Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Stress...Why is There No Chocolate Coating for You?

Dear Sentry,

It's confessional time! I was going to write "confessional hour" but I really hope this letter doesn't take anywhere close to an hour to read! That would be where I'd encourage skimming of the letter or avoid reading it altogether! This is a letter meant to help me work through some of my thoughts that I've had recently. Some are connected to the last letter but mostly it's about stress.

Stress is that thing that you feel but don't want to deal with. You can't run from it and you can't fight it most times with your fists (or a swift kick to the nether regions). Stress is that feeling that you're facing a lot of hell and all you want to do is scream, rant, or laugh at it because you can't think of anything else sane. Well, Sentry, if you don't feel that way about stress, that's what I feel. Stress is something that I feel at the bottom of my stomach that creeps up my spine. It's a heaviness that I feel that sometimes makes me sick and sometimes just makes me not sure what to do. I wanna curl up in a ball and forget what I'm feeling but I know that I can't deal with it.

Stress or anxiety, the terms are interchangeable to me. When I feel panic or a panic that I can't remedy immediately, it takes the form of shallow breathing in my lungs. I feel scared to the point that I lose the ability to function. I just want to run. I've done this sometimes. My poor wife once had this happen to her. I ran from what was giving me tremendous anxiety and slept on her couch. Her roommate came home later, saw me on the couch and thought I was a rapist come to end their lives or something. Evidently, Sentry, when I sleep I look like a crazy man. But let's be real, I look no different from when I'm awake! Except that I don't rape. Ever. That was for clarification in case you think I'd do that.


A video to lighten the mood:

(Karen Walker, the answer is, "Yes!")

Returning to the letter:

My friends have seen this stress of mine in different forms: scatterbrained, confused, or denial of things. Suddenly information becomes locked away deep and I don't want to talk about it. It won't even make sense why I'm suddenly not willing to talk about it. At times this is cause I don't want to face whatever it is because on some deep level I'm terrified of it.

This past year, I've come to realize, has been about me finally confronting and recognizing stress. I am a dork and will cry over many things: babies, old and familiar religious music (some habits die hard), sad or poignant moments in movies, after laughing too hard, or if I get hurt. I cry or just curl up in the fetal position when I'm stressed. Sometimes I'll just sit where I'm at and stare at nothing for a while because anything else would be me facing that stress or anxiety and I just can't do that at the moment.

I don't write this, Sentry, to make you feel pity or want to help me feel better. I'll be on my feet and smiling and laughing in a few minutes anyway just do to my cheerful nature. I'm pretty cheerful around my friends most times. But then, when no one is around, I'll sit very still and just stop. It isn't always cause I'm relaxing. It's cause I'm hiding from that monster in my mind called stress.

I have a goal now. I want to face my stress, find coping techniques, medicine if I must, and gain information to better understand just what is happening in my brain.

Your friend,