Speaking of sounding crazy. I just had a conversation with O tonight I thought you guys would find interesting.
Me: I am super duper stressed out. I don't know why, but everything in my life feels like a chore, and just thinking about the next day, and interminable night where I will get spotty sleep makes my throat feel closed up and I can't breath!
O: Ok, you either need to zone out and re-spawn, or you need to really focus, get down into it and commit yourself. You have to just think good thoughts. You have to get down, and do it, and work...
Me: Total melt down. How can I do anything when I feel like I am drowning? How can I work harder?
O: I am trying to help! What do you want from me? I don't know what to do for you, its limbo!
Me: I am thinking...how to express exactly what I need? Wait, what do I need? Suddenly I see it...
I need a happiness loan. Thats what I need, a 0% down happiness loan. I will feel shitty for a bit, but you counter that with smiles, love, hugs, kisses even though I won't initiate the happy-fun-time-goofy-playtime at home. Help me remember to have fun, even when I am gloomy. Bring laughter and lightheartedness into my depths of despair. Then I proceeded to offer concreate examples of what he could have done that evening that would have been helpful. Do you have to be super technical with your man? I mean, like with outlines and triangle graphs? Cuz that is how O understands, I have to make a clear-headed point and offer solutions and time frames. If I am freaking my shit out, then he shuts down.
I felt really selfish saying this. I mean, I basically said "I am going to be shitty, but you can't be shitty. You have to be strong for both of us for a little bit. I need to lean on you." But then I remembered that when you are in a team, sometimes you lead, and sometimes you lean. And if he said the same thing to me I would totally do it, no problem. And more importantly I would not get second-hand stress as easily because I had a plan to follow.
This reminds me also, that the most important thing when I am feeling overwhelmed, is to take the situation into control, even just by defining it. Also, let me just say that this is your common cold variety stress and upset. This ain't SARS stress, and O and I are as usual effective communicators, and fundamentally happy people.
2. Offer a concreate example. I said "If we have plans for something fun after work, don't abandon them if I am low energy. Take control instead of defaulting to me." or "I need you to hug me a lot, and no funny business."
3. If you recognize that you need something more from him (for me it will involve a chart detailing dog duties, and other chores. Potentially involving gold stars), then clearly outline those as well later when you have had time to outline some tools to help you feel better.
4. Set a timeline for results. I want to be sleeping better in one week. I want to feel more calm in the evenings and I want to do three enjoyable things a week after work within one month. (Very important: visualize, or have a very specific example in your mind as your goal. Mine is that I will be sleepy at night, with no thoughts in my mind, and I will take pleasure in O's company, and I will know that feeling in my gut, and my heart.) I also want to have a written down series of helpful activities to turn to when I get my ass cheeks in a wad next time. Do you loose the ability to remember basic things when you are under stress? I sometimes can't remember how to drive home.
5. Stop thinking about it. I wrote my goals down. I have a plan. Now I can just take a hot bath, or anything else that will symbolize moving on from that low point.
I mean, you can't rationally address your problems with a hope of crafting a solution if you can't be rational right? So these steps will help us calm down, and then we can work on changing our perspective, or eliminating some stressors that are toxic. You get the drift.
* Coco can tell when I am upset. She hears it in my voice, and she knows her sweet love will heal me. She stops, spots me, comes over fast, insists on getting in my lap and licks me all over. She does it every time.
How do you communicate with your loved ones when you are past your limits? Do you have a plan of action that you turn to? Any advice? I would love to know how you think about this, and how you approach communicating clearly in the midst of a middle school style hissy-fit? hmmmm?
Wow, this post seems so silly today. I can't believe the amount of devastation Sandy brought. That is SARS stress for sure.
Tomorrow I show you the afters of our swamp pit!