My stress, oh my stress, she tries to strangle me from inside. See she’s got a tight grip on me, and pulls in closer the more anxious I get.
She chokes my voice back with her coarse, grating hands – closing my throat so I can’t speak my peace or call for help. She tightens my chest til I can’t breathe. Cutting off circulation to my brain, and causing irrational thoughts to zoom through my head.
She knows I should cry and let it all out or ask others for advice, but she guards against it with pride and ego and self-induced pressure to “keep it together.”
She turns me red hot. And it spreads across my chest and neck and shoulders like wildfire. Spider-ing across my skin and showing everyone else that “I can’t handle it.”
My stress. She silences me.
Stress preys on me when I’m at my most vulnerable.
When I’m on too little sleep. When I’m already worried about something else. When I’m physically or mentally exhausted. When I forget to take me time.
She hears someone criticize me. Question my way of thinking. She sees an opening.
‘MAYBE YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.
THIS THING CALLED LIFE.
YOU SHOULD RETHINK IT RIGHT NOW. RETHINK IT ALL.”
“YOU COULD BE BETTER.
IF YOU JUST TRIED HARDER TO BE BETTER.”
Pressure. Oh pressure. It’s that extra squeeze on an already bleeding wound.
The expectations of society, family, friends, loved ones, and especially yourself.
And it’s a heavy pressure. Because even in our adulthood, we carry the weight of all the pressure that came before.
In an anxiety attack/stressful episode, you don’t just think irrational thoughts and place burden on yourself with current worries.
Everything comes flooding back. A lovely montage of past mistakes and painful moments flashes before your eyes reminding you how much you suck. Memories flood by – singing a song in front of your 8th grade class, saying “I love you” first to someone who didn’t say it back, or that time an emotionally abusive family member called you a “bitch” and told you how you’d never amount to anything. It’s all there.
Because it would be far too easy to just worry about the present moment.
Stress is in it for the big finish.
And it takes a toll on your body. Ruins your stomach.
Clouds your judgment and drains your energy.
It’s a real waste of an emotion when you think about it that way. Only does damage.
But here’s the thing. If stress strangles, whose grip is it?
You know the answer. It’s yours.
And there’s a silver lining there. Because it means we can disarm ourselves.
We can take away the power.
By living in the gray. Refusing to see the world (and our life) as black and white. By letting things go. Forgiving others. Forgiving ourselves.
Being present isn’t hippy dippy frolicking through a meadow in a floral dress. That’s an outcome of being present.
Being present is a very fucking active choice that takes practice and breathing and clearing your mind of the bullshit you “learned” your entire life.
To those saying you need stress to drive hard work. Or that stress creates results for your success. I promise you, there’s another way.
I made decisions from a place of fear and worry for far too long in my life and I refuse to go backwards.
My stress creeps up from time to time still, but my new job in life is to just live through it.
Cuz stress hates that. It hates when you just GET THROUGH IT.
It wants you to fight back (it’s twisted like that), but the real challenge is not fueling its fire. Not giving it more ammo like worry, and pressure, and social relevance.
Stress feels big when we give it importance.
But if we laugh at it in the face and decide it doesn’t rule our lives, we truly become free of its grip.
We breathe out. We speak our truth. And we live in the present.
So loosen the grip, you guys.
You’re better off.