This week’s topic: How Do I Handle Stress
Some people would say that I don’t.
They don’t know all of the real stress that I am under.
My life has been stress-filled. I won’t pull out the violins nor subject you to my on-going, personal soap opera. Odd, hard, strange things just seem to happen to and around me quite a bit. Although other people always seem to have advice, with all due respect, they are on the outside looking in. It is always easy to give advice, especially when you don’t have all the facts or have had the same experiences. Very few things in life are black and white, yes or no. And some cannot be alleviated with a simple platitude or simplistic advice.
So if I seem to ‘lose it’, it is usually because someone is causing extra stress or not heading some off at the pass. Some people are just not as far-sighted as they could be and the ‘old ounce of prevention’ doesn’t seem to occur to them. Nor do they see the damage that is being done around them or potentially around them until it is too late.
And it seems that everything in my family is so interconnected that one situation has an impact on nearly all of the rest in the web that is my world. And if people think that I am not handling stress, well…
they have no idea.
There is just more than they know.
I have found that most of the situations are something that can be impacted by some action on my part, no matter how small. I have to help in my own way.
Most of you will read this and think, “Oh, she worries too much”, but the situations have been those to stress over; I would defy anyone not to. Once, my father-in-law asked me how I had been coping .I amused him, (but he understood), when I said, “I’m in a state of controlled panic”.
Just a little panic under the surface, holding a façade on the outside by a thread. Fortunately, things haven’t been like that for a while.( I should be quiet, though, and not tempt fate!)
Our former family doctor once told me that only one of the things happening in my life was enough to freak-out most of his patients. While in a hospital waiting room I picked up a booklet about coping. It listed the seven most stressful situations that can happen in a person’s life and how to cope with any one of them.[ Death of a loved one, major health issues, loss of job/business, financial problems, etc.] At the time, I had all seven going on in my life within the year.
They didn’t have advice for that.
What has kept me going has been the very thing that others would berate me for doing; I keep going because I have others relying on me and I don’t feel that I can take the time to break down or wallow in self-pity.
The most often heard advice is: “You have to forget others, take care of yourself and let the chips fall where they may.” That only causes me more stress. If I know I can help, I can’t enjoy myself or relax when I know there is a need I can fulfill. Turning my back on some suffering that I can help ease is not something I can do and feel good about myself. Some people will say, “Let go and let God”. If we look at our lives that way, aren’t we here to serve others? Most my friends of other religions have similar guidelines. Even my atheist friends have good hearts and are out to do good and help others.
Yet, so often, that is what I do. But I didn’t realize until I had this post written that the actual topic this week is, “How Do You Handle UNEXPECTED Stress”…
It seems whenever I have seen someone face a very stressful situation I have thought, “I could never handle that”, I pretty much feel that God will say, “Oh, yeah?” and drop the same situation right in my lap. It’s rather like I hear, “YOU won’t handle it; WE will handle it.” And when I don’t see the way, the rhyme or the reason, I look at a crucifix and simply say, “I’m trusting You.” And I will have to admit, I would never have believed early in life that I could ever say that. I tried very hard to be an atheist, but God had other ideas.
Most of you have had some stress in your life that was on-going or overwhelming at some time. The only way for me to deal with it is to do what I can, and to keep busy when I can’t. If considering how I can help the situation or head some damage off at the pass constitutes worrying, then I worry. I have found that considering the facts and scenarios makes me forewarned and forearmed.
Mind games, handiwork, reading and writing come into play sometimes, yes, along with prayer. Usually I just do what needs to be done because, well, what else is there to do?
Breaking down and being useless is not an option for me.
My life. Stress is a major player in it. And I am still going on and on, and handling it, thank you very much.