves on their own, or he had distanced himself enough to think of a solution.

I like that system. Maybe I’ll try it 🙂

Neighbors – Gotta Love Them

Reality is the leading cause of stress among those in touch with it. Lily Tomlin

You have to love your neighbors. There is no other choice, especially when you wish they would disappear off the face of the earth. For the 2nd week in a row now I sat down on the patio to enjoy a quiet cup of morning coffee and the cacophony started up. I don’t know what the hell this particular neighbor across the alley is doing, but I’m becoming increasingly convinced that they are operating a lumber mill out of their garage, or perhaps a steel refinery.

They just moved in so I guess they are fixing up their new nest. Although I can’t imagine what is left to do in that house. The previous occupants spent a long and noisy 2 months fixing up that house less than a year ago, including replacing the roof.

I may be a little cranky because I’m angry with my daughter… extremely angry. It is the result of being worried sick about her and wanting to spank her at the same time. Last week she scared the hell out of me with the news of an iffy mammogram report. She had a needle biopsy on Monday and was supposed to get definite results on Wednesday. It is now Friday morning and I have not heard a peep out of her, no phone calls, and no text messages. She has not responded to my pleas for information either.

The trouble with my darling daughter is that she is a melodrama junky, the more the better. This fits right in with her personality. She has this infuriating habit of calling me up in hysterics with some crisis du jour and then drops off the map. I guess with her that old saying “no news is good news” applies quite well. But that doesn’t make it any easier to bear.


Ever Have One of Those Days?

What part of "leave me the hell alone" did you not understand?

What part of “leave me the hell alone” did you NOT understand?

Ever have one of those days? Somehow you got up on the wrong side of the bed? My bed is up against the wall so I only have one side to get up on, but I still manage to do it on occasion.  What can I say? I’m still pretty limber even at 57 years of age.

I’m usually OK first thing in the morning when it’s quiet and peaceful and I’m on the patio, listening to the birds sing, drinking coffee, and writing. I’ve been doing a lot more writing lately since I gave myself permission to not publish every single word I commit to paper or computer. It took a lot of the pressure off.

I’m floundering along in the 3rd week of getting diagnosed as bipolar and it’s been pretty hard, but in some ways it’s been a huge relief. I’m not crazy, I’m mentally ill. There’s a huge difference…well there is! Don’t argue with me!

Being as Mr. Husband is in fact my spouse and cares a great deal about me; he’s stuck with also floundering along trying to figure out how to adjust to this situation as well. The trouble starts when our coping mechanisms butt heads.

Stop Asking Me Questions!

Stop Asking Me Questions!

My way of coping with a challenging situation is to withdraw in my shell and spend a great deal of time contemplating my navel and the universe. Hubman’s way of coping is to pin me to a bug board and examine me under a magnifying glass. Then bombard me with eleven thousand questions per hour, analyze, make  spread sheets, flow charts and make plan B, C, D and all the way through to double Z.

All this accomplishes is to make me want to scream loud and often, and take up residence in the attic. Thank you God, I have my own room with a lock on the door (my idea) to retreat too when it all gets too much.

It occurred to me this morning that I can just stop answering the questions. It may seem odd for a blogger to claim they are a private person, but I am.  I choose what to share and what to keep to myself. If someone tries to squeeze information out of me I clam up. Trying to force information out of me at this point is more useless than trying to get blood out of a turnip.

I’ve decided to implement the “Do you feel lucky? Well do ya?” policy. One question a day about my mental or physical status is all I intend to answer. If there is something that needs discussion I will let you know! Think about it Hubman, is this the one question you want to ask me today? It’s a one shot deal.

Limiting questions to one per day may sound rather draconian to a “normal” couple, but when it comes to an illness, a rather benign question takes on a whole new meaning. A question such as “did you sleep OK last night?” is really multiple questions hiding under the guise of a single question. It can mean; Did you sleep at all? Did you have nightmares? Did you get up in the middle of the night and drive to East Texas for a pack of cigarettes? Did you rearrange the furniture? Did you wake up at 3:00 am and knit a scarf so long it could wrap around the equator twice? Did you decide to format the hard drives and reinstall all the programs on all 3 of your computers at the same time? Did you eat everything in the kitchen that wasn’t tied down or raw? Did the tooth fairy leave a half eaten chunk of havarti cheese under your pillow?

My advice to anyone who is coping with mental illness or any other chronic illness in a loved one or friend is to embrace a few simple concepts. We are sick not stupid. We are ill but not an idiot. We did not sign away our right to be treated as an adult and with respect when we signed forms in the doctor’s office. We need a friend and a shoulder to cry on. Not a mother hen, a jail warden or a head master. We are still capable of making rational decisions and we know what we need more than you do, even if we may not able to express it in a way that you believe or understand.

I’ll climb down off my soap box now. Thank you for listening  🙂

Woodstock or Woodstuck

Had one of those wonderful days today. Blew my plans because I blew my mind.  Sounds dramatic, huh? Was going to the hardware store, boring. Instead I stumbled across Woodstock: Three Days of Peace & Music (40 anniversary collector’s edition) on the TV.  My behind was immediately implanted onto the sofa for the next 3 hours.

