The Daily Grind

My apologies for the short hiatus. Seemed Life had some plans, and I missed the memo. The good news is that we’re back with plenty of upcoming discussion topics! So, without further ado:

Scientology's E-Meter Stress Test

Ours, like everyone else’s, are stressful lives. Whether you’re MI seems not to matter when Life decides curve balls and other crap should be thrown your way. This discussion topic is not about the BIG stressors out there; this is about the normal stuff: Traffic. Flat tires. Tedious work-related stuff. Disagreeing with or disliking coworkers. Deadlines that seem to come out of nowhere and fall into your lap. Grocery shopping. Running out of toilet paper when you were sure there were at least two rolls under the sink. Figuring out what to make for dinner. Unreasonable bosses. Unreasonable clients. Unreasonable customers. Homes that need to be cleaned. Dishes that need to be washed. Laundry.

Then there are those things that aren’t daily, but that everyone deals with: Moving. New jobs. New school. Big decisions. Family visits. Family obligations. Locking yourself out of your apartment (like me two days ago).

I have seen on various forum members’ blogs and through talking with some of you that there is no shortage of regular life stress going on right now. So, I started thinking about Stress: How much is too much? How do you manage everyday stresses? Are there normal, everyday things that you avoid for their potential as a trigger? If you can’t avoid it (because no one can) or if bigger stresses start piling up, how do you defuse the ticking stress-bomb? My thoughts here are circling around the double-edged “high-functioning” sword. We manage close-to-normal everyday lives, but that means we have to find ways of managing everyday stress. Last thing: if you have tips and tricks to share, go for it.

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14 comments
  1. Stress: How much is too much?
    I pretend like I don’t know. Sometimes I truly don’t, but I’m pretty sure I know when it comes to certain areas like work. Then, I push it until it’s really really clear how much is too much=exhaustion.

    How do you manage everyday stresses?
    I used to stress a lot over food, what to cook, how to eat well (there are so many thoughts on eating right), how to fit in shopping, etc. It’s taken a lot for me to to not stress over it now, but I don’t let myself get into a conversation with myself about how much I hate dealing with food and why can’t I just forget about it? Said conversation obviously does no one any good. I’ve learned to attack it as matter of fact. Also, I eat almost the same thing for lunch every day or at least out of 2-3 options. Then I don’t have to think about it much. If I have a plan for dinner, then fixing it isn’t a problem. It’s determining what will feed the family that’s the issue. Luckily, I also have a wife who likes to cook and does most of it.
    I push food out to the end of time. I will eat breakfast ok, but sit at my desk working for hours after I am already hungry because I don’t want to bother with it. That’s the potential trigger. Even though I’m better at dealing with the food stuff, I avoid it as much as possible by eating chocolate and pushing myself. I can go long hours without eating.

    how do you defuse the ticking stress-bomb?

    I use the f-bomb a lot along with other special words. I scream at the computer, I bad-mouth nasty clients (not by name, of course) on FB, and I nap. I take the dog out and sit in front of the tv. I sometimes exercise. Sometimes I watch people exercise. I talk to people who understand and I blog.

    • said:

      I am still working on the food thing. Feeding myself without someone else putting food in front of me and saying “eat” is a constant battle. I avoid grocery shopping at almost all costs. As for the “expletive method” of stress-relief, I am so there.

  2. said:

    Stress: How much is too much? I wish I knew the answer to this one. At least, I wish I knew ahead of time. (It’s partially why I asked this question.) I’ve been completely unable to make any sense of stress levels and their effects, I think largely because it all seems to depend on whence the stress comes and how I’m doing at that time. Some work stresses equal complete meltdown. Other work stresses equal fuel to move through it. Sometimes life stresses are minor speed bumps. Other times, those same stresses are complete deal breakers between me and myself.

    How do you manage everyday stresses? Poorly, I’m afraid. My temper usually gets the best of me, which is the good option. The bad option is my anxiety getting the best of me.

    Are there normal, everyday things that you avoid for their potential as a trigger? Yeah…basically name any normal life-maintenance activity that requires getting up from my desk, especially if they require going someplace that requires the subway. (I avoid going underground at almost all costs.) Living without a car makes this avoidance pretty serious and, sometimes, pathetic.

