Thursday, February 5, 2009

thursday thirteen: things I do when I am stressed

There is a new Thursday thirteen blog out there (link here) and I'm giving the topic another shot.
Here are thirteen "things" I do when I am stressed. I have to say that I am not easily stressed, it takes a lot - especially at work - to get me stressed.

1. Hold my breath. I don't realize I am doing it until my chest hurts, and once I DO realize it I stop, but it's one of the first signs to me that I am under stress.

2. Furrow my brow. This one makes me laugh because I don't even know I am doing it and Shel and friends who know me well will point it out. "Uh oh, there's a crease in your head!"

3. I say stupid things. I don't ALWAYS say stupid things but today I was stressed and I heard the words coming out of my mouth and regretted them as they were spilling out. My spouse said she was going to shave her legs and I said "hurry up". DUMB DUMB DUMB. I could also tell I made her mad because she turned and shut the door without another word, but I ALREADY knew it was dumb. WHOOPS!

4. I fall into old habits - like obsessing about time - when it does no good at all. How does being obsessed about time reduce stress? It doesn't. You heard it here folks.

5. Drink coke. I have done REALLY well at reducing my coke intake and then today I think I drank 8 cans. I certainly drank enough to make my hands shake.

6. Forget to eat. This is bad news because stress + low blood sugar = calamity

7. Write emotional responses to emails. The GOOD thing is that I have learned not to SEND the emails I have written until later when I have read them over and can edit out where I call people idiots and say they are stupid.

8. Call my spouse. If there is anyone in the world who can sense my frustration and remind to me breathe, eat and NOT send my e-mails it is my spouse.

9. I believe I have ADD. It is and has always been very difficult for me to focus completely on one thing exclusively. I have turned this into a strength over the years and you would be amazed at how many things I can pay attention to atll at once. My lack of focus I have been able to turn into focus of many things concurrently. When I am stressed, and also when I am mad, I can LITERALLY see only in tunnel vision. My peripheral vision gets black and I become virtually incapable of focusing on more than one thing at a time. When this vision thing happens to me sometimes it is the first trigger to me to let me know something is happening in my world that is making me mad. Interesting little story here. I had a phone conversation with my brother Justin when I was telling him that I was gay. I waited the longest to tell Justin, which he has expressed sadness over, but in my mind he was the person I wanted to "lose" the least and so I put off telling him the longest. in the phone conversation with him I was obviously very stressed and I was plying a handheld game of tetris. I was so intensely focussed on that game to the exclusion of everything around me and so "frantic" (which I comment on in #13) that I scored the highest I have ever scored before or since that time.

10. I tense up. I'm pretty sure it happens to everyone under stress. Sometimes I only feel this long after the stress is over, like the next morning when I can barely move.

11. Pick.

12. Get Loud. I have never done "quiet". I have been accused of being loud since I was very small and sometimes people have even told me to 'Shush' when I am in a group - which is both annoying and embarrassing. When I am stressed I can hear my volume increase.

13. My overall "speed" increases. I become almost frantic in the pace of doing things. I type faster, I walk faster, I drive faster etc. etc. This is different than my obsession with time.

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