Sunday, August 02, 2009


When I talk about the stress in my life, most people make the assumption that it is caused only by important obligations such as working on the divorce or keeping appointments with doctors. While those are most certainly a part of the equation, no one seems to understand that even fun leisure activities, such as concerts or making plans with family, add just as much stress to my life.

My schedule for this week, to most others, would seem like a walk in the park. They'd be looking at my calendar wondering where the hell all the stress is. I look at it and panic. I have a color-coded system of Sharpie markers that I use to keep myself organized. Without it, I would be at a complete loss and nothing would ever get done, not even the laundry.

This week's schedule includes appointments with both my therapist and pdoc, the garage sale with my sister on Friday & Saturday, a NAMI board meeting, a trip to Illinois State University for a campus tour and meeting with an admissions counselor (which will make for a very long day on Wednesday since the drive alone is four hours each way), balancing my checkbook and paying some bills, practicing driving with my daughter and possibly meeting with the stupid fuckhead ex about the divorce if he ever bothers to respond to my email. There are other things like laundry, grocery shopping and getting prescriptions filled that also need to get done, but I haven't yet figured out when I'll be able to squeeze those in.

So where's the stress? The stress is in needing to be up every day by 9 am or earlier when I barely get any sleep as it is. It is in knowing I have obligations every single day that I can't back out of, even if my paranoia and delusions worsen. It is in facing my pdoc, which is a huge emotional stressor for me. It is in knowing how much interaction I'll have to have with other people, including quite a few strangers, when I'm not in the safest frame of mind to be dealing with others.

The biggest stress of the entire week is in knowing I have to somehow hold my emotions together while confronting the fact that at this time next year the one thing that keeps me going day in and day out, my daughter, will be heading off to college. The tears start every single time any mention is made of college and of this being her senior year in high school. I cry because I know that this will be the final year we will ever spend as much time together as we always have.

My therapist actually asked me if I wanted to talk about how I'm feeling with my daughter. Why would I do that? If she knew how distraught I am at the thought of her leaving, she'd put her dreams aside to be here for me. Even I know that's not the slightest bit right. She has to live her life, it's not her job to make sure momma's okay. It's not her job to plan her life around how I'm feeling in order to quell my anxieties.

Stress is everywhere and I know I need to learn to deal with that. I used to be able to cope with it, I don't know when or why it became so overwhelming. My guess is that it has something to do with the added stress of knowing I'm mentally ill.


Anonymous Lili said...

I think you have an incredibly stressful life and you do the best with what you've got. As far as your daughter-you love her and in her way she grounds you. I deal with stress by knowing it comes in waves there will be hugely out of control days and days when I make it through with a sigh of relief. Knowing that you're mentally ill is both a burden and an aid to understanding yourself. It sucks but if you know you've issues you can work from there. Or not. Feel free to rant at me if I've said something stupid.

4:42 PM, August 07, 2009  

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