The music slipped into the groves in my mind like a comfortable old shoe and it went flying back. Ah, it was yesterday, but wait a minute…40 years? WTF happened? My mother took me to see the filmed version of Woodstock  when I was an impressionable 15 years old. I was impressed. It cemented in me a fierce love of music that’s been with me ever since.

One day I said to myself: ‘I’m forty!’ By the time I recovered from the shock of that discovery, I had reached fifty. – Simone de Beauvoir. The Second Sex author.

The movie is great, the music of course, but I forgot about all the interviews with ordinary Joes that were in the movie too. A grumpy older guy mutters, “Oh, they’re all on pot,” waves his newspaper, and walks off. Any of that mind altering hanky panky happens nowadays and it is immediately on nationwide media, followed by moral outrage; next bible thumpers or other variety of objector protest loudly, summon authorities, with the camera focus on the thorns more than the roses. The committers of said violations of the code du jour are marginalized,  sued if possible,  given time in prison, instructed to burn in hell and rot for all eternity, their name stricken from the registers of polite society.

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin

Am I at the other end of the life cycle side from teen Angst?  Some sort of senior /lovey dovey/flower child kind of angst? Am I getting old and cranky because I’m tired of this nonstop, in yer face, judgmental, 24/7, frenetic, plugged in, finger-pointing, holier than thou, never ending media data stream of hysteria?

We rocked out just as hard back in 1969 as kids do now.  I know, I was there. I lived through that time. Lost a bit of my hearing from standing too close to speakers.  Sure it sounded different. But, that feeling of “I got something to say at the top of my lungs” is still there in me, I can feel it. I don’t think we ever really lose it. It goes underground, gets stacked away in the attic, with the baby clothes and old knickknacks.

I was a fairly suburban, sheltered kid. But, I knew things like – you can’t run from the fuzz. Not that I ever had experience of that. Really, I swear.  I’ve never been in a car chase ever. Well, I’ve been in a car full of teenagers following another car full of teenagers, all on our way to the drive in theatre. A car load (six passengers) for 99 Cents on Tuesday nights, that’s a bargain. We had to cooperate then and plan ahead. The people stuffed in the trunk on bargain night had to know better than to shout “are we there yet?” when the car was still in the ticket booth. And all this got done without text messages or cell phones at all. Somehow it worked out ok.

In an interview with the farmer who owned the land at Woodstock, he said “Think about, a half a million kids got together, had fun and made music for 3 days, and did nothing but that.” I must wonder, could we do that now? Would it even be allowed? The permits alone would be a nightmare of red-tape. Could the kids or the parents afford it?

Flowers and dry clothes dropped from helicopters into the crowd. What we drop today? Frozen turkeys, “you’re going to hell but, Jesus loves you” pamphlets, crowd dispersing gas? The Army brought in about 40 some medics to assist the crowd.  Of course in a  crowd that size there a few problems, but overall 500K people went to the party of the century and most managed to have one helluva good time.

Jimmy Hendrix

Jimmy Hendrix

Would anyone today want their kids going to an event like that? In the U.S., we must be reaching a saturation point with a child raising obsession. God, I certainly hope so, I can’t stand much more of it. I have to wonder, when does a kid get to be a kid?

Parents script every moment of a child’s life starting before birth. They play prenatal music to them. The kid arrives in a civilized time frame, induced during the day between 9:00am and 3:00pm at the birthing center. Preferably not during lunch break. Then we spend the next 20 years trying to sanitize and inoculate them from every conceivable thing that can possibly happen.

Another thing I want to know is when do teenagers get to be teenagers? I couldn’t raise kids today. I would rip my hair out and check into a padded perma-spa. That or I’d be in jail for letting my kid play with a dangerous toy. Mothers that manage children these days amaze me.

Is this what happens when we get at a certain age?  All the silver foxes start waving things around and yelling “you kids, stop screaming and yelling! If you can’t play nice, then you have to take a nap or go home!” And we are talking to whole countries here, not just our kids. I guess I’m not a typical gray hair. I spend much more time worrying about kids getting stifled than I do about how much social security I’m going to get. By the time I get it, it will only be enough to cover my joint cream and the half ‘n half for the coffee. If I get it at all.

I love the world as it is now, but I do miss that world too. And I have to ask, when did talking about peace, sharing, and brotherly love fall out of fashion?  I’ve tried half-heartedly in the last few years. I’m met with eye rolls, or a verbal pat on the head. Aren’t you just the cutest little flower-brained, throwback, dinosaur.  Half the civilized world is embroiled in an escalating emotional, judgmental, arms race. Sometimes only figurative, other times a little more dangerous.

We are labeled a nation of stressed out people. All the lovely statistics talk about how stress is frying our hearts and making us fat. Most of our recreation is sedentary. Who goes out dancing anymore?  I’m getting concerned. Our God given right to cut loose, get down, get baked, de-stress or whatever they call it now, is in serious jeopardy. It’s a medical issue I tell you. The Surgeon general should make a speech about it on national TV. Something along the lines of “Chill out man, your life depends on it, life is too short to hate your neighbors.”

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