Why Am I Stressed?

I have been asking myself this a lot lately and haven’t been able to put my finger on a specific answer. Then I get more stressed because I can’t figure it out. Stress is a vicious cycle for me that comes out towards others. Stress is a battle I have fought all of my life and will continue to fight every single day. For me, stress is like bad heartburn that never leaves.

But it isn’t just stress. My stress enables and exaggerates my anxiety. When I’m stressed, I snap about things that aren’t perfect or my anxiety about what might go wrong or who I’m offending is quick to escalate. A lot of people say “get over it, just relax” and I wish I could. I fight every single day trying to figure out how to just chill out. I watch other people act like they have absolutely no care in the world and I am almost envious of how easy it is for them. At least it looks easy from my point of view.

Right now, as I’m writing this, why am I stressed? I can’t nail down one specific thing. I feel like it is a smattering of multiple triggers that keep compounding on each other.

Seeing that we are coming out of quarantine, you might think it is because we can’t go anywhere. Nope, I am LOVING staying home. I am an introvert who likes my freedom at home. I mean, I do like to travel, but as I turn internal and search, not traveling is not even bubbling as a potential trigger. But I think I might have just identified one thing from a previous sentence. “My freedom at home.” I haven’t had my freedom at home because I’ve had house guests for over a month. Maybe this is one of my triggers. This introvert hasn’t had her space or things exactly as she wants them in her house so she is triggered.

I did tell Eddie the other day that I am over-peopled. You know, it’s an extension of being over-stimulated but because people have been around too much. I can kick Eddie to the basement or outside or even to a friends’. I can’t boot house guests. It’s not like I don’t like these people, hell, I even love them. I think I’m just coming to a realization that I can only tolerate extra people for so long and then I need space. This may sound rude to the house guests, but it isn’t. It is a personality and self-care acknowledgement. I’m not going to boot my house guests at all. I will just space them out a bit further next time they might be here one right after the other.

Work has been so busy that it is definitely a stressor. I feel like I haven’t been able to get anything accomplished even though I have. I know this is one of my stress and anxiety triggers so I am making sure to disconnect and not review every email that comes in after I’ve logged out for the day.

Why am I stressed? I think I found a couple of reasons, but I think there are more. For me there usually are.

While yes, stress is a bad thing for us, we can’t always prevent it. We must work through it and keep going. Or take a break and fully disconnect. Both are necessary, but sometimes only one is possible. The most important thing about being stressed is to work on not living in that stressed feeling. If we can do a little work and a little more to overcome the stress, we will get through it. The day that we live fully in the stress is the day that we start shutting the door to coming out of the stressed mode. Don’t live there. It won’t do you any good.

How do I get unstressed? It depends on what is happening in life. Right now, I am breathing through every moment that I feel the stress coming on and taking over. If I miss the onset, I apologize for the flip out I just had and reflect on how I could have identified it without demeaning myself. I also try to remove the direct stressor or something else to allow more room for whatever is going on. Crying helps too. Let it all out.

Life can be stressful. Life can be beautiful. My life does not exist without both the stress and the beauty. I choose each day to work past the stress to see the beautiful life that I have created.

The Reason is Fear

My last post was a follow up to one from a couple months ago and today’s post is kind of a summarization of what I’m realizing the common theme is.

The theme is fear. The reason is fear. Fear is what causes my need to people please. Fear is the root of feeling like I can’t live my life, my way, in my own home.

This fear is irrational and is obviously ruining my days and weeks when other people stay long-term in my home. I have allowed this fear to control everything about me. It paralyzes me. I allow it to paralyze me.

I am laying here on the couch writing this as my friend is at the lake for the weekend. Sigh of relief, I have my home back. It feels refreshing.

Then I think of her returning and all of the things I can’t do so I don’t wake her in the morning or offend her or give her reason to judge me for what I am working on. I can’t listen to anything with my office door open. I can’t record in my own office so she doesn’t hear me and can’t judge me. I can’t go about my day the way I am used to.

It’s not just her. It is anybody that stays with us. I tell myself I can’t do all of these things so I don’t inconvenience our guests. Their comfort in my home is more important than my comfort in my home.

Why?

Fear.

Where does this fear stem from? Why do I continue to let it rule and ruin my life? Why don’t I just stop and do my thing in my home?

