MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “stress”

The talk we don’t need to hear

https://img.clipartfest.com/375b05ec1c968abc0180db030fb44d40_-i-should-calm-down-calm-down-clip-art_433-284.jpegThere is a very well-known fact that no-one ever calmed down by being told to calm down. On the contrary, this only causes further irritation.

Because when you’re stressed, angry, or upset about something – anything, whatever that may be – the last thing you need is people telling you to do the one thing you know you need to do.

You’d much rather have someone say something optimistic, positive, reassuring, caring. Someone who maybe would offer some food – chocolate, to be more precise. Someone who would wrap you in a tight hug that would transmit the feeling that everything will be all right. Maybe not at that very instant, but eventually. You just need to be patient. And believe that things will turn out in the end.

It is true that we need to find ways to eliminate stress from our lives. We already know that. We don’t need to hear the obvious. We’d much rather be shown some tender, love and care instead.

Cursed to feel

https://secure.static.tumblr.com/5332aa58d90d1b62cdcfb76b42e2fc3a/uhqpxjc/kAgn1552y/tumblr_static_dark_rose_by_darkblade221-d3fa2xy.jpgIt may be a sign of determination; of decisiveness; sometimes even stubbornness. But it may also be one of insecurity; often even fear. When we set our minds on something and stick to it; when we ponder too much over it; when we refuse to simply let it go. It’s what adds to the stress of our daily lives and disrupts our pleasant mood for no apparent reason.

As difficult as it may be, we need to train ourselves to let some things slide. Especially those we most fear. Because it is true that the greatest things will happen when we distance ourselves from negativity. It’s not about pretending that you don’t care; it’s about getting over it and paying more attention to the things that really matter.

We are cursed to feel. As much as we may love and laugh and live, feeling is the most profound of all experiences we have. And the deeper you feel, the more you overthink, you overanalyze, you stress, and you worry.

It was Oprah Winfrey who said “if you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough”.

Everything is a matter of perspective, of focus and what you (choose to) hold onto.

The opposite limits

opposite arrowsHer name was Patience, which was ironic because she had none. She was the type of person who wanted things done in a specific way, quite swiftly too. It was the consequence of being a perfectionist with a high dose of OCD. And the very fact that she was so meticulous and thorough with whatever she did, meant that she would be irritated by anything of lesser quality. But what was worse of all, was how she reacted to unjustified pressure.

Because often, people work harder when under pressure, as they feel the knife’s edge closing in. But Patience disliked being forced to do something she was going to see to either way. In her mind, it was a useless paradox that was simply unproductive.

So whenever her grandmother forced her to “eat all her peas”, Patience would not touch a single one. The same happened when her parents asked her to “clean up her room”. Or when her supervisor “demanded” a draft copy on his desk “by no later than midday”. She was the person who would eat her peas, clean up her room and get the report done on time, regardless. For this reason, she saw it as demeaning to be pressured so strongly to perform these actions.

As such, her family and colleagues soon realized that just like her name implied, Patience required that very trait, and in fact, the opposite treatment. So, they would tell her she didn’t have to eat all her peas if she didn’t want to. Or that her room seemed clean enough as it was. Or that the report could be handed in as soon as it was done. Left on her own terms, Patience was happy to prove that she could be better than what anyone expected. She gained a sense of satisfaction in that. In proving how disciplined and productive she could be, even without the added pressure. Because she believed that sometimes, that is all we really need. To be allowed to demonstrate your true capabilities without feeling that you are constantly being judged. Sure, it is good and necessary to have some kind of timeline and order in life, but just like everything, there needs to be a limit to it all.

A preemptive apology

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-kYK1Euo8dgk/UPZiUC8dZoI/AAAAAAAAGj4/VUOPHLDqpMU/w800-h800/coco.jpgIt is a fact that you moan when you’re tired. And you get grumpy. And easily irritated. And all of a sudden very emotional.

Being tired is like being drunk. You shift into alternate emotions so rapidly that the person next to you has no time to realise what hit them.

It’s also like being hungry: like that Snickers ad campaign states, “you’re not you when you’re hungry”.

If you’re a woman during a certain time of the month, that simply accentuates the problem. Add the heat and your patience has just run out.

