Yesterday I told my boss at work that I was leaving my job of nearly ten years next March. It was a relief to finally say that since nearly everyone knew in the office but him anyway. It was nice to get it off my chest. The stresses in the last 10 years have simply piled up. Some of them are of my own choosing and some of them not. Even good events and joyful events are stress causers. Psychologists have some kind of quiz you can take to measure stress, but I don’t need a quiz. I have a list of the last five years’ worth of stresses which I’m sure doesn’t cover everything, just the highlights:
- 1995 to present; moved from Colorado back home to Illinois, diagnosed with chronic hives of no known origin. numerous shots of steroids to bring down swelling of arms, legs, neck, face. Four different antihistamines taken each day to combat it.
- 1997: returned to college while my kids were in school.
- 2000, 2004, 2005: empty nest of all three children. Off to colleges.
- 2000 and 2004; graduated college with a B.A. and an M.A.
- 2001: Began new job after many years of housewifery.
- 2005: ruptured disk at L7. Microdiscectomy in August; two months recuperation, worked some at home. September: Second son joins the Army. Two loved pets die within a year of each other.
- 2007: January, heart catheterization. discovered 99% blocked artery. Stent inserted, endless blood tests monitoring and cardiology visits. Father-in-law passes away, funeral. October of that year, my second son gets married.
- 2008: Beloved pet disappears, never found. October: marital separation after 28 years. October: moved out of my house and into my sister’s place, December: moved out of my sister’s house and into an apartment. Began long distance relationship.
- 2009: October: Second son leaves for Iraq. Fall: Husband files divorce papers. Continued long distance relationship.
- 2010: March: divorce. April: third move to another place with my daughter and our cat. June, engaged to long distance relationship man. August: first son moves to Hungary. Second son comes back from Iraq. October: Daughter gets in wreck with my car. She’s ok, but the car is totaled. Continued long distance relationship.
- Stresses to come: 2010: October: trying to find a used car. December: remarriage. 2011: major move to UK.
All I can say is, thank god for medication! I’ve tried various coping strategies; religion, counseling, finger chewing (childhood habit that has never gone away), talk therapy with friends, co-workers. But really, there’s no cure-all. An anti-depressant has at least helped me get a grip and not go completely bonkers. Wish I discovered those back in 2005!
- Many Heart Patients Place False Hope in Angioplasty (nlm.nih.gov)
- Cardiac Catheterization Risks (brighthub.com)
- Are You Stressed Out? Take the Quiz (psychologytoday.com)
- Hungarian toxic sludge boss arrested over environmental disaster (telegraph.co.uk)
- Silence the Inner Voice That’s Stressing You Out (psychologytoday.com)