This fear stems from always getting in trouble for making any kind of noise in the house at anytime that interrupted my parents. It isn’t just about music. This had been ingrained in me so much that walking hard of the wood floor terrifies me and when other people do it, pisses me off or makes me think they are angry. Making any kind of noise with dishes, plates or pots and pans or anything, when moving about the kitchen is torture to me. Why are you so angry that you have to slam the dishes around? I’m so sorry I made noise when I put the pan away.

Noises. Any kind of them. They all cause me deep rooted fear of inconveniencing others or pissing them off. I don’t want to make other people angry. I do everything possible to make people happy because when they are angry I’ve obviously done something wrong.

This fear is as deep as any fear can be. And writing this post is helping me to identify is better than I ever have. Just thinking about all of the noises that cause me fear in my own home has made me realize that this is most definitely a bigger issue to work on than just people staying in my home and me feeling that I can’t live a normal life. I mean, I don’t typically make noise when Eddie is sleeping in on the weekends. If I do, there are multiple doors and a pillow covering his ears so he can’t hear me.

It definitely isn’t them. It’s me.

I continue to live with this fear because it hurts so deep when I feel I’ve been too loud or pissed someone off. This pain is more than just in my bones. It’s is my entire being. It literally takes over my body and mind. Pushing against that pain and fear causes more pain and fear.

The only way I can see to push back against the fear and overcome the pain is to start small. Small noises. Maybe some music with the door closed. Maybe not yelling at Eddie to stop stomping or asking him why he is so angry that he has to stomp. Maybe recording the next video in my office regardless of who is in the guest room next to me. Maybe working from the couch when I want and asking my mother-in-law to turn the TV down (you know, the next time she is here). Maybe listening to the next morning show with the office door open. All the while not saying sorry.

Maybe one little step at a time will help me to overcome the pain from the fear. Maybe it will help to break down that fear and that wall. Maybe I can finally release myself from the fear of noise pissing other people off.

Maybe.

Fear: I Can’t Do What I Need in My Own Home

Not long ago we had company for a week. Company that we love having and wouldn’t want to push away. But I work from home. And I tend to work in more locations than just the office with the desk. I have a lounger section of our couch and the kitchen counter that I work from. Working on a laptop makes it easy to have a spare charging cord for mobility and moving wherever I feel.

But, when we had company, I felt like I was stuck in the office. It came to a point that I had to make a decision: let my feelings make me feel like a prisoner because I thought it would be rude to work where I’m the most comfortable, or do what my body needed and find a middle ground.

You see, it isn’t as easy as just hanging out together doing our own thing, the company requires the TV on all day, louder than I prefer. I can’t work with TV all day. I felt like I would be rude if I told the company that they had to turn the TV off or down to accompany me. I felt like I would be an asshole to this person. Some people would tell me that I am rude for just writing about this situation or that I’m being selfish or nitpicky about the situation.

But I really needed my spot on the couch. It was the days before my period and my back was tired. It needed different support than my office chair, I probably could have even laid down some. I physically couldn’t stay in the office without getting more and more uncomfortable.

So, I had to choose, give in to my fear or do what I needed for me.

I chose to try to find a middle ground. I get up and start working much earlier that the company gets up for the day, so I definitely worked on my couch then. As different calls came up I worked with the company to make sure we both got what we needed.

Yes, I felt like a major asshole, but this is my house and I have a right to take care of myself. I have always feared doing something for me over inconveniencing someone else. I ALWAYS put myself out so I wouldn’t cause any issues for anybody else. Fear was running my life in these situations. I deserve to be cared for by myself. Nobody will care for me more than I care for myself and nobody should. Nobody will give me permission to care for myself, I have to give myself that permission.

I am slowing learning to work through my fears and overcome them, especially when it comes to inconveniencing or putting out other people. I 100 percent deserve the same care and respect I give them before I give it to someone else. I am slowing learning to respect for and care for myself first. By caring for myself first, I can give more.

Let that sit with you for a minute. The more I care for myself first, the more I can give. Does that sound backwards to you? It did to me the first time I heard it. Now that I’ve worked on it and started putting myself first, I find it to be so true.

You have to fill your cup before you can fill anybody else’s cup. You can’t give from an empty cup. You can’t give from a tired, worn out self.

You do you and you do you first.