Our fast life rhythms keep us alert perhaps far more than we can cope with. Because sometimes, you need time off everything to re-instate order in your life and make your affairs manageable again.

We all pass through periods of (extreme) exhaustion. It happens, because we want to believe that we can handle more than we truly can. And often because we don’t see the tiredness setting in until our organism itself begins to protest. That is when it strikes you. And that is when you begin to moan. To become irritable, stretching that vein in your head that is ready to pop whenever you reach your limits either of yelling or of tension.

The meltdown / outburst is usually short-lived but long-felt. It is a time when you easily blurb out things you don’t mean, that you shouldn’t say in the first place, but which you do because the exhaustion has drained out the best of you. You quickly regret it all and a feeling of remorse sets in quicker than a brain freeze. You are able to calm down within minutes after the explosion, trying to explain to those around you that you are just not you when you’re tired.

So, for all those instances that this has happened – and it is repeated quite a lot lately for the obvious reasons already stated – I want to apologise. I am sorry I yell so easily, shrieking my little vein off, and jumping at the slightest of remarks. I am sorry that I have allowed myself to reach the verge of exhaustion to the extent that I cannot think clearly or rationally at times, becoming all the more annoyed if people follow a different trail of thought. And I am sorry if my breakdowns end up pushing you away, when in reality all I really need is a warm embrace and the encouragement that everything will be alright. Just like with everything in life, it all passes.

“Nothing is permanent in this wicked world, not even our troubles” – Charlie Chaplin

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Apology

No news is not a fact

https://fcmalby.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/latest-news-headlines.jpgYou know that feeling when you go to bed at night at a decent hour, tired but satisfied with what you’ve accomplished, and then wake up the next morning refreshed and ready to actively engage in a full day ahead? Could you describe what that feels like please? Because in our hectic lives, this all sounds like a luxury. Being able to go to sleep early and wake up having adequately rested.

These current times are interesting in many ways – in the fact that revolutionary movements spur to life, that innovations succeed one another faster than you realise, that societies strive to become more open-minded, that politics reveals just how dirty a game it can be, and terrorism overshadows the entire globe. Everything seems to evolve so rapidly that you sleep-in for a few hours more, and wake up feeling you lost an entire year due to all the things that have happened: violent massacres, gruesome juvenile crimes, train accidents, lost airplanes, mass shootings, explosions, financial crises, political elections, the emergence of radical movements, and so much more than you could ever imagine.

We have reached such a point that when we read fewer than five items of news per day, we begin to worry that we missed something. It’s that feeling when all of a sudden your heart begins to pump faster and anxiety overwhelms you, because you are almost certain there is something you didn’t see or you haven’t heard of. It’s like the restless calm before the storm; when you know that the next day will definitely contain a shower of news headlines to compensate the fewer ones the day before.

But all of this is exhausting. Not only for people who have to cover the news. But for everyone who reads and listens to it. It is physically and mentally stressful to hear all this negativity span our lives. To constantly add to the stress of contemporary living and to know that things will hardly get any better.

So how do you manage this situation? Probably in the only way you can: with a nap whenever possible. Because you may feel strong and able, but after a while, your organism itself will begin to call on you – through headaches that turn into migraines, upset stomach, and drowsiness – sounding an internal alarm that you need to slow down, rest and maybe even hit pause. The news will happen whether you chase it or not. And unless you have some kind of superpower, there is little you can do to change that.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Struggle

The dangers of living on the edge

http://img09.deviantart.net/afbe/i/2012/154/f/6/living_on_the_edge_by_bendianna-d5261od.jpgIt’s not what you think. The danger of living on the edge is not that you’ll stumble and fall over. No. It’s that once you step back, everything will seem too dull.

Because, let’s face it, we all need that adrenaline rush from time to time. That feeling of excitement you get when you’re doing something you’re passionate about. Or when you’re racing against time to reach a deadline. Or even when you’re simply daydreaming about all the things you are determined to soon accomplish.

It’s a great feeling to have this constant buzz in your veins. To feel you heart pumping fast and to be happy about being so…well, “on-edge”. For some, it is a way of life. To not have time to be bored. To not even have time to consider the fact that 24 hours in a day are not enough. For others, it is just too much going on.

