Stress is just horrible, isn’t it?
The NHS says that stress is “the feeling of being under too much mental or physical pressure”, but I’m not sure I agree with this. My life isn’t pressured right now, really. It’s certainly busy, and tiring, but I don’t feel pressured.
Last year I was signed off from work due to stress – working two jobs, both of which are demanding and essentially require your whole self, the whole time, that’s pressurised.
This, right now, is nothing.
So why am I stressed?!
I think for me, stress happens when I don’t feel like my life is working out as I would like it, and when I have no control or no idea what to do to make a difference. Right now, I feel like aspects of my past are coming back to haunt me and I don’t want this. I’m seeing old troubles repeating themselves, and other than completely changing my entire personality there is nothing I can do to stop it.
This is what’s making me stressed.
Last year, after being signed off, I promised myself that I would do better at recognising the “warning signs”, so that I don’t get sucked down into that nightmare again.
So how do I know?
My throat hurts – as a teenager I had recurring bouts of tonsilitis, every 6-8 weeks, which would knock me out for a week at at time. My doctor said it was partly a genetic predisposition to the infection, but it could also be due to stress. I had my tonsils out 2 years ago so now I know that if I get a sore throat it means I’m stressing too much.
I get obsessively neat – yes, I am a total control freak. At the best of times this is manageable, and I can even get to be borderline messy (shock horror) if I am completely happy. But, if things around me are out of my control, I resort to obsessively controlling the area that I can – my house. My neatness comes out in needing everything clean and tidy with things to be in their proper places.
I talk to others less – as a naturally introverted person I do often have to force myself to hold conversations and be sociable. When I’m stressed this effort really drops and I’m perfectly content in my own company
I call my Mum more often – this is pretty obvious, right? She’s like my comfort blanket and if things aren’t going well I need to talk it through with her
I don’t sleep well – I love my sleep. I need at least eight hours a night, if not nine. When I’m stressed, it shows in my sleep pattern – I get fidgety and uncomfortable, I throw my pillows around and my quilt usually ends up rotated 90 degrees if not completely upside down!
I know it may seem strange that I’ve made a blog post out of a list of stress-symptoms, but it actually does help me to identify what’s going on and begin to do something about it. Plus, it’s my blog so if you don’t like my choice of subjects, it’s a bit tough actually!