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Stress…take it from a pro

August 22, 2010

I usually don’t like to get too personal but when you think about it stress is a very personal thing and I think it might help someone even if  just lets them know they are not alone. I have mine under control but I can see people around me and they are taking things a lot harder than I am. I hope this helps.

I have  job issues, time management issues, parent issues, caring for the terminally ill issues, debt issues, credit issues… I could go on but my point is made. All of these issues while I am going to college and taking advanced level mathematics and physics. I have been  asked before by people who inadvertently find out about my situation how I handle my stress. It’s always a little embarrassing for me because I feel like I should be better off than I am but I am writing this today to help others who coping with similar issues.

When my world started crumbling around me, a few years ago, it wasn’t the first time but I felt like a failure, like the whole world would be a better place if I just wasn’t contributing to it. Every thing was a mess. I was supporting 9 people on a $28,000 a year income. My mom and dad just split up after thirty years leaving my mom and my 320 pound autistic brother and her in my house. My mom went through her first bout with cancer at this time. My wife at the time started having grand-mal seizures taking me into a higher stress zone. I had to file bankruptcy because when my dad left he took the semi that he co-signed for and tore up the transmission in it. All of these things hit  me at the same time and I had just signed up to go to college.

I imploded a lot, sometimes tears just came out with no reason at all. I would get up every day and go to work and put up with a lead man who hated me just as much as I hated him but I had to be courteous because I felt like I needed the job.The one thing that I noticed when I was going through this time is that I had to keep things going financially. I woke up aching all over every day. It was also my fortune to have to write seven essays a week because of my inexperience with class schedules. I had to just keep moving. That is what I did. I just kept moving. And coincidentally  a song came on the radio “If you’re goin’ through Hell” by Rodney Atkins and I just knew that it was sung for me because it said “keep on going you might get out before the devil even knows you’re there”. That was exactly what I did.

The bill collectors called me and did a lot of mean talking but I soon realized that they couldn’t eat me so I did what I could and let them talk as mean as they wanted. A couple even tried to sue me but they couldn’t serve me and they lost interest after a while. I caught  up with them a year and a half  later and they still took my money and wanted to loan me more a week later according to the honey sweet letters that they sent me.

I started living day-to-day. I just couldn’t dwell on any thing  from the past and I didn’t think about the future because it got me down too, so I just lived day by day because that was all the energy that I had to give. I took control of what was in front of me at that moment and I made it through this difficult time and things did get better. It is not to say that they stayed that way but I handle stress like a pro now.

I never sweat the small things (even though I know the devil is in the details). I give my self  time to react to the situation so that I can react properly( not flying off the handle…it never helped it just gave me more work). I ask my self in the moment what can I do about it right now? If I can do something I never let it sit ( I never know when I’ll have time or when it will be taken from me). And I watch out for things coming in the future but if it is not something I can take care of it sits until it becomes that moment issue( But I always schedule things immediately and give my self plenty of time on those days for those future issues.

I am still not perfect but my issues are being handled and I am making forward progress. I think of my actions as survival techniques because without them I would have made myself ill a long time ago and I would have been of no use to anybody.I don’t care who criticizes me because I have heard it all before and I am still here. I must taste awful because the bill collectors have not eaten me yet. And  I know that when I get through this college and make $100,000 a year those that talk mean now will talk honey sweet as they try to trap me again. It just goes round and round like a merry-go-round on the play ground.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 30, 2010 6:26 pm

    Your story is honest and demonstrates vulnerability that is a giant step to “letting go.” The tips and mind-set are spot on, in my opinion, to escaping the devasting effects of stress. Thanks for sharing.

    • August 30, 2010 11:05 pm

      Thank you for your kind words and insight. I see people around me every day going through things that I believe that I could help them through but they don’t want my “opinion”. It’s sad but if this helps just one person it is well worth the effort. It’s strange but you mentioned vulnerability and your right. No one really knows what the guy right next to him may be going through because no one wants to be vulnerable. We never share with each other or ask more than superficial questions when it comes to the people around us. Maybe if we did either of these things there might be less stress in our lives. Just a thought. I appreciate the depth of your comment.

  2. September 28, 2010 12:17 pm

    Everyone has stress…I thought by telling this story it might help someone get through theirs. I hope it helps him because if it helps even one person it was worth writing.

  3. October 21, 2010 11:32 am

    i can relate to that SO much…i guess we all had our breaking point, when we felt that we’re useless and so on and that God gave us more than we can handle…we just have to remember that we are human beings first of all, and with all its’ fragility, the human being is still the strongest thing on earth. and we just keep moving on.

    • October 22, 2010 1:47 am

      I look at it like forging steel. the more pressure the harder the steel. The more pressure we make it through the better we can survive in this world and the more we can do to help others through the simpler issues.

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