But for those who are used to being constantly engaged with stuff to do, with emotions, and with never-ending obligations/passions, living “on-edge” is routine.

The danger comes when you suddenly find yourself forced to step back and take a deep breath. When a cold or an illness overpowers you. When you run out of so many things to do (it does happen). Or when you simply allow yourself to lie on the coach and relax, doing absolutely nothing. Having spent days and months with little sleep and in constant motion, this is when the danger becomes more evident. It comes in the notion of boredom. Because that is what happens.

It is like when you go dancing for five nights in a row. That “happy feet syndrome” becomes part of who you are, and you are addicted to swaying as soon as music sounds. When the music stops and you have to sit down, it all seems too boring for you.

The same applies to when you are running. You run through parks, avenues, busy streets and neighborhoods; observing people, animals and noises. But when you stop, walking seems just so…dull.

It is dangerous to live a life in constant agitation. But it is equally hazardous to live one which you don’t enjoy to the fullest. The key is to find the right balance between the two. To know when to run and when to walk, when to dance and when to sit, when to stress out and when to relax.

An instant switch

from happy to sadIt’s called rolling back instantly. At least that was what Helga used to call it. Her grandmother told her it was a trait inherited from the women’s part of the family.

It usually came more abruptly during those hectic days, when Helga was multitasking beyond her stress capacity. When she was constantly running around with things to do, filling up her diary with post-its just so she wouldn’t forget anything, and never being able to reduce her to-do list. It was those days when she didn’t even have time to think. But once the storm passed and things quietened down to normal (breathing) rhythms, Helga’s mind began to wander again.

And that is when it struck.

That sinking feeling that switched her mood from feeling like a queen bee to feeling like a homeless pauper. All in less than a second. It all happened so fast, none of her friends ever understood how someone could change emotions so rapidly.

But it happened.

It was because when she finally relaxed – be it after a warm bath or a proper meal – that is the moment when her body began to catch up with her. That is when the tiredness sunk in, when the exhaustion hit her nervous system, and when her brain was calling for a temporary, but immediate, shut down in order to recuperate.

It didn’t last too long – maybe until the next day – but all she could do when it happened was try to relax and simply go to bed. Crawl under the covers and allow herself those few precious hours of literally not thinking about anything else other than what Morpheus brought along.

Also part of Daily Prompt: Mountaintops and Valleys

Non-stop action may cause unexpected reactions

35111-Clipart-Illustration-Of-A-Hyper-Fly-Dancing-In-Rings-Of-FireHyperactivity is neither a blessing nor a curse. Because, while there are days when you feel so lazy you can’t even drag yourself out of bed or off the coach, there are other days when you simply cannot stay still. I don’t know what is worse.

When Julie got up this morning she beat her alarm clock to the buzz. Of course, the thump she made when she dropped out of bed was much more painful than any sound any clock could make. Her morning cleansing – makeup – dressup ritual lasted the usual 25 minutes, and then she set off for all the errands she had to do. Her list was extra-long this day and every time she found herself on the commute, she somehow managed to keep extending it.

So Julie spent the entire day running around from one part of the city to the next (making her realise how big this city truly is), up and down office buildings, in and out of shops (there is always something to buy), and constantly craving certain food that she had no time to sit down and enjoy (sushi and ice cream being among these).

At the end of the day, when the sun had already began its descend, Julie arrived home with her feet already developing blisters, and feeling that she had carried a hundred tonnes on her shoulders all day. A warm shower simply worsened the situation as she kept thinking of all the things she still had to do the next day and the day after that. Messages kept arriving that further extended her list and the hyperactivity would appear to never cease.

The only thing that rescued her was a remedy that seemed to work since her college years: a glass of milk (not necessarily warm). Within half an hour, Julie was already drifting asleep, dozing off in a stress-free dream, suddenly making everything seem like an action movie where the good guys always win, and all was well with the world.

Also part of Daily Prompt: No Cliffhangers

Batteries recharged

Villa Bonatsa, Batsi, Andros - ©Maria-Christina DoulamiIt’s amazing how we spend most of the year waiting for that summer month when you’ll finally take a much deserved break from everything for a few weeks, to detox your system and simply escape from the stress that is constantly hanging over your shoulders. The time arrives and you set off ready to let go of it all and just be. But then… How is it possible that these few days always pass by so quickly? Before you know it, you’re on the return journey to your daily routine, feeling as if your trip to paradise was already so long ago.

