A common feeling when dealing with chronic stress. Or any form of stress is like you are running out of time or things just aren’t happening fast enough. I find this gets worse when I haven’t had enough sleep. Or just had a few nights of really interrupted / shitty sleep. I find the littlest things bother me and I start to become snappy. Then like wild fire all the things I want to change in life come creeping to the for front of my mind.
All I can think about is how much easier things would be if I could just be able to buy a house sooner. If I was living in a better neighbourhood, if I had had a better job in University. Maybe starting saving sooner, if only somethings would cooperate with me. It’s when things start to get this bad that my relationships suffer. I snap at my boyfriend I get short with Bear (our dog). Nudge Koro (my cat) out of the way instead of giving him the attention we both need. Because I just don’t have the time. Things aren’t happening fast enough.
It’s when things get this bad that I have to remind myself to focus on my self. My self care and the things that make me happy. That bring me peace or take away some stress, I have to remember to slow down and think positively. I have to remember that my anxiety and stress do not run my life. I have to know that it only seems hard to get past things right now because of my anxiety.
Then I spend at least half an hour in my head. Re running all the things I am mad about. That I wish I could change I wallow in it. I let myself be upset about it, I lay with my eyes closed. Wanting nothing more than to cry. Then I remember who I am and how hard I have worked to come this far. I remember that all I need is a shower to start to wash all the stress away. So I grab my towels. If it is a particularly bad day I get the bath salts for a longer soak.
I shower and I jump between all the things I want to change. All the things I wish I could change that would be better. I remind myself that nothing is as good as it seems. I will still struggle or have stress even when I fix all these other struggles. But this isn’t a bad thing! Because I am learning to cope through it all, and things will get better. Get easier, even if they don’t end up us perfect as my stressed mind would want them to be. So I shower it all away, and I get out and wash my face and brush my teeth. So that I feel clean and comfortable.
I sit in my towel either on my bed. Or if K is home I linger in the bathroom and make sure to drink an entire 24 oz bottle of water (slowly. While I sit and remind myself that things are a lot better then they were two years ago. That they will continue to get better. I just have to be patient and staying hydrated is a big and easy way to lower your stress levels. This is the closest I have gotten to meditation so far.
Once I have calmed down, I know it is time to climb into comfy clothes, cancel anything I had planned because adding more stress or obligations is not what I need right now, and my friends and family will (should) understand, and journal, or in my case blog. This is my journal, my daily or weekly reminder of all the things that I have struggled through, all the ones who have helped me, how far I’ve come, and that I can go even further, I just have to be patient. Patience just seems impossible when nothing is happening fast enough.
I sit in a comfy corner of my apartment and I turn on some music that makes me feel better, or if (because thin apartment walls) I can’t listen to music I grab headphones or open a window and listen to nature or if it’s too cold to open a window I get in my car and head to the coffee shop for real ambient noise or just sit in my car with the heat on and write in a journal, on a note pad app on my phone or offline on my laptop. There are always options, they may not be 100% what you need right now because something is limiting you but it is still something, it still helps.
Am I frustrated I can’t blare my music and dance and feel better? Do I want to scream because it is too early to bang pots and pans around and cook to my hearts content because roommates sleep and neighbours can hear everything? Yeah. Do I want to break down and freak out because I can’t even take a walk to calm my nerves or just a stroll to the park for some sun and fresh air because my neighbourhood isn’t safe enough? Even with Bear by my side? You betcha.
Am I upset and annoyed that my apartment is too dry to keep plants alive, and gives me headaches and sore throats, that the blinds are caked in sticky vape smoke, yellowed from past tenants smoking, that there is no room for a desk to blog, or to give Bear more space to get his energy out? You have no idea. Do I feel defeated that I just can’t beat the stress and feel normal?
That I feel sick too often and it affects my work and social life, that I can’t see family? Am I annoyed about the guilt that follows me around everyday like a dark cloud or pain in my chest and head because I should be doing better, others expect me to do better, that I am “young” and shouldn’t feel this way. Am I exasperated that I can’t lose weight thanks to stress and the obsessive compulsive eating disorder that follows me everywhere I go? Everyday.
But these are the things I am working through, I am working towards better things everyday. This is why self care is so important, this is why reaching out to family and friends, reaching out for help is important. Patience is a virtue no one tells you is some days almost impossible. I save money from every paycheck, and every paycheck I get closer to my goal, everything is moving, not fast enough, it just seems too slow.
Everyday I get better at focusing on self care, eating healthy and exercising (though still struggling with daily exercise), I am getting healthier, I have more and more better days. It is one day at a time. Sometimes it seems like nothing is moving fast enough if you’re anything like me, but hang in there, keep trying, because although it may not seem fast, things are still moving, and that is all that matters!