Stress. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I keep telling myself that. Stress is one of those buzz words in our culture that implies that something is wrong. It’s not something that needs to be. It is simply an outside force acting on us exerting pressure. Is there a way to reframe it so that it doesn’t feel so negative? So overwhelming? Uh…I’m trying to get there.
Some real talk? I am really stressed. I can feel it, but I can’t seem to offload it. It is just sitting in my body. Piling on. My therapist asked me yesterday what I’m doing to manage the stress and practice self-care. Well, I’m taking every medication I have to manage my autoimmune symptoms and migraines because that is where the stress is showing up. It is translating to pain. Extraordinary pain in my head. Neuralgia. The kind that neurologists usually give you narcotics and anticonvulsants to manage. I’ve got both, and I am using both in the evenings. I’m almost 43 years-old, and I have Lupus-related vasculitis that is manifesting as trigeminal neuralgia–a horribly painful condition that can stop anytime thank you very much. I’d like my cranial nerve back please.
This is one very big downside of divorce even if the dissolution of the relationship was for the good. Stress. My therapist is finally speaking plainly to me which is refreshing: “Are you feeling safer in your home now that you are not in an abusive relationship?” Well now, isn’t that interesting? “What can you do to feel even safer?” He is now calling it what it was: an abusive relationship. That’s stressful to me. It’s one thing when you know what something is. It’s another when someone else does, too. Yeah, okay. I just left an abusive relationship. I did it. I should feel really good about that, and I do. My daughters are singing my praises as are my friends. But, there are days that I just want to sit and cry about it. Not because I still love him. I don’t. This isn’t about him anymore at all. I actually have some really good things in my life. It’s just been a long road, and I’m weary. I look back sometimes and think, “Shit. Can I never, ever go through that again? Can I have a break now?” But, life is just moving ahead at light speed, and I have to continue to keep up. It is hard. Hard to keep running sometimes.
My oldest daughter went to college four days after my ex-husband moved out. Two major life changes in one week. And, she is struggling with homesickness. Yesterday, I had five conversations via text at the same time, putting out various fires. I drove to my daughter’s college campus to take her out to dinner. Managed my youngest daughter’s First Day of Middle School anxiety. As I’ve told a few people, there is a fifth horseman of the Apocalypse, and she is in charge of the lunchroom according to my daughter. One of Satan’s minions is her science teacher, and, as if I did not know this, in middle school, “everyone is herded like cattle!” Oh yes, I remember it well. I’m fairly certain that Satan himself was my Algebra teacher in 8th grade.
I have to meet with my ex-husband at a Caribou Coffee tonight to discuss financial issues. This is how I feel about that:
You know what though? I am going on an extended weekend trip. I leave tomorrow. I planned it a few months ago. I am having surgery next week. This trip is entirely for me. The second time in 19 years that I’ve gone anywhere without my kids. So, this is the good part. I suspect that the only way to deal with high stress levels is to get through it. Just show up and keep showing up. Running from it makes it worse. Increase that distress tolerance and forge ahead. Eventually, this stress will be replaced by a different one, and perhaps I’ll like the new stress a bit more. Sort of like planning a European vacation can be stressful, but that stress is far more desirable than talking finances with your ex-husband.
I’ve come this far. I’ve got to keep going even if I’m tired and in pain. There is no turning back now. Building out a life and defining one’s own happiness is a privilege, and I’m grateful for the opportunity. Forging a new path, however, is not easy. I won’t lie to anyone.
This? This is stressful, but I know that it’s worth every bit of the present pain. As a rabbi once said, “If you do not want it all, then you do not want enough.”
Want it all so that you’ll want enough when life becomes hard.