Thursday, May 19, 2011

Stress, Breakdowns and Emotional Callouses

    Working late on an over-grandious project last night, back muscle crying, scalp peeling away from my skull with tension, hands cramping from over-use, and eyeballs dessicated and burning, I was struck with the overwhelming realization that there is no aspect of my life that doesn't cause me stress. Work, I will barely mention, is an ongoing stress-fest. But even outside of work it seems the best I can achieve is a balancing act; stress in, stress out. Maybe that is all I can ever hope for? That for all the stress loaded upon my shoulders, I have to hope that I can manage an equal reduction of stress?
    I will say, my animals offer an equal balance. For all the garbage raids, squabbles, damaged furniture, barking at the neighbor, 3am pesterings, and random escapes there is the counterbalance of unconditional love, near psychic understanding of my bleak moods, and sheer comic relief.
    My art is another near-equal balance. I love the creative flow, studying, designing, scheming, planning, colors, words, lines, and esthetics but find myself stressed and burdened by time frames, self-expectations, ocd perfectionism, too much to do and too little time.
    But both my animals and my art are essential aspects of who I am. They are the reason I chose to struggle through the depths of bleakness instead of numbing myself with chemicals, so as to be able to feel the elation, life and love that streams through me through my companions and my creativity. I would rather live in a world of rollercoaster emotions, than to plod through scenery painted in shades of grey.
    Stress, though it causes me countless sleepless nights, anxiety attacks, inexplicable cravings for chocolate and carbs, anger, frustration and uncountable aches and pains, it is still a driving force behind so much that I do. I plan ahead for ways to release my daily pent up stress that follows me home from work like an annoying insect. I walk the dogs, lift weights, beat on a heavy bag, yoga, dance, music, writing, and on rare ocassions I clean like a freak. Stress, though it makes me unhappy is still a part of what makes me who I am, just as my animals and art define me, so does my stress. Though stress will make me breakdown under the weight, it makes me come back stronger. Mentally, emotionally and physically stronger. I am building callouses on my mind and soul to help deflect the needling anguish that pecks away at my psyche with the tenacity of a termite. With each meltdown comes a rebuilding. Each rebuilding using modified blueprints, earthquake resistant tie-downs, tsunami worthy fasteners, and an ever deeper, sturdier foundation.
    The day will come when external stress no longer has the ability to wreak havoc. It will become as insignificant as ripples in a puddle, lapping at my toes.

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