Stressed. STRESSED. My life these days is a roller coaster of crazy that I don’t want to go into here, but all you really need to know is that I am STRESSED. And stress is a relatively new feeling for me. Well, new in that for the first time in my life I’m allowing myself to acknowledge it. I never used to say “I am STRESSED”. I told myself that I had a low stress life, that things came easily to me, that nothing really bothered me. I must be lucky, I told myself, lucky that I don’t get stressed. I was a calm, just deal with it and move on kind of gal.
I was full of shit. I’m the daughter of divorced alcoholics who had me way too young. I was bullied and didn’t have many friends growing up. I had severely low self esteem that manifested itself outwardly by being a smart-assed know-it-all. I have food and weight issues. My households were ripe with unhealthy relationships and I thought I was responsible for the peace keeping. OF COURSE I HAD STRESS!
Since I chose to deny its existence, my stress manifests itself in other ways. I pulled out my eyelashes. Weird, right? Most of the time I don’t even realize I’m doing it. Also, I eat. I have always loved food, all sorts of food. I consider myself a foodie and I have a passion for well made, creative dishes. But when I’m stressed, it’s all about quantity, not quality. Even food I typically don’t enjoy, potato chips for example, are fair game. My skin also reacts to stress. I have excema that breaks out on my legs, hands, and even my face. It’s itchy and painful and annoying. But I still lived in denial. Friends would find me simultaneously pulling on my eyelashes, scratching my legs, and ordering pizza- “You okay Merrsidotes?” “Oh yeah, I’m great! Why do ask?” “Uhhhh…”
But lately the stress has been overwhelming. I realized that I was not okay, that the stress had taken over my life, and that I needed to make some changes if I was going to be a good mom to my Goober. I started talking. To a friend. To a coworker. I started venting. To my mom. To my husband. Also, running. I have never been pro-exercise. My pants size confirms this. But recently a friend and I started training for a 5K, and damn, apparently I like running. In my head, I’m actually running AWAY. Away from all the stresses in my life. Away to a place of peace and joy and stress-free living. I don’t run very far yet, but I’m working on it.
I also got a therapist. It’s funny, you would think with my degree in psychology, I would be ALL ABOUT the therapy. And I am- for other people. But it never occurred to me that maybe I would benefit from talking to an objective party. Dur. And it helps. My therapist is teaching me lots of new tricks, such as that it’s okay to say “I am STRESSED”. No, really, it’s okay!
So, my invisible internet friends, now I’m saying it. I am STRESSED. Thanks for listening.