    How do you defuse the ticking stress-bomb? Like Meredith said: expletives. The good-option temper is employed (because the bad-option anxiety is not actually defusing anything), although I admit knowing that the temper can make things worse. While I wait as long as I can until going to it, if stress reaches the seemingly undefusable bomb limit, I will turn to the benzos. So not proud of that. Still working on better coping mechanisms.

    • Nice. I appreciate your description of the varied levels of stress and effects on you. I could not articulate. I was coming off a 2-week manic episode and was pretty exhausted but felt like I had a better perspective. The truth is, if I had commented right after you posted this, I would have said, “stress, what fucking stress?” Still employing f-bombs of course, but in total denial because I was so with it, so on top of everything, so not stressed out, until I wasn’t.

  3. erinire said:

    Stress: How much is too much?
    There’s never too much! Until there is!!

    How do you manage everyday stresses?
    I try to deep-breathe and Zen my way through things, or find something to laugh at. Not in a nice way, though, like in a “laughing AT you” way. Example: I hate loud, crowded places, like the Starbucks I frequent around 8:55am every day. I’m usually groggy from sleep meds, stressed out about my job, and generally hating life. Thankfully, there’s always this cadre of rich women in workout clothes camped at the main table, squawking about yoga and tennis and little Jimmy’s preschool teacher – prime targets for internal evisceration. I can’t tell you how much they’ve done for my mornings.

    Are there normal, everyday things that you avoid for their potential as a trigger?
    Tons – but I think I’m really just lazy. Like, I totally COULD take out the garbage… but why WOULD I?

    How do you defuse the ticking stress-bomb?
    I’m definitely still working on that one. I’ve been known to Trazodone at 8pm when it all gets to be too much, and usually by morning I’ll have reset myself. At least partially.

    • Awesome! love the AT you laughing. laughing is a very good stress reliever. I skype with crazy friends or go on facebook to see if there’s some goof link like there was today. totally worth it!
      http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/220768216260

  4. Stress: How much is too much?
    When it gets to the point that my symptoms come up, and I’m unable to sleep, having stomach problems that are not fit for polite conversation, or hearing voices or having delusional thoughts, or thinking “I just want this to end” (for whatever the situation is), then I know it is too much. I can handle stress to an extent, and after that extent has been surpassed, I cannot.

    How do you manage everyday stresses?
    My method is basically to try to tune out the things that are getting to me too much. If it’s a family problem, and there are a lot of those problem family members in my life, sometimes I have to avoid that person. If it’s work or school related, sometimes I have to stop all other activities to just be able to focus on a project for school and I can’t be distracted. I’ll go to the college computer lab (like I did today) to force myself to sit in one spot where there are no distractions like at home, and finish an assignment rather than freaking out and stressing out over it for weeks. Of course, I always wait until the stress is getting higher as the due date approaches before I finally take the bull by the horns and do this.

    Therapy helps me a lot with my everyday stressors. I like my therapist, and because of Medicare I won’t be seeing her much longer, and that’s really a shame because I know I have been much more stressed out in the past when I stopped seeing her for a few months. She really listens to me talk about anything, and it’s a great release.

    Are there normal, everyday things that you avoid for their potential as a trigger?
    I rarely socialize. Trying to socialize makes me anxious and I don’t have many friends. I don’t try hard to make friends because it stresses me out to even attempt that. I also avoid people because sometimes I can’t handle the stress of being around other people, and I just need to be alone. So people are a trigger. Certain people can really get on my last nerve. When my mom, who is Bipolar, is in rage, I won’t talk to her because if I do, she will be verbally abusive to me, and I don’t need to put up with that in my life anymore. I also had a very painful breakup three years ago and have not gone on a date since then. I avoid dating. It is not hard to avoid because I’m overweight now thanks to the meds, and no one would want to date me. Well not many people would, anyway.

    How do you defuse the ticking stress-bomb?
    I take Clonazepam, and have been on it for many years. It is meant to help with anxiety, and to some degree it helps, but not enough many times. I also have to take sleeping pills now to get sleep because I can’t manage my life when I’m not getting sleep. So sleeping helps me. I also will just sit down and watch TV at night to avoid doing things like cleaning or unpacking since my recent move, and because I can’t handle the stress of doing those things, watching TV instead provides me some relief. I go to therapy, and I write my blog, and I try to keep myself calm by talking to myself. For example, if I start hearing voices, I remind myself that they are not real, and this helps me to gain perspective. I always listen to music at night to help me sleep, and this lessens my stress, and relaxes me. I listen to music to motivate myself to clean or do house chores too. It helps. And often, to get less stressed, I do avoid household duties and I just let things go for a while, but this is not a good idea because it ends up a worse problem for me to have to tackle later (like piles of dishes and laundry). I tell myself I have to take baby steps, do a little laundry here, some dishes there, and eventually, I’ll get it done.