No matter how fast time passes by though, one thing is certain – even those few days helped your relax, recharge and rejuvenate your exhausted organism. They made you see how much more there is in this life, which we often waste worrying about needless things.

Sure, the city air hits you in the face like a moist sandpaper once you set foot back, but just think how much less that actually annoys you now because you’re still there on that balcony gazing into the sea and listening to the gentle crashing of the waves ashore.

It takes time to re-adjust to reality, but in doing so you know everything will be better now because you’ve recharged every single part of you.

Between a couch and a wild place

The leather couch used to squeak whenever he would slide down onto it. It didn’t anymore. You could even feel the small dent in the middle caused by all those people it had accommodated over the years. He could proudly or shamefully (it depends how you saw it) proclaim that he had grown up right there on that brown leather couch. In that down town office that was as modern as could be, with white walls that were repainted every five years and modern, funky furniture that invited the waiting patients and offered the illusion that they would take their troubles away.

Relax”.

That was the first word he heard every time he sat on that couch. It was Mr. Waterman’s job, though, to say so. He needed his patients calm so that they could pour out their soul to him during the next hour and he could attempt to provide some solution, consolation or advice to their problems. And these were many and varied. But over the years he had heard a lot. Just not from one particular patient. This one had proven to be an especially difficult case.

Brandon would simply refuse to speak out, to tell the professional sitting across him what troubled his mind, what made his heart ache, where his eyes wandered when he stared at the horizon out of the window. Whatever the exhortations or appeals Mr Waterman would use, discreetly or not, Brandon did not want to speak. He simply sufficed to say that he had nothing to say. Mr Waterman even tried to entice him with milkshakes and chocolate, but that didn’t work even when he was a young child, let alone now.

After around twenty years of therapy, Brandon still had nothing to say. Yet, he was as confused and tormented inside as he had always been. A storm was still brewing inside of him. It was just silent to the outer world.

Brandon was a child that kept to himself. He became quite the introvert as a young man, although he loved to socialize and go out with friends. But when he returned home, he liked to stay in his room doing his own thing, whatever that was – reading a book, listening to music, surfing the web. And just like he disturbed no one, he himself did not like to be disturbed. His upper class parents believed he was a troubled child. They described him as “emotionally unavailable” and “awkward” and pleaded Mr Waterman to “fix him”. So Brandon grew up in the office of a shrink. Only none of them knew about it.

Mr Waterman watched Brandon grow from a quiet boy into an unsuccessful rebel, into an elegant and well-educated young man. From the few things Brandon had uttered in his office, the professional understood that the boy felt misunderstood, that no one could comprehend what he felt or thought and that is why he preferred to stay silent. So the hours were spent talking about culture, the news, and well, anything other than himself. The latest thing that made Brandon’s eyes gleam with excitement was a photo book of the most amazing places in the world that should be visited. The first-page inscription –a quote by William G.T. Shedd: “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for” – was what mostly inspired his heart to sing. But Mr Waterman knew that the storm would finally break out; he could see it the young man’s eyes, his gaze was looking further than meets the eye. It was obvious that he was in search of something out there that was not immediately visible.

And the storm arrived.

It came in the form of a hand-written letter and a tidied-up room.

I run because I no longer want to hide.
Because there is so much more out there to explore.
Because I want to move on with my life and do something substantial.
Because I feel I cannot reach my true potential if I
am locked down here, without facing any real challenges or the endless possibilities that seem to be out there.
Because I want to be somewhere where people know me for me and not because of who I know.
Because I want to be heard without needing to yell and fight.
Because I want to rediscover the joy of Fridays and looking forward to the weekend.
Because I want to live and see places and not just hear about them from other people’s past experiences.
Because I want to find a house that is mine from the start, that I decorate and organise to fit my needs.
Because it is part of growing up and independence is a powerful thing to have.
Because I don’t want to waste time anymore, waiting.
Because I want to finally find and taste at least one happy ending.
I run because I am not running. I simply want to live.

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