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Stress - It's a Killer

Everything feels tight these days. My chest, my grasp on patience, my stress levels. Just... a lot on my mind and the plate full of responsibilities in front of me.

We had some trauma this past weekend. It was hard to deal with and still is. There's a lot of guilt, sadness, and more going around. Not just me, but other family members as well.

And you know how it is. When one area dive-bombs, so do others. A cascade of dominoes that ripple across your life and have all of your facets off-kilter. Times when life is just overwhelming. And I don't know if your inner voice is as critical and mean as mine is (I certainly hope it isn't), but my inner voice starts up a litany of shortcomings that have me looking and feeling like I'm on level with the Anti-Christ. It sucks, and it is counterproductive.

As I was driving from dropping off my teen, and heading for the grocery store, the thought occurred to me - Why don't I write it all out, all the stuff that is bothering me?

I finished with the grocery shopping, fended off the wailing boy-child (he was overdue for sleep, honestly, being put in his crib was better for everyone involved), and took a few minutes to list it all out.

I typed it, because I didn't want to spend too long writing and summarizing things that I ended up forgetting others. I mean, heck, if you are going to write a list of stressors, make the list complete!

And this is a good thing to use when I am down in the dumps and certain I'll never figure this whole "living life to the fullest" crap. Or, you know, just be a baseline happy. Taking into account trauma? That might not happen for a few more days, but I miss that ferocious surge of happiness I use to get every few months or so. That one that just fills you with all the possibility and light life has to offer. I realized around six months ago, maybe less, that I just haven't felt that recently. Which seems ridiculous, really. I'm no longer stuck in an office working for "the man." No more corporate, "got to dress professional, suck up and never miss a day and maybe I'll get a raise next review, but the cap is 3% so don't hold my breath." My days are mine to fashion - keeping in mind that I need to be at home from 11-1 every day of the week because I usually need to clean at least one of the short-term rentals. I can wake at 5 a.m., or as late as 6:30 (I've got a toddler, people, there are some limits!), and because I am here, I can eat whenever I want, read, create art, or write - my day is my own.

I've wondered if it is a product of age, this miasma that overtakes me. This feeling that no matter what I do, it isn't enough. It never can be. Did I hit my 50s and earn a depression badge? What is this?

Is it cultural? I get plenty of "bitch, you are crazy" looks from women when I list the ages of my children. Or even better, tell them how old I will be when the final child leaves the house.

And my children? They each have had a very different mother. Each of them. I think that some things become so much less important in the raising of children as you age. To the point that sometimes entire mountains you climbed with one, you neatly avoid with the others.

For example, I feed my kids sugary cereal now. My firstborn never had it growing up. And my secondborn watched me flip mid-mountain on the whole thing. More of a tall hill for kid #2. With #3, the mountain returned, but only long enough for me to do a hard correct and just give child #3 anything she would willingly eat because she is skin and bones. #4 child? He could really use less sugar. The mountain has vanished, it's just a leisurely walk to hell at this point. "Wants some Cocoa Pebbles, sweetie? Or Captain Crunch?"

Where was I? Oh yeah, miasma, stress, depression.

I made my list and immediately, the answers/solutions began brewing in my mind. Our minds are problem-solving machines. Ask me a question, and I'll damn near fall over myself answering it. It is a rare, rare day I will NOT answer a question. It's like a compulsion with me.

So if one of my stressors is my writing, and in particular, finishing a certain project I've been working on, then the questions go something like this:

Q: What is stressing me out about my writing?

A: That I have at most ten more days before I need to submit Broken Code to Amazon and the other locations for pre-order. I don't want to disappoint my readers, of which there are at least SIXTY waiting for Broken Code and the first box set of Benton Security Services. And I've already postponed the release once. If I do it again, KDP will punish me by prohibiting me from creating another pre-order, and worse, my readers who have pre-ordered these books will be frustrated.

I knew the answer. As soon as I listed the whole stressor, I knew what I needed to do. As I saw it, I had three options:

  1. Quit completely

  2. Push on through and put out a product that was, you know, just okay

  3. Push it off for another month and finish it the right way.

So, yeah. I've pushed it off for another month. That's the first item on my list of stressors. Ding! Less stressed out! Instant results in how I felt, because this was a big issue that has really been weighing on me. A people pleaser to my core, I hate to disappoint others.

Next up? Another dozen stressers that need a plan of action.

Be well, folks. Take care of yourselves!

Find Me on Facebook Join my group General Malcontent's Grumbles and Scribbles on Facebook and get plenty of weird memes, the opportunity to read my newest releases for free, pics of the family, and other author news. I look forward to seeing you there!

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