Stress is brutal. In small doses, it can drive us ahead, but how often do we get the proper amount? The longer I live, the more I meet people who are either unstressed to the point of being unmotivated and those who are on the verge of a collapse. It’s like we aren’t able to truly relax any more because we’re either bombarded by negativity on social media or made to feel like resting is a sin by those around us. Many times, I’ve wondered if my high stress levels are the only thing keeping me alive because I begin to freak out when I calm down and become highly aware of my pulse rate. Not healthy at all and it only happens when I’m exhausted . . . So Thursdays.
Stress eventually becomes a way of life for people and that’s when mental issues stir. It can plunge people into depression or lock them in a spiral of anxiety. Outlets are searched for to relieve the pressure, but this can turn dark fast. I use puzzles to help me relax, but I could have gone for alcohol or cigarettes or any number of harmful activities. You just want a sense of peace while not knowing exactly how it feels. Numbness can mimic it for a time, but the stress always comes back. There’s not stopping it from returning if you aren’t in a comfortable life. Bills, work, sleeping, exercising, diet, making time for family, politics, religion, family, pets, hobbies, dreams, unexpected expenses, setting the alarm, taxes, state of the world, and the list of stressors keeps going. It’s different for everyone, but most have at least one thing that needles at them.
So, why am I talking bluntly and darkly about stress this week? Because it’s really been my world for a long time. This year started off bad with my writing goals getting crippled right out of the gate, trying to find a Masters program, and wondering what to do about the upcoming summer. Turning 40 wasn’t a picnic since my birthday was the second night of Passover. As you can see, if it’s not one thing going wrong then it’s another. The stress continues to build and no amount of positive messages can really clear it. You end up hitting a point where you feel like this is what your life is because every step forward is met by a violent shove back. You’re not even treading water, but gradually drowning and seeing no hint of land being around. It’s frustrating and demoralizing.
Outsiders always look at a person being stressed and assume they know exactly how to cure them. It rarely works. Most only get a general idea of the situation and then become a cheerleader with no sense of the depth. This can actually increase the stress of a person because now they feel like they aren’t being listened to. Not entirely. We live in such a brutal world that it’s easier to increase a person’s stress than reduce it. Most people have only a small circle of those that can defuse them, which is not always those they spend the most time with. This whole thing is why I think mental health days are important, but god forbid we take one and then get sick. That or you fear that your boss will find out or you need a doctor’s note in the first place. Let’s be honest. Our society doesn’t really give a shit about the mental stability and health of its citizens. Stress is a big problem and nothing is ever done to make life easier across the board.
Anyway, what do you think about stress?