The Deadly Stress

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There’s never a dull moment, never a down time in my life, it seems. We have been in Hilton Head, SC for about five weeks now, and as it often happens, my health takes a nosedive as soon as I stop to rest.

After a month of December with stressful events at my church I was left quite drained and unmotivated, depressed actually. I did manage to get my mojo going again a couple of days before all the family arrived for Christmas celebrations, and then I sped into high gear.

I don’t know why I still think I have to be supermom, the Christmas fairy and Martha Stewart all rolled into one, but that’s what I attempt when my grown children come home for Christmas. The food traditions, the stocking traditions, the drawing on the revered tablecloth, I did it all and barely lived to tell the tale. This, coupled with four 2 ½ hour round  trips back and forth from the airport in some intense weather, all on the heels of December’s earlier events became more than I could handle. I mean, I handled it on the outside and thought I was doing pretty well. But inside I was not handling it. Don’t get me wrong- I loved every moment with my family. I think I just need to tone things down a bit and be easier on myself.

I am 64, not 44 or 34, but I keep thinking I can do everything I always did. Was I in for a rude awakening!

We took the last bunch to the airport on December 29th and then rushed home to shut down the house, pack the suitcases and car, clean out the fridge, clean the bathrooms, change beds and in general, get ready to drive three days to Hilton Head Island for three months. At 5AM on December 30 we left, in sub zero temperatures.

Once we arrived and settled in to the condo that has become our second home, bought the first grocery order and let everyone know we had arrived safely, the two of us collapsed. And about a week later I got sick.

What do you know; I had these suspiciously familiar symptoms with accompanying rash that a trip to the doctor confirmed as shingles…again. I had shingles three years ago as a result of intense stress in my life, and I swore that it would never happen again.

Well it did.

Compounding the distress was another rash all over my body that was not shingles. Two trips to the doctor never did give me an explanation of what it was. Probably more evidence of my body just telling me to rest and stop taking on things that I’m not able to handle any more, and to stop taking myself so seriously. A series of Prednisone and cortisone cream helped to finally get things under control after several days.

This latest illness is a warning but also a signpost for me to take stock of my life and what’s left of it.

So when people ask me if Dave and I are enjoying our ‘vacation’ in South Carolina, I have to qualify that it is not a ‘vacation’. We are living in SC for three months. And then I have to say that I have been sick once again, kicking myself in the a$$ once again for letting it happen. I am finally learning that I have to pull back and say ‘no’ to things that drag me down, stress me and make me sick.

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Positively Supermom

Positively No Negativity Challenge

Day 29 of 84

 The Positively No Negativity Challenge is now one third done. How am I doing? Well, I have managed to ‘put myself out there’ as I said I would, and in so doing I’ve become a much more positive person. I am not where I want to be yet, but I’m seeing progress.

I smile more.

I’m not quite as fatalistic as I was a month ago.

I’m finding solutions for dealing with certain problems rather than whining about them.

I am more able to put issues in their proper perspective and worry less about them.

I like myself more.

Well that’s a good start. All that being said, and as I’m being so positive this morning, last evening was another story. I’m still trying to figure that one out.

Sometimes having a light and positive attitude can be shattered by just a little thing and that can turn into an avalanche. See, yesterday I started fretting about my old car that is still not sold and all the negative thoughts came in: I’ll have to store it for the winter, it’s a rotten car and no one will buy it, I’ll have to haul it away to the junkyard, and so on.

That brought me on to worry about my son’s concussion and that he will never heal, he’ll scrap his school year and why can’t I make it better for him.

As if that wasn’t bad enough I started thinking about Christmas and all the things I have to do in the next couple of weeks: I don’t have time, I don’t have ideas for gifts, I don’t have enough money to buy them, I’ll gain ten pounds from all the baking and I’m not up to being Supermom this year.

So, armed with all that negativity, I started picking at the only other person around: my poor husband. He did manage to talk me down, but not before I whined loudly and clearly.

Poor him.

So this morning I am trying to put all these things in perspective. What happened to that perky, positive person I was just two days ago? Well she’s still here but now she has to start goal setting for the next couple of weeks and making lists of things she can accomplish day by day. She needs to go visit her son and make sure he’s ok, but most importantly, she needs to look at her blessings and to thank God for everything in her life, both the good and the not-so-good.

So here we go…

Today I am thankful

1. That my son only has a concussion. It could have been so much worse.

2. That I don’t need to sell my car to put food on the table.

3. That my kids are coming home for Christmas (and I will be Supermom)

4. That my husband loves me even when I am not lovable.

5. That God loves me anyway.

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