Unhappily stressed

I’m really struggling this week. Actually, I’ve been struggling for a couple of weeks now. I’m sad and I feel quite helpless about it. I’m trying to cheer myself up but I can’t seem to manage it. I am pretty certain it’s just stress and worry; not depression. But I’m having trouble getting past it because it seems so many stresses have been accumulating and I don’t have an outlet for my stress these days.

However, writing down my thoughts and feelings help. And sadly that means you have to suffer my blue mood. (Alternatively, you can hit the back button on your browser in search of happier rubbish to read.)

First, the stresses: I’m worried that I won’t get accepted to graduate school (even though I’ve not yet sent in my applications) because that’s my only plan right now and if that falls apart I don’t know what I’ll have to anchor my future to.

I’m worried that if I do get accepted I won’t be able to afford it. I worry that I will destroy my finances and the excellent credit rating that I worked so hard to build.

That worry means that my brain has kicked into hyper-sensitive money mode and I’m finding myself constantly thinking about money and how much I can save between now and then. I’m making mental notes of my belongings and wondering what I can bring myself to part with and what I’d be able to sell. (Don’t worry; I won’t be selling off my prized junk until I have a firm letter of acceptance in hand.)

I’ve lost my “me” time. I mean, I had way too much before, but now I don’t have any. I wake up and am in instant mummy mode. Then I go to work where I’m in work mode. Then I pick up the kid and I’m in mummy mode again until about an hour before I go to bed. There is no time for me. I can’t go for a run before work because I can’t leave the kid at home whilst I run and I can’t drop her off at school early enough for me to hit the gym before going to the office and I can’t go to the spa because there’s no one I can just drop the kid off with.

Since my brother-in-law passed away three weeks ago, I’ve not had time to process it all – and maybe I never will. But his death has really upset me because I lost such an amazing person in my life and because it reminds me about the pain of losing Paul (not that I’ve forgotten the pain, it just makes it a bit more obvious). But mostly, I’m upset because I hate that my sister-in-law has to go through such an intensely painful process and I can’t do anything to ease her pain.

Of course, on top of it all, work is crazy. More so than normal. But I suppose that’s a common stress worldwide.

Most of the stresses above are with me throughout the average week. It’s just that they are all with me right now and I don’t have an outlet. There isn’t someone at home when I get in to whine to about my day. There wasn’t anyone there to complain to when some jerk in a Land Rover made an illegal manoeuvre to cut me off and take my parking spot. There wasn’t anyone to mix me a Martini when I got home after a particularly rough day at the office. (Although on that day, there was a good friend at the end of the phone which helped very much.)

What’s really hard is that I can’t come home and just be an emotional wreck because I have to pretend to be strong for my foster daughter who requires a stable environment – not a home where the primary caregiver screams and cries (and drinks) to vent her fears and frustrations. I’m sure part of my problem is that I am keeping it all trapped inside at the moment.

I know I can whine here and on Facebook and Twitter, but I really do like to at least pretend to be a mostly cheerful person and I think it would be a turn-off if I always posted these miserable and whiny posts.

I am trying to be happy. Really I am. I’m taking time each day to be silly. I’m trying to identify a bit of joy each day. I’m finding inspirational quotes to bolster my moods. I’m doing arts and crafts. And I’m even trying to take back some of my mid-day personal time.

Maybe what’s getting me down isn’t so much life’s stresses, but the uncertainty of my future. For nearly a year and a half, my future has been hazy and I don’t like it. Maybe once it’s a bit more clear, my mood will improve.

I am certain that this little mood will pass, and in the meantime, I will keep faking it because one way or another, it will make me feel a bit better.

• • • • •

Well, reader, I meant for this to post last night when I was feeling really down. And then my neighbour came by and we had a drink and a long gossip about nothing and everything (and I got her to do a silliness worksheet). Which cheered me up considerably.

I am still feeling unhappy and stressed, but am glad to have had a couple of hours’ respite from my condition. And I think that the night’s laughter has carried over into today because I feel a bit happier today already than I did yesterday. Of course, it is the weekend that may have something to do with it.

I promise to have a happier post soon! In the meantime, thanks for letting me get it off my chest!

[NOTE: If you’re wondering how the picture relates to the post, it’s one of the silly things I drew on the couch just trying to unwind and relax. I think it helps to scribble a bit. Maybe…]

6 Replies to “Unhappily stressed”

  1. I’m really sorry to hear you’ve been struggling. I’ve often faced this problem myself and find that exercise and spending time in nature are the most reliable ways to relieve it — that and the passage of time.
    If it helps at all, I can assure you that British universities will welcome you with open arms — not only because you’re brilliant (though that too, of course), but because right now they’re desperate for overseas-student tuition.

