The stress confession

(Sorry, my autosave cut off the last portion of this blog post. The last couple of sentences are there now)

“Could stress be your problem?”

“I don’t feel stressed,” I replied automatically as I shielded my eyes from the overhead light in an effort to ease my pounding headache.

It’s totally not stress, I thought to myself, stress happens to boomers who work 60 hours a week, people who can’t afford to eat, and those irritating girls I went to college with who were constantly chirping “I’m SO stressed!” at even the simplest assignment. I just need to be better. Work out more. Get more sleep. Eat better. This’ll go away.

This morning I was awakened by a cat crawling over me. As I worked slowly into consciousness, I found myself panicking.

That was a request! Where’s my Request Log form? *flipping through an imaginary clipboard* Okay, okay, I found it. Activity: sleeping. Item requested: attention. Words used: “MEEEEEOW”

Wait, that’s not right.

I woke up, laughed, and gave the noisy cat some attention, thinking about how I must really need a break from work.

Hmmmmm…..

With my hands occupied with the cat, I let my mind work. Okay, so emotionally, I feel pretty good. I feel happy, confident, fulfilled, sometimes excited, and relatively creative. And physically?

I suddenly realized that there was actually quite a list of physical symptoms. The weird super early morning insomnia, the prolonged appetite weirdness, and my recent habit of grinding my teeth are all things that have never been an issue before. I’ve been taking longer to heal, had more headaches than normal, and random muscles are often sore for no obvious reason.

So, emotionally I may be fine, but I’m starting to entertain the idea that my body may be telling me that there’s something wrong.

I feel weak for blaming any or all of this on stress, but it does make sense. I recently started a demanding job, and am working more hours than I expected. Part of that job is dealing with lots and lots of paperwork, and the panic at not being able to find a certain data sheet hasn’t been limited to the realm of dreams. Additionally, most of my support network of friends and Adrian have been away for the last several weeks.

The best advice I’ve received for this elusive stress-but-doesn’t-feel-like-stress was to imagine what I’d tell someone in my situation, and then go do that. That feels a little weird, but it’s worth a shot.

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