  5. Jess said:

    Oh stress….After I graduated college, I worked at a psychiatric residential treatment facility for adolescent girls. The long hours and who knows what (bad supervisors?) caused me to continually cycle between depression and normalcy like clockwork! I would get depressed on Sunday, and it would end around Friday. I worked at the hospital from Wed-Fri 3:00pm-11:30pm and then Sat from 7:00am-11:30pm. I don’t know how I did those hours! There were times when I doubted myself so much through my depression that I was wondering “How can I be a counselor to these kids? Shouldn’t I be in here myself?” Ultimately, I left the job because of a debate between my unit supervisor and her bullshit, but I do miss helping and being with the girls. Needless to say, I didn’t handle that stress as much as I would have liked. The depression cycling was NOT fun. I don’t know why it took me over a year of cycling like clockwork to actually seek help again. I was put on new a new antidepressant along with my Lamictal (anticonvulsant) and it worked wonders.

    Nowadays, with stress, I try to find something to do that’s nice: reading, watching a movie. If it’s nice outside, maybe hang out at a park…especially since I have a puppy now, which definitely helps reduce my stress. I love my little baby.

    Take care,
    Jess

    • Wow, Jess, I would not be able to do that. Of course teaching first graders in a low-income school with a 2nd grader and kindergartner at home might have been similar, esp. in results. Ha! Sometimes it’s hard to see that what’s going on is not normal or just having to make the change with such depleted resources can be daunting (says the pot to the kettle).

      • Jess said:

        Meredith, I think your stress from your job has equal merit! I can imagine you’d either have overprotect parents or hands-off parents that don’t care.

        • yes, I had both. And then there were the crazy kids with no guidance cussing, crawling under desks, whizzing in the bathrooms, etc. It’s sad. But I ain’t doin that no more! Been 7 years now. Whew! Sometimes making a difference has to come from somewhere else.

  6. Alan Smithee said:

    Stress: How much is too much?
    Any stress is too much. On the other hand, though, it’s only too much if I start really planning suicide. I guess I don’t know what too much means. Too much for what? For me? For the label of HF?

    How do you manage everyday stresses?
    Well, drinking is really great for that. Unfortunately I’ve started to relate a little too much to Tom Wait’s line, “I don’t have a drinking problem unless I can’t get a drink.” So, I’m really going to have to eliminate that as a dependable de-stressor. Which sucks. Really sucks. Other ways I manage are similarly self-medicinal. I smoke and eat too much. The healthier end is I vent, and make time to watch the Daily Show and Arrested Development.

    Are there normal, everyday things that you avoid for their potential as a trigger?
    Yes. For some reason, I am really unable to shower. I’ve never had a problem with showering, except that as soon as I got depressed, I never wanted to do it. I guess also growing up my mom only made us shower once a week. So I guess I never got used to the daily or every-other-day hygenics. When my husband and I first moved in together he said, “I’ve noticed you don’t shower in the morning. Or at night.” I found this hilarious and shared with all my friends who know of my shower problems (one). I just really don’t do it. I usually go a week before I have to make myself do it or else others will notice how unclean I am. However, over the past couple months, I’ve been making it to two weeks. I don’t understand what my problem with showering is. It’s not pleasant to soap up my flabby belly, but you know, it’s about as bad as squeezing it into pants everyday, and I do that. The closest I can guess is that it is a period of time in which there are no distractions. Just think think thinking. And it is painfully boring as well. And then at the end of it, you’re all… wet. And cold.

    If you can’t avoid it (because no one can) or if bigger stresses start piling up, how do you defuse the ticking stress-bomb? See above, re: drinking.

    • :P

  7. Anonymous said:

    I try to keep it down as low as possible. I try to only keep stress in my life that is about things I care about. One of my biggest sources of stress is dealing with toxic in-laws. My partner and i have made the decision that I will not be dealing with them anymore. Simple as that. I think we have to get selfish and prioritise our stressors. Those that don’t serve us have to go. We don’t owe any explanations or excuses either.

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