  2. {Hugs} I know that this may not be helpful, because I sometimes can’t turn off my thoughts about the future either, but sometimes it helps me to realize that I can do all the planning that I want, and the future is still going to look differently than I thought anyway…so no use in worrying about it (which isn’t to say that I don’t still do the legwork required to make sure that I am prepared for what God/the Universe has in mind for me). 🙂

  3. I’m sorry things are tough for you just now, Frances. It’s hard trying to deal with all those things on your own – AND be responsible for someone else too.
    If it’s any consolation, it sounds like it’s the combination of everything at once that’s making it harder just now. There’s a huge amount in your post of things to cope with so no wonder it’s feeling hard going. The worries are bound to come out and when life’s tough it’s hard to keep everything in perspective.
    I’m not sure what to advise – perhaps some positive self talk might help, even if you don’t believe it as you’re saying it. Apparently just the fact of saying positive things out loud can help with mood. You are a great person, doing all sorts of wonderful and very strong things. You’ve coped and continue to cope with way more than most people ever face in their lives, and you’ve still got time for other people too. You will be accepted for school I’m sure, and if you are accepted you will be able to afford it.
    You will find a way to succeed, of that I have no doubt. Just don’t be shy of asking for a little help from your friends every once in a while (or more often if needed!) – and if that includes posting that you’re feeling down, don’t worry. We’re all here for you – virtually and really.

  4. Wow, I feel like you are writing about me and the rollercoaster called life that i went through for a long time after losing my partner. The reason i say that is because i hope you can look at me and think….she turned out ok (or maybe not!!) so maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel. I hope so.
    You talk about your plan, well you are way ahead of me girl at that time and you should be very proud of yourself. I was still a quivering wreck for at least 2 yrs and not able to think about the future. I was wild and reckless, looking back i am quite ashamed of the things i did back then, so you see youre planning for your future is fantastic. You are focused and very switched on. I really wouldnt try to worry and stress too much about getting accepted (as i am sure you will) or managing your finances. One thing i have learned is to accept the cards i have been dealt. Sometimes this is extremely hard but you should only worry about the things you can change and not about the things you never can.
    You are feeling for Liz exactly what i felt for you when Paul died, and it is so painful as it brings back so much and you feel so god damn helpless. Again we cannot change this such as bringing them back but we can be there as a support and sounding off board for whenever we are needed. And if that means we have to sadly read how you feel right now then so be it, you must use all of us that are around you, as must Liz right now. I certainly felt writing it down helped me immensely.
    I promise you one thing Frances, you will come through the other side one day and be truly happy and content. Sadly it took me 9 yrs but i made it and so will you with the help of your family and friends, dont ever think you wont. Just remember its ok to have sad and stressful days and even weeks….they will go. You will never forget paul but you just get used to him not being there and learn to live with the pain and sadness. Please call or mail us if you ever feel you need a winge.
    Take care and keep smiling that beautiful smile.
    Love Debbie xxx

  5. OK – science first, the commiseration bit second, and then the unsolicited advice (i’ll try to bullet point them so you can skip the bits you don’t want to read)
    – The Science Bit
    according to Dan, the guy who put down our new laminate flooring at the beginning of the year and who was a year into bereavement for his wife who died of ovarian cancer (he spent the one year anniversary with me as he put in the new floor), men take an average of 6 months to start getting back on track in terms of feeling a little bit functional whereas most women take over 2 years. He said that knowing this factoid had helped him face the future without his awesome wife (and she sounded awesome too).
    – The Commiseration Bit
    I’m thinking that it’s the start of the new school year thang which has thrown the spanner in the works. I’m feeling hyper-stressed right now and twitchy. I’m also feeling a little aimless right now too which is ‘balls’ since I spent the summer planning and plotting for the free time that would come with back-to-school. Now that it’s here I don’t seem to be doing enough, and just fritter the time away. Grrr. I have applied to go back to school myself but the process is so convoluted that this is stressing me too! I think expectations run high at the star of this “new” year ….. and then we’ve got another new year to go thru all over again in a few months. Waaaaah! My commiserations.
    – The Unsolicited Advice Bit
    accept offers of childminding to carve out some ‘me-time’ – being the 24/7 is harsh enough without it being constantly in your face. I use a local gym with childminding. I go swimming when Wee Guy is in his own swim lessons. I utilise the drop in play sessions to sit on the sidelines and craft, draw, write and so on. It’s possible round here and it’s not expensive – maybe there’s something similar near you? Also, find a babysitter for the odd evening out. Is she old enough for sleep over’s (not sure of the use of the apostrophe there – will go back read your blog post!)?
    If you print out this comment you can cut out the words for a collage and thus render it useful.

  6. I really know the feeling Frances. I went from a husband that was never home, to being completely alone, to a boyfriend that was always home when I was. I’ve always ran on me time so this was a difficult change and I was not finished going through all the grieving stages of my divorce. Since I’ve had to quit working, my stress level is way down. But now I feel a sense of worthlessness. I think my me time keeps me sane now. I hope you find a way to get some.
    When you get some “me” time and only if it cheers you up… I’d really like to see your purse and hanky collection. Have you heard of Enid Collins? I saw her purses on Ebay and the box ones just scream your name. There is someone who is posting a huge lot right now. The owner loved them so much that she had an entire room to keep them in.
    Here’s the link if you want to see them:

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