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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Stress of Stress

August 27, 2014 (which was actually written August 26, but go with it...)

So, I'm sitting here at my computer desk typing away while nursing a migraine headache with a couple of Extra Strength Advil and a single-serve size container of Breyer's French Vanilla ice cream wondering why in the world I would ever think that something that potentially can cause "brain freeze" would ever be a good thing to nurse a headache with.

Well, turns out that whenever I have a migraine headache (which lately seems to be every two weeks like clockwork), it's usually brought upon by stress.  Headaches come because I am stressed.  If you read the word stressed backwards, it becomes desserts.  And, desserts are naturally one way to alleviate stress. 

Hence the French Vanilla ice cream.  But, hey.  I consider that a minor stress attack.  If it were a full blown panic attack, I'd go after the stuff that had four kinds of fudge in it.

But, at any rate, I think that when it comes down to the idea of dealing with stress, I tend to fail miserably in that category.  Not that I'm literally walking around the streets like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.  I don't think I feel like things are that bad, although some may disagree with that statement.  However, I know that stress is something that we all go through in our lives, and that we all have our own different ways of dealing with it and coping with it as best we can.

I have heard that one of the best things that one can do to deal with extreme stress is by talking about it with someone that they feel really close to, because obviously if people have a significant support system to help them through some of the most stressful times of their lives can be a really good coping mechanism in hopes of dealing with it.

Though, I have a major confession to make.  Part of the reason why I have such a low tolerance for stress in the first place is because I tend to be one of those people who tends to let it build up inside of them until there comes a time when I feel like I just want to EXPLODE!!!

(Ironically enough, as I type this blog enrty out, I am watching "The National" on CBC, and they are doing a special feature on stress management.  This blog could not have come at a better time!)

Anyway, getting back to the discussion at hand, I tend to have a really bad coping mechanism for dealing with stress - in particular, over the last six months or so.  I don't really want to go into too much detail over it.  Let's just say that things have been a little bit out of control lately.  There has been a lot of situations where I have felt like I have been unable to function because of stress.  And, because it's not really all that appropriate to just let off steam at any given time, it becomes even harder to manage stress.

And, this leads to migraine headaches, like the one that I'm trying to get rid of right now.

The part about talking to someone about stress levels is also something that I find really difficult.  Having had issues with trusting people in my life, it's not that easy to go up to someone and tell them that you're stressed and that you need some help in dealing with it.  Because before you know it, word gets out, and spreads like wildfire, and before you know it, the entire town knows your business.

Trust me.  This has happened before.  I've seen it first hand.  It isn't fun.  And believe it or not, it actually causes even more stress this way.

I also find it difficult to discuss stress levels with relatives or loved ones because I don't really think that they have any idea how things are.  They seem more concerned with their own problems and their own levels of stress to take on any additional problems.  And granted, there are some times in which I completely understand this thought...but there are also other times in which I sort of wish that they could understand my problems too, and offer me some reasonable advice instead of "cheer up", or "get over it".  Alas, they are who they are, and whether I like it or not, I don't foresee them changing in the future.

I also find it difficult to speak to the people in charge at a workplace or what have you.  Half the time, it is a never ending battle to keep stress levels in check, and I fear that if there ever comes a time in which I do get a sit down with the higher ups, I'll have things so bottled up that I will EXPLODE at them and I'll find myself at the end of the unemployment line.  So, I find myself suffering in silence a lot.  I don't like causing a scene or drawing attention to things that really bother me, but with my lack of trust in people, I find it difficult to get everything out in a way that doesn't make me feel like a raging lunatic.  So I keep things bottled up.

Problem is...I can't keep doing this.  It's causing me to be in a mood that I wish I weren't in.  It makes me act like a person that I don't even like.  It makes me feel as though I can't figure anything out.

And while I realize that I am not the only one who has probably felt this stressed out, I have absolutely no coping mechanism on how to deal with it in a healthy way.

So, I guess my question to all of you do you deal with stress?   The ice cream and Advil is a temporary fix for now and already my headache is starting to heal.  But I really consider that to be a Band-Aid solution.  I know that with the way things are - trying to find a balance between work life and personal life, and trying to make sense of everything - I'm probably going to have another instance where stress has me down for the count.

So, let's hear it.  What are some of the ways that you have dealt with extreme stress? 

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