Stress. I’ve always thought of it as something business-men get (yes the men was intentional there). I imagine white collars with ties pulled down from the neck, sweating, waving papers about. That’s stress.
People have thrown about the term ‘stressed out’ for years. Tired and emotional was always a euphemism for drunk and ‘suffering from exhaustion’ a similar one for either drink or drugs. Say to someone you are stressed and they might imagine ulcers or nerves.
But to consider that I’ve stressed myself out so badly that my body has been disrupted in it’s proper functioning, that just sounds crazy. The literature accompanying the HPA-D diagnosis described ‘perceived stress’ as the top contributing factor with the novelty of the event being most important. Novelty – when I read the word I think of little trinkets or funny stories, not it’s true meaning of uniqueness or newness. Put simply, they mean the stress was created by an event that was unusual, you had no control over or ability to see coming. A death, an accident, a job loss – life is full of them and to quote the song ‘Sunscreen’ they blindside you at 4pm on a Tuesday.
I’ve been thinking about this for a while, since one of the main ways recommended to combat almost any chronic illness is to ‘reduce stress’ but perhaps this in itself comes with thorns. Like people who retire after 50 years in the workforce and then sink into depression, or people who are retrenched and celebrate because they got a payout, but no-one realises the identity crisis they face, perhaps the de-stressing itself is stressful.
People keep telling me how wonderful it is to work from home and I just agree with them because I can logically see the benefits too, but it doesn’t yet feel like a choice I made and the work I do still feels like a bit of a burden at the moment. Thing is, I don’t know what else I’d do with my time. If I’m not with my daughter then I feel like I must be doing something productive. Am I continuing to stress myself out?